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FAQ: Oily Skin and Oily Hair Print E-mail
Written by Phillip LaVeque   
Friday, 30 October 2009

People with oily skin and hair have an oily sheen to their skin or hair, sometimes within minutes of washing.

What is going on in the body?

Androgens, or male hormones, control the production of oil by the sebaceous glands in the skin. Higher relative levels of androgens can make the skin more oily. For example, this can occur during puberty and when taking performance-enhancing steroids. Some people have oilier skin because they have larger numbers of oil glands that produce more oil.

What are the causes and risks of the symptom?
Oily skin and hair are caused by an excess of androgens. The amount of oil in a person's hair and skin varies, depending on:
- time of year
- sun and wind
- temperature and humidity. Skin looks the oiliest in hot, humid weather.What are the treatments for the symptom?

Oily skin and hair are treated with the same measures that are used for prevention, including daily shampoos and frequent facial cleansing. Birth control pills, or oral contraceptives, may be helpful for some women in reducing the amount of oil produced.

What are the side effects of the treatments?
Oral contraceptives may cause nausea, stomach cramps, vaginal itching and discharge, and breast tenderness.

What happens after treatment for the symptom?

For many people who are affected, stopping an effective treatment causes the symptoms to return. Others, such as adolescents, may outgrow the condition. Treatment is not required and can be stopped at any time. Affected people are free to engage in normal activities before, during, and after treatment.

How is the symptom monitored?
Affected people can monitor their skin and hair to assess whether or not treatment is working. A healthcare provider can also monitor the appearance of the hair and skin if treatment is prescribed. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.


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