why does my hair smell so bad
Hair odor (H. O. ) is the hair equivalent of B. O. в and while neither smell amazing, the former can also occur if you don't wash your body from head to toe regularly. "You wouldn't hold off on showering for more than three days, so why would you wait that long to wash your hair? " Anabel Kingsley, the head of new product development for Philip Kingsley and trichologist at the
in London, says to me over the phone. "Basically the skin on your scalp is like the skin on your body," she says. "It has sweat and oil glands too, so, much like B. O. , if you wouldn't wash your body for a few days, the sweat and oil would build up and the bacteria on you would start to break down and cause a stench. This is exactly what happens on your scalp. The naturally-occurring bacteria on your skin starts to react with the air and oil and begins to spoil, leaving behind a rancid smell. " Don't know what Kingsley is referring to? Then you either suds up on the regular, or your hair may smell without you realizing. Allow me to educate you: This repulsive, dirty, greasy stench I'm talking about usually doesn't crop up a day after you wash your hair, but as you approach 9p. m. of day two, you can be sure a bit of odor is lingering. "Three days and beyond is when that unsightly sour scent starts to emit off of your scalp, and then you know it's time to shampoo," she says. "We tell our patients to wash their hair everyday, because that's good hygiene, but we know that's unrealistic, and it also isn't the best practices for someone with color-treated hair (since daily washing can lead to premature fading), so we usually agree on them washing it every other day.
That's the only way to cure the smell; to wash it out. " Women with thicker and coarser hair, however, might be able to stretch this time frame a bit, "because they have less oil glands per square inch, since their individual strands are thicker," says Kingsley. While those with have more strands on their head and more oil glands per square inch, which is what makes their hair get greasier faster. FYI, it's not the end of the world if you don't wash your hair on day two, but it is common courtesy to your co-workers and the tight quarters you share with them to mask the beginnings of H. O. with dry shampoo (just like you prevent/camouflage B. O. with deodorant). The powder instantly works to soak up excess oil and imparts a fragrance that helps to tone down any unwanted smells. Try or stash this mini in your purse for touch-ups.
Make sure to wash your hair by day three. Lastly, preventing/treating H. O. isn't just about good-smelling hair; it's also about keeping your scalp healthy. "Your hair grows better [with] a healthy environment, so that's another reason to wash it regularly," adds Kingsley. "The act of shampooing also helps to exfoliate dead skin cells off of your scalp that can build up and cause itchiness and flaking. " H. O: don't let it happen to you. Follow Carly Cardellino on and. Despite the rise of the no-shampoo movement, there's always been one thing that stops me from going any more than three days without washing my hair: the smell. After my hair has absorbed the oils, city grime, and sweat of the past three days, a quick spritz of dry shampoo feels more like a Febreze cover-up than a laundry day. And unfortunately, it's not all that effective. "The hair and scalp end up smelling because there's a build-up of sebum and sweat, and it makes it a breeding ground for yeast, dead skin cells, and bacteria," dermatologist, MD, says. In fact, sweat itself doesn't have an odor в bacteria (or the byproducts of bacteria) does, and it will feed off lipids and proteins in your sweat, secreting compounds that smell like. Your scalp, it turns out, is just like the rest of your body в it sweats, with oils and fatty acids, and then bacteria sets in to feast.
But why does hair smell more than, say, your face? "Yes, when you don't wash your face, your face doesn't smell so bad, but your scalp does," Dr. Fusco says. "Your hair keeps your scalp warm, and it's a little incubator for all that bacteria. " Gross. That said, having smelly hair isn't a sign of poor hygiene. "Some people are just really oily, and they need to shampoo every day," Dr. Fusco says. But, contrary to popular opinion, you can't train your hair to be less oily. "That's all hormonal. Putting something on the surface of the skin is not going to tell those oil glands to stop pumping," she says. "You could dry it out too much, get irritated, and make it even more oily. " There are a few remedies to help with hair smell, even if you are on day three or four. Dry shampoo will absorb some of the sweat and oil, and typically the fragrance will neutralize any unsavory scents. But it's not a permanent solution, and it can affect your scalp health if. Instead of relying on sprays and powders, Dr. Fusco recommends one easy trick with a tool you already have: a hairdryer on the cool setting. When tasked with the idea of fending off bad hair smells post-Korean barbecue, Dr.
Fusco recommends blasting your hair with cold air to aerate the area в the same way a brisk breeze will freshen up a room. "I personally have thick, curly hair, and it takes up fragrance," Dr. Fusco says, "so I use that thing that cleans your keyboard out, and blast it around to aerate it. " Preventative treatments can also help. Dandruff shampoos are particularly good at keeping your scalp healthy, since they help monitor your oil production. "[Dandruff is] caused by a lipophilic yeast, which means that it eats oil,", PhD, a trichologist in New York, tells. The zinc pyrithione used to treat dandruff essentially kills off the yeast that causes the annoying white flakes, Dr. Fusco says. For a more permanent solution, there is also the option of Botox, which will last for three to six months. "Some people do get Botox injected into their scalp to reduce sweating, and that will reduce a smelly scalp," Dr. Fusco says, much like how Botox injected. "So it's out there, and some people do it. " But if you want options that don't require a trip to the derm and won't hurt your bank account, click through the slides ahead for three beauty buys that will keep smelly hair at bay.
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