How to Remove Sebum Plugs from the Scalp

Dealing with an oily scalp can be embarrassing and irritating. While there are several possible causes of a greasy and oily scalp, it’s always a good idea to look closely at what produces that oil in the first place.

We all have sebaceous glands on the scalp. These glands produce natural, necessary oil, called sebum. Not only does sebum protect the scalp, but it leaves your hair looking shiny and healthy. Having a normal amount of this oil is something most people desire when they want radiant hair.

But, having too much oil can be the cause of plugged sebaceous glands. This can appear unsightly and become itchy and uncomfortable. The good news is that there are some effective ways to get rid of sebum plugs on the scalp.

In this article, we’ll give you a step-by-step guide for when the hair follicles are clogged by sebum. If the pores of your scalp have become clogged, it’s time to get them clear once more, so you can be comfortable, and have a healthy scalp and hair.

What Are the Causes of Sebum Plugs?

Sebum itself has many benefits for your skin. It keeps your skin moisturized while keeping excess water out. It also helps to deliver nutrients like Vitamin E and antioxidants to the outermost layers of the skin.

Sebum is produced on every inch of your skin except the palms of your hands and soles of your feet. To get a better picture of how sebum plugs work, consider that it’s usually an overproduction of sebum that causes acne on your face. When a plugged follicle causes sebum and bacteria to become trapped, it can cause a pimple.

How to get rid of sebum plugs on scalp

On the scalp, a hair follicle can become plugged with an overproduction of sebum. That can create itching, an oily surface of the scalp, and can even cause your hair to think as new hair isn’t allowed proper growth. Some of the most common causes of a buildup of oils include:

  • Genetics
  • Hair products
  • A mixture of oil and scalp flaking (keratin)
  • Hormonal imbalances

How to Clean Sebum Plugs from the Scalp

Treating an overproduction of sebum on the scalp starts by clarifying it. Consider this process as creating a clean slate for your scalp, so you can start with healthy, clean skin and reduce the chances of sebum plugs.

  1. First, run your scalp under warm water. Massage it gently with the pads of your fingers. If you do have sebum plugs, always try to use the soft pads of your fingers instead of your nails when washing your hair. You should also avoid using too much pressure, as you don’t want to irritate or accidentally scratch your scalp. Using your fingers to work against the skin of your scalp gently will help to loosen any build up of oil. It also helps to increase circulation to the scalp.
  2. Using the right kind of shampoo to clean your hair is important. Sometimes, the products we use on our hair can be causing a buildup of oils. Choose a clarifying, purifying shampoo. Some are specially designed to be sebum-cleansing products. These will help to strip away sebum plugs from your scalp and hair, especially if the plugs were caused by additional hair care products. The right sebum-removing products cannot only strip away the plugs all at once, but they can help to fight against the overproduction of sebum in the future.
  3. Rinse your hair completely after massaging the clarifying shampoo into the scalp for several minutes.
  4. You can use a traditional conditioner or conditioning method to help replace any moisture that may have been stripped away by the shampoo.
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Frezyderm Sebum Control Shampoo X
  • Suitable for Seborrheic dermatitis, Oily scalp, Scalp psoriasis, Irritation, Itching
  • Apply a small amount and lather with water. Leave shampoo for 2-3 minutes and then rinse it off. Repeat as needed. 
  • Reduces oily scalp by 13%* reduces irritation by 72%
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After you’ve completed this process, maintaining a healthy scalp is important. Once a week, rinse your scalp with apple cider vinegar. The vinegar will help to balance out the pH of your scalp. It will also help to dissolve any excess sebum that is starting to create more plugs in the scalp. You don’t need to rinse away the vinegar when finished.

hair follicles are clogged by sebum

How to Prevent the Overproduction of Sebum

Sometimes, producing too much sebum is somewhat unavoidable, especially if it’s a genetic predisposition. Often, though, we get sebum plugs because of the products we use or lifestyle choices.

The first thing you can do to fight back against sebum plugs is to be aware of the hair products you’re using. You should always choose products that are natural, and without a buildup of harmful chemicals. These chemicals can strip hair of natural nutrients, and create an excessive amount of oil production. They may also cause a keratin build-up, which can cause plugs in your hair follicles.

Additionally, you can add a few drops of tea tree oil to your existing shampoo. Tea tree oil has natural antiseptic, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. This will help to reduce a build-up of oils and sebum plugs from occurring. Alternatively, you can make life easier by using a specialist tea tree oil shampoo by Paul Mitchell.

Keep in mind that not washing your hair will make things worse.

Some people who have an oily scalp think that they shouldn’t wash their hair as much because products create too much oil. In reality, if you have sebum plugs, you may need to shampoo your hair twice each time you wash your hair. The sebum works to destroy the lather that can cleanse your scalp and hair. Working up a lather twice may be more beneficial in actually purifying the scalp with the right shampoo.

Sebum plugs can create the look of oily hair and can create discomfort and itching on the scalp. Quite literally, they are plugs that clog up the pores of your scalp, which can create problems that range from mild irritation to hair thinning. Take action to keep your hair and scalp healthy.

If you struggle with the overproduction of sebum and have noticed sebum plugs, try the solutions listed here to keep them under control and achieve a healthy scalp. This guide and tips will help to get rid of the sebum plugs on your scalp. And it all starts by using the right natural or organic shampoo for your hair.

Here are some great natural shampoos you could try:

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Sheamoisture Strengthen and Restore Shampoo for Damaged Hair 100% Pure Jamaican Black Castor Oil Cleanse and Nourish 13 oz
  • Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen and Restore Shampoo is a sulfate-free, clarifying shampoo that removes buildup while infusing hair with nourishing moisture
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  • Formulated with Jamaican Black Castor Oil and Shea Butter, this hair shampoo helps to strengthen damaged hair, chemically processed hair and heat styled hair
  • This cruelty-free shampoo helps revive damaged hair by gently cleansing and providing nourishing moisture
  • All Shea Moisture hair products are sustainably produced and cruelty-free
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Cantu Sulfate-Free Cleansing Cream Shampoo, 13.5 Fluid Ounce
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  • The actual product may be different than product image
  • PREVENTS BREAKAGE: Award winning formula made with pure Shea butter to gently clean, moisturize, and prevent breakage.
  • CLEANSES: Creates a rich lather and removes heavy buildup.
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  • PURA D'OR IS THE LEADER IN HAIR THINNING THERAPY FOR THICKER & FULLER HAIR: PURA D’OR Original Gold Label Anti Hair-Thinning Shampoo w/ Biotin and DHT Herbal Ingredients is proven & tested to reduce hair thinning. It promotes hair strength & thickness with increased volume & reducing breakage. Results may vary.*
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Last update on 2021-06-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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