Oil glands present on the skin produce sebum that is necessary for adequate nourishment and hydration. Presence of oil gives a healthy shine to the hair. An excess production of oil makes the hair oily and greasy. Ayurveda describes hair as a byproduct of bone formation. Hence, healthy hair indicates a balance of all doshas in the body. Hair production in the body is affected by various environmental as well as hormonal factors. Oiliness of the scalp can be attributed to different causes like humid environment, chronic dandruff, improper hair hygiene and inadequate washing of hair.
Ayurveda suggests various remedies for treatment of an oily scalp. It advocates the major role of dietary balance for encouraging proper growth of hair. Inclusion of food items like eggs, dairy products, nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables is essential to maintain a proper balance in the diet. Ayurveda recommends cutting down on the intake of spicy and oily foods. Various natural herbs and extracts are used in Ayurveda for the treatment of diseases and disorders.
The Kapha dosha imbalance is implicated in causing an oily scalp. This dosha is aggravated by eating cold foods. Ayurvedic herbs that are beneficial in treating the oiliness of scalp and hair are as follows:
1. Aloe vera – This herb is well known for its extensive healing properties that work well for treating hair and skin disorders. It treats an oily scalp by removing excess oil. Aloe vera extract can be applied directly on the scalp and left for 20 to 30 minutes. It should be rinsed with water. Application of fresh Aloevera extract can be done for 2 to 3 times in a week.
2. Reetha – Being a good cleanser, this fruit can be used as a shampoo for cleaning hair. It works well in removing excess oil from scalp. Other problems related to hair like greying of hair can be treated by using Reetha. It is boiled in water and the water is used to wash hair.
3. Henna – The leaves of this plant have a good conditioning effect on hair. To treat an oily scalp, ground leaves of this plant should be mixed with coconut oil and applied on the scalp an hour prior to shampooing. Later the scalp should be washed with a mild shampoo. Using henna powder is also beneficial for providing natural darkening to grey hair.
4. Shikakai – This herb helps in protection of the scalp from numerous infections. It also prevents excess oil production from the hair follicles. Shikakai powder is mixed with water and applied on the scalp. It is left on the scalp for a time period of 30 minutes and then rinsed with water.
5. Thyme – Leaves of the thyme plant are beneficial in removing excess oil from the scalp. They also help in removing dandruff. Thyme leaves are mixed in boiling water and left for 20-30 minutes. This water is cooled and used for rinsing hair. Instant effect is observed with a considerable reduction in the oiliness of the scalp.
6. Essential oils – Certain essential oils like tea-tree oil and lavender oil are useful in getting rid of oily hair. Use of these oils reduces itching and also improves scalp health. Massaging the scalp for 5-6 minutes with a circling motion and leave for around 30 minutes. Wash the applied oil with a mild shampoo. Use of essential oils for oily scalp is recommended for 2 to 3 times a week.