How to Cleanse Sebum Plugs From the Scalp

Sebaceous glands on your scalp secrete natural oil called sebum. Sebum helps to moisturise and protect the scalp while also coating the hair to give it a natural glow and gloss. Some individuals may have excessively oily scalps and plugged sebaceous glands. An oily scalp may appear unattractive and may also cause itchy discomfort. Cleanse and dissolve excess oils to unplug your sebaceous glands and restore your scalp's health.

Run your hair and scalp under warm water, thoroughly soaking the scalp skin and hair shafts. Use your fingers to rub and massage the scalp to help loosen oil deposits and increase blood flow to the skin.

Apply a purifying, sebum-cleansing shampoo. A standard purifying and clarifying shampoo will quickly strip the skin and hair of both sebum deposits and hair product deposits such as gel and hairspray.

Use a sebum-regulating shampoo as an alternative to standard purifying shampoo. This may help individuals with excessively oily sebaceous glands that are prone to clogging. Examples include Revlon Professional's Interactive Sebum Balance Shampoo and Natural Tech's Sebum Control Shampoo. Such products not only remove excess sebum, but also may help reduce sebum production over time.

Rinse the hair with fresh water. Run your fingers through the hair to help get out all of the shampoo. Apply a standard conditioner to replace moisture that may have been stripped during the shampooing process.

Rinse the hair and scalp once a week with apple cider vinegar after your standard shampooing and conditioning. The apple cider vinegar will help dissolve sebum plugs and oil on the hair shafts. It may also reinvigorate your hair's natural shine. Douse it onto your hair and massage through thoroughly. Do not rinse the vinegar away with water.


When shampooing your hair, avoid using your fingernails. Nails may scratch your scalp and can also increase the chance of hair breakage. Instead, use the fleshy pads on your fingers to gently massage and scrub the scalp and hair.

Things You'll Need

  • Clarifying shampoo
  • Sebum control shampoo
  • Hair conditioner
  • Apple cider vinegar
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About the Author

Joshua Duvauchelle is a certified personal trainer and health journalist, relationships expert and gardening specialist. His articles and advice have appeared in dozens of magazines, including exercise workouts in Shape, relationship guides for Alive and lifestyle tips for Lifehacker. In his spare time, he enjoys yoga and urban patio gardening.