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Does Oily Scalp Cause Hair Loss?

Posted Oct 05 2012 2:01am

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FeebleChicken asks…I went to a salon to get treatment for my hair because I’ve been noticing hair loss after doing rebonding. I couldn’t decide if it was breakage or they were falling off from the roots. The stylist looked at my scalp and said it was too oily and recommended me to do a 5 step Shiseido treatment which cleans sebum off the scalp followed by its shampoo, a moisturing treatment treatment, a rinse and 2 tonics. The ingredients claimed were zanthoxylum piper fruit which is suppose to reduce hair loss and greying.

The Left Brain responds:
I assume you’d like to know if this treatment is really worth whatever outrageous price your stylist is charging you. Well, I’m always skeptical of hair growth claims but I did look into this supposed active ingredient. Here’s what I found…

A quick search of PubMed revealed quite a bit of research zanthoxylum piper fruit. According to several studies, like this one (Int J Food Microbiol. 2012 Feb 1;153(1-2):183-91) its a pretty good anti-fungal agent so MAYBE it could help with dandruff. Be careful though, because the main components are linallol and methyl cinnamate which can be irritating when applied directly to skin.

But does this fruit extract help your hair grow? I couldn’t find ANY research to support that claim. In fact, according to this source the extract has potential to inhibit acetylcholinesterase which, according to this source , can cause either facial hair growth or hair LOSS.  So the good news is that zanthoxylum piper fruit may have an effect on hair loss.  The bad news is that the effect is opposite of what you’re looking for.

While it’s possible that adequate quantities of this extract could have anti-fungal properties when applied topically, I couldn’t find anything to suggest it would promote hair growth when rubbed on the scalp. Unless Shiseido can present some data showing that these products reduce hair loss and graying, I’m calling beauty BS on this one.

On the positive side, I’m sure their treatment/ shampoo/ treatment/ rinse/ tonic/ tonic combination will do a great job of making your hair less greasy.

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