Our hair and skin regularly produce a substance called sebum. The natural lubricant protects the skin from drying out, reduces water loss during sweating, which helps to keep the body cool, and also keeps the scalp moisturized to give hair that natural shine. Sebum is one of the body’s natural defenses against infection; it is both home to and protection against bacteria and fungi that can irritate the skin and body.


1. Sebum Composition

Sebum is composed of various lipids in a specific ratio. Triglycerides, stored fat released for energy, makes up approximately 57 percent. Wax monoesters derived from fatty acids and fatty alcohols make up approximately 25 percent. Squalene, a naturally occurring oil synthesized in the liver, makes up 13 percent, while cholesterol and cholesterol esters make up the remaining five percent.

oil wax Bacsica / Getty Images

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