Do You Really Need To Grease Your Scalp?
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Applying oil to the scalp, also known as greasing is a commonly accepted natural hair care practice among black women although some women find the practice to be “old school”. Many naturals apply oil to their scalp after washing to help lock in moisture, alleviate scalp dryness and flaking and to give the hair a lustrous shine.
Applying grease to your scalp may be part of your regular routine; but the question is, is it really necessary to do this?
Well ladies, it depends. There are instances when oil application to the scalp is an absolute necessity and then there are instances when it is not necessary. How do you judge when to oil the scalp or not?
Greasing the scalp may be necessary when…
1. You have scalp eczema. A mineral oil based product can be applied to the scalp to keep it from drying and exacerbating the problem. Mineral oil you say?
Yes, mineral oil. It’s one oil that has a bad reputation, but in terms of protecting a stressed scalp, mineral oil is thick so it can act as barrier and keep moisture in; and it does not contain oleic acid which causes dandruff.
Mineral oil helps protect the scalp, but it’s not the best choice for natural hair that craves moisture since it sits on top of the hair cuticle and blocks the transfer of moisture into the hair shaft.
2. You have dandruff. Dandruff occurs when there are excessive flakes of dead skin peeling and falling off the scalp. If you have scalp eczema, the chances are high that you also have problems with dandruff. Ointments and creams that contain oil may be used to treat dandruff.
Greasing the scalp is NOT necessary when…
1. Your scalp is healthy and produces oil on its own. The scalp produces a natural oil called sebum which coats hair. By simply massaging your scalp, you stimulate the production of this natural oil. The problem for curly coily girls is that the oil does not distribute down the hair shaft easily. If dry hair is an issue, apply a light coating of oil directly onto your hair instead; concentrating on the ends.
2. You are trying to treat/reduce dandruff. This sounds contrary to our tip that you should grease your scalp if dandruff is an issue, but there is a key difference. One of the causes of dandruff is the fungus malassezia globosa which thrives on oleic acid. Oleic acid is present in many natural oils including those commonly used to grease hair i.e. shea butter, olive oil and coconut oil. Reduce dandruff by avoiding these types of natural oils and opting for mineral oil instead.
Remember that any ongoing scalp problems should be checked by a dermatologist for the best solution for your particular case.
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