What Causes Smelly Scalp and How To Fix It

In the era of busy schedules, skipped washes, and dry shampoo fixes, a smelly scalp and dandruff are more common than most people want to admit. “Smelly Hair Syndrome” or “Smelly Scalp Syndrome” is definitely a real thing! If you’ve noticed your scalp feels like it has an odor even after washing or that you are having more itching and dryness, you’re not alone. Scalp build up and odor happens -especially if you skip washes or have dense, long or oily hair. It’s nothing to be ashamed of and it’s extremely common. Here are some causes of an oily, smelly scalp and how to fix it.

Not Shampooing Often or Thoroughly

When it comes to advice about your hair, you will often hear mixed commentary. Some pros say to only wash your hair a couple times a week, but anyone with hair that leans on the side of oily knows that’s not realistic! Even if you don’t have oily hair, you may notice you locks become dull or limp after just a day or two of skipping a wash. So what is the correct advice on how often to wash? Well, that is really up to you and your own body chemistry! If you have oily hair, daily or every other day. If you have dry hair 2 times per week may work. Test out different intervals and see what works best for your hair. If you do need to skip a wash, try dry shampoo, like our Dry Shampoo Mist. It’s naturally antibacterial and it actually eliminates odor instead masking it like most products, so it more effectively combats oiliness and odor in between washes.

Scalp Neglect

While we all know to shampoo and condition, few of us think to use a treatment on our scalps, which are the culprit of odor and oiliness. Our scalps are skin, just like our faces,  but because they’re covered in hair (which harbors and collects even more oil and bacteria), they need even more TLC and deep cleansing. Without regular deep cleansing our scalps tend to buildup with bacteria, oil, fungus and impurities. Over time, shampooing may not be enough.

If you’re noticing your scalp has odor or oiliness, it may be time for a deep cleansing scalp treatment/mask. Unfortunately “scalp masks” aren’t quite a mainstream product yet, and since skincare masks are our speciality, we created our Clarifying Scalp Mask precisely for targeting this problem. (Hey, if you can’t find it, create it, right?)  Our scalp mask is formulated with activated charcoal, clarifying clays and naturally antibacterial tea tree oil, dead sea salt, and peppermint oil to cleanse the scalp deeply and remove excess oiliness and buildup. It helps to extend style (your hair won’t get oily so quickly) and you’ll notice your hair has more body and best of all -it eliminates odor. Bye, bye smelly scalp!

Improper Product Use and/or Using Wrong Products For Your Hair Type

Our scalps, like our faces, have unique chemistry and needs. Sometimes scalp issues are caused by improper use or not using the correct products for your skin/hair type. You may notice super hydrating products cause more dandruff or buildup on the scalp. It’s also worth noting that improper use of products, such as applying conditioner to the scalp may cause more oiliness and buildup. Typically on most hair types, conditioner should only be applied from the mid-crown to the ends of hair for best results. In most cases, if you struggle with oiliness, odor, and dandruff, it’s best to use a clarifying shampoo, followed by a hydrating conditioner on the midsection and ends only. Avoid conditioner on the scalp completely.

A More Serious Medical Condition

If odor and dryness is beyond being solved by over the counter scalp treatments or thorough cleansing, you may have a more serious fungal or bacterial condition that needs professional medical treatment. It’s worth checking in with your doctor to see what’s going on if you’ve tried over-the-counter treatments and nothing seems to work.

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