Got a Sticky and Smelly Scalp? The microbiome will be your lifesaver.

We all want to have silky, soft, and clean hair all the time.

However, since the scalp and hair are very delicate, irritation and problems such as smell, stickiness, itchiness, and redness are common problems.

If you suffer from scalp troubles, the microbiome may be your lifesaver.

Here we introduce scalp sebum, smell, stickiness, and even the cause of inflammation from KINS' perspective.


"Sebum" and "Microbiome"; the causes of smelly scalp

Worried about the smell of your scalp? Suffer from scalp irritation or dandruff? These kinds of scalp problems are not uncommon.

One of the causes is sebum. An imbalance in the amount and quality of sebum can cause scalp problems. And the microbiome has things to do with this mechanism.


First of all, let's take the scalp smell as an example.

Sebum itself is not the cause of the bad smell. The Microbiome that feeds on sebum breaks down sebum and produces substances like "low-grade fatty acids."

In other words, the excessive amount of sebum and the increase in the number of the microbiome that feeds on sebum cause the microbiome to produce a lot of substances like low-grade fatty acids, which leads to a bad smell.


So, it is the microbiome that creates the smell, but the real root of the smell is excessive sebum.


Inflammation of the scalp is also caused by an increase in the amount of sebum and an outburst of the microbiome that feeds on sebum.

In some cases, an imbalance of microbiome on the scalp results in a worsening of the scalp environment.


By all rights, sebum is an essential part of the scalp that protects it.

However, if the quality or quantity of sebum becomes imbalanced, it can cause scalp problems.

So what can we do to control the amount of sebum? Here we introduce some ways to do it.



AMAZAKE, the Japanese sweet rice malt fermented drink


Since we at KINS are a brand born in Japan, let us first introduce you to the Japanese sebum controller.


Have you ever heard of "Amazake"? It is a sweet fermented drink made from rice malt and sake lees and has been popular in Japan since ancient times. It is available in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic forms and can be served cold or warm.


One study reported that amazake has the effect of controlling sebum.

In that paper, women with rough skin in their 40~60s were divided into two groups and tested.

The two groups were divided as follows.


(1) A group that drinks amazake 

(2) A group that drinks a beverage with the same calories as amazake

The two groups consumed the designated beverages twice a day, morning and evening, every day for a month.


The result was, the amount of sebum in the group (1) that drank amazake was significantly lower than that in the group (2).


Drink Amazake twice a day, morning and evening. This is the only thing you need to do to reduce the amount of sebum.

Many amazake is made from either sake lees or rice malt, but according to this study, sake lees alone and rice malt alone have been shown to reduce sebum.

Still, it is suggested that amazake made from both sake lees and rice malt may further lower sebum levels.

If you pass by a Japanese food store, be sure to check and see if they have amazake.



Vitamins; the controller of the sebum

Vitamins, which we are all familiar with, actually have a lot to do with sebum balance.

By taking vitamins daily, you can take care of your scalp as well as your skin.

Let's take a closer look at what role each vitamin plays.



Vitamin B2 metabolizes carbohydrates and lipids

Vitamin B2 not only has the effect of suppressing sebum but also metabolizes carbohydrates and fats.

When you consume carbohydrates and fats that stimulate the secretion of sebum, we recommend consuming vitamin B2 together to promote the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats.

Vitamin B2 can be found in the liver, milk, eggs, and natto(fermented soybeans).

The recommended daily requirement is about 1.0mg~1.2mg.

Four glasses of milk will provide you with the daily requirement of vitamin B2.



Vitamin B6 suppresses sebum secretion

Vitamin B6 is another nutrient that helps reduce sebum production.

Fish such as bonito, tuna, and salmon are rich in this nutrient.

It is also found in bananas.

The standard daily requirement is 1.0mg~1.2mg, the same as vitamin B2.

Three to four bananas will provide enough for one day.



Vitamin C, the ally for beautiful skin

Vitamin C, which is known to be good for the skin, is another nutrient that reduces sebum.

It is a substance that the human body does not produce, so it must be consumed through the diet.

It is said that 100mg is needed per day, and the following are the amounts of vitamin C contained in 100g of typical foods.

The following is the amount of vitamin C contained in 100g of typical foods, mainly vegetables, fruits, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.


Red bell pepper: 170mg

Broccoli: 120mg

Strawberries: about 60mg

Cabbage: 40mg

Potato: 35mg

Sweet potatoes: about 30mg

If you are not getting enough vitamin C, check the above list to give it a try. 



Cooking Methods for Efficient Vitamin Intake

Vitamins B2, B6, and C are water-soluble and will dissolve and runoff in water.

Therefore, it is important to wash foods containing the above nutrients quickly and not spend too much time in the water.

In addition, to consume all the water-soluble vitamins, we recommend eating them raw or steamed.





The key to getting rid of stickiness is the sugar and fat

Today, we all know the need to avoid too many carbohydrates and fats for weight loss and beautiful skin.

But do you know why we need to be careful of them?

It is common for us at KINS to receive inquiries from customers saying, "I have a hard time quitting sweet and fatty foods," or "But I am worried about my acne."

What is the relationship between sebum, which causes acne and stickiness, and sugars and fats? Let's take a closer look.



Carbohydrates lead to sebum secretion

When sugar is ingested, blood glucose levels rise rapidly.

When blood glucose levels rise rapidly, a hormone called insulin is secreted to lower blood glucose levels. Insulin activates male hormones and stimulates sebum production.

Because of this mechanism, sugar intake stimulates sebum secretion.


Of these, white carbohydrates are the ones we need to watch out for.

For example; white rice and white bread.

Excessive sugar intake also leads to excessive sebum secretion, so be sure to consume appropriate amounts.

But you probably want to ask us this question. "What is the appropriate amount?"

Desirable carbohydrate intake per day is 50~60% of total daily energy requirements.

However, it varies depending on gender, age, and daily physical activity.

The website below will provide you the amount of carbohydrate you should consume daily and other information.



Do you have all-year-round oily skin due to excessive fat intake?

Many of us intuitively understand that eating oily foods makes our skin oily.

Yes, excessive fat intake leads to excessive sebum secretion.

Desirable fat intake per day is 20~30% of the daily energy requirement and for women, it is about around 50~60g.

However, it depends on age, gender, and daily physical activity.


If you would like to check whether you are consuming too much fat, please compare your own diet with the diets listed in the following links and consider them.

The healing power of forest bathing

Stress is another factor that increases sebum.

By taking care of your stress and mental health regularly, you can prevent rough skin as much as possible, even in your busy lives.

However, it is impossible to live a stress-free life.

The important thing is how to heal your heart from fatigue and one concrete way to do so is forest bathing.


But why is forest bathing good for stress care?

The answer lies in the relationship between the intestines and stress.



Can forest bathing reduce stress?

Neurotransmitters such as "serotonin" and "GABA" are produced in the gut. These substances have the function of strengthening the body's resistance to stress.

Serotonin, also known as the "happy hormone," is mainly produced in the gut.

Therefore, improving the intestinal environment leads to higher stress tolerance.


And now for the main point.

When we take a forest bath, the parasympathetic nervous activity increases and our bodies become relaxed.

The peristalsis of the intestines is proper when the parasympathetic nervous system is dominant. Therefore, forest bathing, which makes the parasympathetic nervous system dominant, allows the intestines to function properly and regulates the intestinal environment.


One experiment comparing forest walkers with city walkers found that parasympathetic nerve activity was significantly higher in those who walked in the forest.


This is related to the effects of "phytoncide" and "Negative ions" emitted from forests.

Phytoncide is a substance that trees emit to protect themselves, but it also has beneficial effects on humans, such as a refreshing effect.

Negative ions also increase the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system and promote a state of relaxation.

Forest bathing is good for feeling comfortable and relaxed, as well as for the proper functioning of the intestines.

To reduce the overproduction of sebum due to stress, why not try forest bathing on your day-offs and get a peaceful life?



Maruki-Uchida H, Sai M, Yano S, Morita M, Maeda K. Amazake made from sake cake and rice koji suppresses sebum content in differentiated hamster sebocytes and improves skin properties in humans. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2020 Aug;84(8):1689-1695. DOI: 10.1080/09168451.2020.1756734. Epub 2020 Apr 21. PMID: 32316864.