Are you looking for solutions on how to get rid of smelly scalp? We have listed all the ways you can get rid of smelly scalp. Not only that, this blog will help you understand the causes behind smelly scalp too!
Have you ever felt like your scalp is smelly or someone else pointed out that your scalp is smelly (so embarrassing!). We all sweat and temporarily do have bad odor including in our scalp. But if this is something you’re constantly dealing with then it’s a problem.
In this article, we will discuss how to prevent scalp odor and its causes. An unpleasant odor from the scalp can give others an unpleasant impression. Let’s understand the cause of the odor and try to deal with it appropriately.
- Related: How to treat Scabs on Scalp from Bleach
- Related: How To Prevent Your Scalp From Itching After Hair Coloring
How To Get Rid Of Smelly Scalp
What are the causes of scalp odor?
If you want to take action against scalp odor, first understand the cause of the odor. There are three main causes of scalp odor
By understanding the causes, you will understand how important it is to take countermeasures.
The scalp is home to a large number of “indigenous skin bacteria,” a type of fungi. The scalp, which is like a dense forest due to the presence of hair, is said to have more indigenous skin bacteria than other parts of the body such as arms and legs.
Bacterial growth is the root cause of scalp odor. The key to preventing odor is how to suppress the growth of bacteria.
The amount of sebum is deeply related to the unpleasant smell of the scalp. Sebum has the effect of smoothing hair and preventing the scalp from drying out.
Therefore, neither too little nor too much sebum is a problem, and it is important to maintain an appropriate amount of sebum.
When sebum is over-secreted due to oily food, stress, lack of sleep, etc., it is fed by bacteria, causing unpleasant odors.
A scalp that sweats profusely becomes an environment in which bacteria can easily multiply. Since bacteria increase by feeding on sebum, they produce an unpleasant odor on the scalp, which is separate from the smell of sweat.
When you sweat, wipe it off frequently to keep your scalp clean. When wiping away perspiration, scrubbing hard can dry out the scalp and cause overproduction of sebum to compensate.
It is a vicious cycle, so be sure to wipe away sweat frequently, gently, and carefully.
How to Prevent Scalp Odor
The unpleasant smell of the scalp may be improved by the following six countermeasure methods.
- Use scalp shampoo and wash your head in the correct way.
- Pay attention to your diet
- Improve the quality of sleep
- Wash pillowcases frequently
- Get into the habit of sweating through exercise, etc.
- Take care of stress
All of the above are things that can be implemented immediately if you want to start. We will also introduce some key points, so if you are concerned about scalp odor, please take a look at them.
1. Use a shampoo and wash your head the right way.
To prevent odor, we recommend using a scalp shampoo that helps maintain a clean scalp environment. It cleanses hair and scalp and claims to prevent perspiration odor.
Four active ingredients (piroctone olamine, 2K glycyrrhizate, salicylic acid, and tocopherol acetate) prevent sweaty odor, dandruff, and itching of the hair and scalp. In addition, 24 kinds of plant extracts with moisturizing effects can be expected to maintain a healthy scalp.
This shampoo is also recommended for those who are new to scalp care using products because of its low irritation to the scalp.
If you want to take proper measures, you should also pay attention to how you wash your scalp. If you shampoo in the correct way, you will find it easier to keep your scalp clean. In general, the following procedure is recommended for shampooing.
- Comb your hair beforehand.
- First, rinse the surface of your hair and scalp with hot water only.
- Take shampoo in your hand and lather it up
- Lather the surface of the hair with shampoo and carefully rub it in with your fingers
- Massage the scalp for about 1 to 2 minutes
- Rinse, being careful not to leave any shampoo on the scalp.
When applying conditioner after shampooing, rinse thoroughly with warm water at the end. If the shampoo is not rinsed out thoroughly, it may lead to clogged pores.
2. Be careful about your diet.
Eating too much greasy food or sweets that contain a lot of fat and sugar may lead to excessive secretion of sebum. Since the secretion of sebum increases from all parts of the body, including the scalp, it is possible that the scalp will always have an unpleasant odor.
It is important to keep a well-balanced diet so that nutrition is not unbalanced. In particular, try to actively consume foods that contain B vitamins, protein, and zinc, which are considered to be good for hair.
Foods rich in each of these nutrients are listed below.
- Green and yellow vegetables
- Dairy products
- Natto (fermented soybeans)
- Chicken Meat
- Pork liver
Be sure to consume a good balance of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruits. Unpleasant odors can also be caused by oxidation of metabolites. Therefore, it is recommended to take a balanced intake of vitamin C, which has an antioxidant effect.
In addition, it is important not to consume too much fat. A high intake of fat can increase sebum production, which is the cause of scalp odor. Lipids are found in beef, pork, butter, etc., so be aware of this when eating.
3) Improve the quality of sleep
Growth hormone, which is produced during sleep, promotes skin metabolism and keeps the scalp healthy.
Some people may be busy with work and have difficulty going to bed early or getting a decent amount of sleep. However, what is important is not the timing of bedtime or the length of sleep, but rather the quality of sleep.
Sleep quality can be improved simply by changing to a futon or pillow that fits your body. Avoiding smartphone operation, eating, and bathing before bed is also essential to improving sleep quality. Try to eat at least 3 hours before going to bed and take a bath 2 hours before.
Furthermore, 3~4 hours after going to sleep is called the golden hour, which not only promotes growth but also eliminates waste products. Even busy people should try to get at least 4 hours of sleep.
Also, if you want to improve the quality of your sleep, try to be conscious of not disrupting your body clock. If your body clock is disrupted, you will not be able to sleep at night, and the lack of sleep may cause a decrease in the production of growth hormones.
The body clock has a rhythm of 25-hour cycles, slightly longer than a day, and must be reset daily to a 24-hour cycle. The rhythm is reset by sunlight in the morning, so open the curtains as soon as you wake up to allow sunlight into the room.
4) Wash pillowcases frequently
Shampooing keeps your hair and scalp clean. But what about pillowcases? Pillowcases soaked with sweat from sleeping may harbor bacteria that cannot be seen by the naked eye. Sweating itself is good, but it also activates bacteria and can easily lead to the growth of dust mites.
Pillowcases should be washed at least once every three days to keep them clean.
If you are concerned, we also recommend that you wash the pillow itself on a regular basis. If the pillow itself is kept clean, it will be easier to keep the pillowcase clean as well.
However, whether or not the pillow is washable depends on the material of the pillow, so please check the washing label tag in advance.
5) Get into the habit of sweating through exercise, etc.
If you do not exercise enough, your sweat glands may become dormant, making it difficult to sweat. If you do not sweat, the function of the sweat glands will deteriorate, which is the source of the odor.
Lack of exercise can also cause poor blood circulation and a decrease in the body’s metabolism, resulting in less nutrients reaching the hair and causing it to not grow healthy hair.
For the health of your body and hair, be sure to exercise vigorously.
It is also important to thoroughly wipe away sweat from your body. Sweat left on the scalp for long periods of time can cause bacteria to grow and cause an itchy scalp. After exercise, wipe away sweat with a towel or take a shower to rinse off the sweat to keep the scalp clean.
6) Take care of stress
Stress can disrupt the autonomic nervous system, making the sympathetic nervous system dominant.
When the sympathetic nervous system becomes dominant, male hormones increase, which is said to increase sebum production. Since excessive sebum secretion is the cause of unpleasant odor, stress care is very important.
Stress can be caused by work, housework, childcare, relationships, and many other factors. It is difficult to go through life without feeling stress, so it is important to be aware of how to live a life without excessive stress.
There are many ways to take care of stress. Examples include “talking with good friends,” “immersing yourself in a hobby,” and “exercising as much as you can. If you are prone to stress, take this opportunity to find a stress care method that works for you.
How to Check for Scalp Odor
If you are concerned about your scalp odor, check it yourself. Scalp odor can be checked mainly by the following methods
- Rub your fingers on your scalp
- Check by the smell left on the pillow
- Try applying the wind of a hair dryer.
Specific details about each checking method are described below.
(1) Rubbing the scalp with fingers
Among the check methods, rubbing the scalp with fingers is relatively simple and easy to practice. It is recommended to rub not only one part of the scalp but also several parts of the scalp for a thorough check.
Also, it is better to wash your hands before rubbing the scalp with your fingers to make it easier to check the smell of the scalp.
(2) Check by the odor left on the pillow.
Scalp odor can also be confirmed by smelling the odor left on the pillow when you wake up. Pillows are bedding that is in contact with the head throughout the night, so scalp odor can easily be transferred.
However, some pillow materials may retain a chemical odor that is unique to chemical materials. In such cases, it is difficult to confirm the scalp odor, so try drying the pillow in the shade to remove the chemical odor.
(3) Try blowing air from a hair dryer.
If you are concerned about whether the scalp odor is being blown away by the wind, try blowing air from a hair dryer. You can check the smell of your scalp by blowing air from the back of your head.
In addition, although it is common to apply a hair dryer at the time of drying hair after taking a bath, when checking for odor, apply it while hair is dry.
Hair problems increase as we age, but in addition to thinning and hair loss, odor can also cause discomfort to those around us. If you are concerned about your own scalp odor, try to improve your lifestyle and review your hair care.
First, check the smell of your own scalp, and if you smell it, it is important to clarify the cause. If you experience any other symptoms, such as itching or dandruff, consult a dermatologist as soon as possible because it may be a skin disorder.
It is easier to prevent scalp problems in advance by skillfully using hair care products that not only prevent odor, but also help with hair growth and hair loss. When using hair care products, please consider Polypure Scalp Shampoo, which can improve the scalp environment.
Hey there! I’m Joanne. I’m a hair stylist by the day and a beauty blogger by the night. My hairstyling journey leaped when I started writing blogs on different topics related to the same.