Blood sugar level and scalp sebum production

thatslin

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Recently I found that there is a strong correlation between blood sugar level and scalp sebum secretion. If most of my daily calories come from carbs, refined sugar or anything that is going to quickly raise your blood sugar level, my hair would get super oily on that day. But if I eat clean with moderate amount of carbs, sufficient protein and food with low glycemic index, hair is still relatively ok even if I don’t wash it for 3 days. Anyone experiencing the same?
 

randomuser1

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Yes, this is well known in the literature. High glycemic foods increase sebum production. (High protein diets do too by the way because of IGF-1.)

Some sources on this:

"Sebaceous gland lipids" by M. Picardo et al:
Low glycemic load diet has been demonstrated to be able to correct the increased sebum production [...] All these findings suggest that dietary habits, supplying substrates for the sebaceous lipid synthesis, can be involved in the sebum production mechanism. [...] caloric restriction has been shown to dramatically decrease the sebum secretion rate.

On high-protein diets (IGF-1 raises are caused by both carb/sugar and protein) causing the same issue (Vora at el: "Correlation of facial sebum to serum insulin-like growth factor-1 in patients with acne"):
It was seen that there was a positive correlation between the amount of MFSE and serum IGF-1 (Fig. 1; R2 = 0.69; P = 0.0001). Moreover, this was true in both men and women (Table 1). It has recently been shown that IGF-1 can increase lipid production in sebocytes in vitro via the activation of IGF-1 receptor through multiple pathways. 8 Together, our data suggest that increased IGF-1 could lead to increased sebum secretion.

Insulin induces an increase in the size and number of sebocytes, as well as lipogenesis and inflammatory response
Source: "Insulin and the sebaceous gland function" by Okoro et al

The high prevalence rates of adolescent acne cannot be explained by the predominance of genetic factors but by the influence of a Western diet that overstimulates the key conductor of metabolism, the nutrient- and growth factor-sensitive kinase mTORC1. Increased mTORC1 activity has been detected in lesional skin and sebaceous glands of acne patients compared with acne-free controls.
Source: "Acne vulgaris: The metabolic syndrome of the pilosebaceous follicle" by Melnik

In conclusion, we demonstrated that specific dietary patterns were associated with sebum content, skin hydration and pH in healthy Korean adults and that those associations were affected by sex.
Source: "Dietary Patterns Associated with Sebum Content, Skin Hydration and pH, and Their Sex-Dependent Differences in Healthy Korean Adults" by Lim et al.

But the correlation between diet and sebum is not the only interesting aspect about this.

In fact, sebum production rates and Androgenetic Alopecia are also connected:

There is a very strong correlation between sebum level and severity of Androgenetic Alopecia.
source: "Correlation between sebum level and severity of male androgenetic alopecia" by Tambulan et al.

From "Scalp Biophysical Characteristics in Males with Androgenetic Alopecia: A Comparative Study with Healthy Controls" by Chanprapaph et al:
Androgenetic Alopecia-affected areas show [...] larger sebaceous glands producing more sebum


I have covered this topic, among others, in the PDF document attached to the post titled "Original research theory: How Androgenetic Alopecia is a manifestation of insulin resistance and its connections with CVD & PCOS" where I summarize all findings related to the connection between diet, lifestyle and hair loss. You can find it in the research section.
 

thatslin

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Thanks man!
caloric restriction has been shown to dramatically decrease the sebum secretion rate.
That is also what I found through self experiment. On my cheat days, even if I cheat clean, I feel greasy all over my body.
It's interesting to know that high protein consumption increases sebum production as well. Wondering whether high fat diet does it too.
 

randomuser1

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Not directly.

Under the same conditions that lead to increases of IGF-1 and insulin, the body stores fat around organs (predominantly the liver). This fat is called visceral fat. The storage of visceral fat influences metabolism in such a way that additional dietary saturated fat also leads to increases in blood sugar (and hence insulin) if any carbs or sugars are consumed as well.

To the best of my knowledge, the hair-healthiest diet is a low-carb (or slow-carb) variation of the WFPB (whole foods plant based) diet. What do I mean with slow-carb? Natural, zero-processed carbs that are digested only slowly: Veggies, beans, lentils, tubers, whole-grain rice, these kinds of things. Also generally, for metabolic health, the optimal BMI is in the range of 22 to 24.
 

Questions

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Not directly.

Under the same conditions that lead to increases of IGF-1 and insulin, the body stores fat around organs (predominantly the liver). This fat is called visceral fat. The storage of visceral fat influences metabolism in such a way that additional dietary saturated fat also leads to increases in blood sugar (and hence insulin) if any carbs or sugars are consumed as well.

To the best of my knowledge, the hair-healthiest diet is a low-carb (or slow-carb) variation of the WFPB (whole foods plant based) diet. What do I mean with slow-carb? Natural, zero-processed carbs that are digested only slowly: Veggies, beans, lentils, tubers, whole-grain rice, these kinds of things. Also generally, for metabolic health, the optimal BMI is in the range of 22 to 24.
Just want to second this because this diet helps my skin/lowers sebum a fair amount. If I eat dairy or sugar (other high glycemic foods like fries, chips, white bread, etc.) my skin becomes extremely oily. I still have some adult acne, but if I go off the diet I start breaking out so bad on my face, shoulders, etc. every single time
 

Mr Slap Head

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Just wanted to point out that sebum production is independent of hair loss, though both are increased by androgenic activity.
 

thatslin

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Just wanted to point out that sebum production is independent of hair loss, though both are increased by androgenic activity.
True. Sebum is never the root cause. I see it as maybe an indicator of how much inflammation is going on under the scalp
 

Renovation

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Just wanted to point out that sebum production is independent of hair loss, though both are increased by androgenic activity.
I agree to some degree. However ( a big however imo) the continued sebum production after hair miniaturization where the near dormant follicle continues to be supplemented with the same level of sebum as was produced with a healthy follicle, can hugely affect future growth and hinder potential regrowth by clogging the follicle. This extra sebum which no longer has a hair to 'work on' will inevitable cause any surrounding hairs to be supplemented with extra sebum. Especially bad in diffuse thinning. It's like a catch 22. When we lose hair the follicles still produce the same sebum and therefore there's to much sebum for the rest of the hairs to handle.
 

Mr Slap Head

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I agree to some degree. However ( a big however imo) the continued sebum production after hair miniaturization where the near dormant follicle continues to be supplemented with the same level of sebum as was produced with a healthy follicle, can hugely affect future growth and hinder potential regrowth by clogging the follicle. This extra sebum which no longer has a hair to 'work on' will inevitable cause any surrounding hairs to be supplemented with extra sebum. Especially bad in diffuse thinning. It's like a catch 22. When we lose hair the follicles still produce the same sebum and therefore there's to much sebum for the rest of the hairs to handle.
Agreed
 

Armando Jose

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NO, The problem is not really sebum production but thta sebunm is not eliminated at the same time is made. Also there is a sebum traveling to dermal papilla.
 

Capone

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Every since my FUE, the front area has increased a lot in little bumps, if I scrape it off it’s the waxy sebum substance, it’s like my body is way overproducing. Def need to cut back on fried food & dairy etc.. Acv rinse is supposed to help
 
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