Oiliness Of Your Hair

What Causes Dry Or Oily Hair?

Dry or oily hair can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'worrying' to 'very serious'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose dry or oily hair, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "dry or oily hair" as a symptom.  Here are eight of many possibilities (more below):
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
  • Liver Congestion
  • Sjogren's Syndrome
  • Dandruff
  • EFA Need
  • Pregnancy Issues
  • Birth Control Pill Issues
  • Stress

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
physical punishment during childhood
slightly oily/sticky stools
occasional bad dreams
high platelet count
tetracycline use
indoor allergies
severe leg cramps caused by walking
gallbladder attacks
severe flatulence
regular bizarre dreams
eating during sleep hours
shoulder tightness
... and more than 110 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of dry or oily hair:
Cause Probability Status
EFA Need 90% Confirm
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome 29% Unlikely
Sjogren's Syndrome 21% Unlikely
Stress 2% Ruled out
Birth Control Pill Issues 0% Ruled out
Liver Congestion 0% Ruled out
Dandruff 0% Ruled out
Pregnancy Issues 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

In the Hair-Related Symptoms section of the questionnaire, The Analyst™ will ask the following question about oiliness of your hair:
How dry or oily is your hair?
Possible responses:
→ Generally dry
→ Recently more dry
→ Average / not applicable / don't know
→ Recently more oily
→ Generally oily
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate dry hair, recent dry hair, recent oily hair or oily hair, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Birth Control Pill Issues

Oral contraceptive pills can correct certain hormonal dysfunctions (particularly in teenagers), but they can also cause other health problems such as oily skin and hair.


Seborrheic dermatitis is a disease condition that can cause oily scalp and hair.

Dandruff also suggests the following possibilities:

EFA (Essential Fatty Acid) Requirement

A diet low in essential fatty acids can result in skin problems, such as dandruff.


Hypothyroidism can manifest as dry, flaky skin.


Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin disease in which skin cells replicate at a rapid rate.  Although the symptoms of psoriasis – silvery scales covering reddened areas of the scalp – appear similar to dandruff, psoriasis is very different.  New skin cells are produced about 10 times faster than normal, but the rate at which old cells are shed is unchanged.  Live cells then accumulate and form the thick patches covered with flaking skin.

Vitamin B6 Requirement

A vitamin B6 deficiency can cause dandruff.

Hormone Imbalance

Hormone imbalance can cause skin changes resulting in oily hair or dry, brittle hair.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can cause the skin to produce excess sebum, leading to oily hair.

Pregnancy-Related Issues

Hormonal changes during pregnancy can affect the hair in various ways, including making dry hair oilier (or drier), and oily hair drier (or oilier).  When excess androgen hormones are produced, the result can be oily hair and skin.


Stress can cause hair to lose its shine and become greasy and sticky.

Concerned or curious about your health?  Try The Analyst™
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