Home Remedies

How To Get Rid Of Smelly Scalp And Hair

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How To Get Rid Of Smelly Scalp And Hair Hyderabd040-395603080 May 28, 2019

As if body odor wasn’t enough, here’s another issue you need to deal with – smelly scalp and hair. This problem can cause your confidence to take a back seat and also make you socially awkward. You must have noticed your hair and scalp emanating a weird smell a couple of days post hair wash. If you are among those who work out or sweat a lot in general, you will see things going haywire even sooner.

What causes your scalp and hair to smell bad? How do you get rid of smelly hair without having to wash it daily? You will find the answers to all your questions and even more right here. Continue reading!

Table Of Contents

Why Does My Scalp Smell?

Your scalp can be stinking or smelling weird for various reasons. One reason is that you have an oily scalp. Individuals with oily skin usually have an oily scalp. While scalps that produce too much oil don’t necessarily always smell bad, they do give off a distinct sour smell.

Bad odor from an oily scalp is usually a result of bacterial activities up there. Bacteria are almost always present on your scalp, whether your scalp is oily or not. Excess oil provides these bacteria with the nutrition they require to thrive on and proliferate. This can give off a distinct foul odor.

Other factors known to contribute to a smelly scalp are listed below.

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What Causes Smelly Scalp And Hair?

As you are aware, an oily scalp is one of the primary reasons for the smell.

Factors known to make your scalp extra oily are:

  • Not washing your hair for some days or poor hygiene
  • Hormonal changes
  • Medical conditions like seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, dandruff, or allergic contact dermatitis
  • Excessive sweating
  • Pollution

All these factors can contribute to making your hair and scalp smelly.

Now that we have a fair idea about why freshly shampooed hair starts smelling weird after a couple of days, let us look at some natural hacks to battle this issue.

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How To Get Rid Of Smelly Scalp And Hair Naturally

  1. Essential Oils
  2. Lemon Juice
  3. Garlic Oil
  4. Apple Cider Vinegar
  5. Tomato Juice
  6. Baking Soda
  7. Avoid Using Conditioner On The Scalp

Home Remedies To Remove Smell From Hair And Scalp

1. Essential Oils

a. Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree Oil Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 6 drops of tea tree oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons of jojoba or sweet almond oil
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix tea tree oil with jojoba or sweet almond oil in the specified quantities.
  2. Apply the blend to your scalp and a little to your hair.
  3. Leave it on for at least 30 minutes before rinsing it off.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this 1-2 times daily.

Why This Works

The pleasant smell of tea tree oil can leave your hair smelling fresh, and its antimicrobial properties can help battle the microbes causing the smell (1).

b. Neem Oil

Neem Oil Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 5-6 drops of neem oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons of any carrier oil
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix five to six drops of neem oil with one to two tablespoons of any carrier oil.
  2. Apply the mixture to your scalp and hair.
  3. Leave it on for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Rinse it off.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this 1-2 times in a day.

Why This Works

Neem oil is antimicrobial (2). Hence, it can be used to eliminate the constantly replicating microbes that cause your scalp to smell bad.

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2. Lemon Juice

Lemon Juice Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
  • 1-2 cups of warm water
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix two teaspoons of lemon juice with one to two cups of warm water.
  2. Wash your hair with a mild cleanser.
  3. Give your hair and scalp a final rinse with the lemon and water mixture.
  4. Leave it on for a few minutes.
  5. Rinse your hair thoroughly with plain water.
How Often You Should Do This

Repeat the process twice a week.

Why This Works

The bactericidal effects of lemon may help combat the bacteria that are causing your hair to smell bad (3). Lemon can also combat dandruff, one of the many causes of a smelly scalp.

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3. Garlic Oil

Garlic Oil Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
What You Have To Do
  1. Crush the garlic cloves.
  2. Heat the crushed cloves with two tablespoons of coconut oil for a few minutes.
  3. Strain the mixture to extract all the oil out of it.
  4. Apply the mixture to your scalp and a little to your hair.
  5. Leave it on for at least 30 minutes before rinsing it off with a mild cleanser and water.
How Often You Should Do This

You may do this 1-2 times a week for best results.

Why This Works

The antibacterial and antifungal activities of the sulfur compounds in garlic can fight the bacteria that are causing your scalp to smell bad (4).

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4. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar Pinit

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You Will Need
  • ½ cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix half a cup of apple cider vinegar with two cups of water.
  2. Wash your hair with a mild cleanser and use the above mixture for a final rinse.
  3. Rinse your hair thoroughly with water after this.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this 1-2 times a week.

Why This Works

The antibacterial nature of apple cider vinegar can help combat the bacteria thriving on your scalp (5).

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5. Tomato Juice

Tomato Juice Pinit

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You Will Need

1 medium-sized tomato

What You Have To Do
  1. Squeeze out the pulp from a medium-sized tomato.
  2. Apply the pulp directly to the scalp.
  3. Leave it on for 20-30 minutes before rinsing it off with plain water.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this 1 to 2 times a week.

Why This Works

Tomato pulp exhibits antibacterial properties that can help in getting rid of the odor-causing bacteria on your scalp (6).

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6. Baking Soda

Baking Soda Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • ½ cup of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a tablespoon of baking soda to half a cup of water and mix well.
  2. Rinse your hair as usual with a mild cleanser.
  3. After washing your hair, give it a final rinse with the baking soda solution.
  4. Rinse thoroughly with water.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this once a week.

Why This Works

The antibacterial nature of baking soda can help in getting rid of the odor-causing bacteria on your scalp (7).

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7. Avoid Using Conditioner On The Scalp

Conditioners are only meant for your hair and not your scalp. Applying conditioner to the scalp can make it even more oily, giving a chance for the odor-causing bacteria on your scalp to multiply.

In addition to these remedies, you can also follow the tips mentioned below to prevent your scalp and hair from smelling bad.

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How To Prevent Smelly Scalp And Hair

  • Wash your hair regularly.
  • Treat the root cause of the odor, like dandruff (if any).
  • If you sweat a lot, wear light clothing.
  • Use a mild fragrant shampoo.
  • Avoid the temptation to scratch your scalp as it increases the secretion of oil.
  • Avoid touching your hair constantly.
  • If you spend a lot of time outdoors, wear a scarf or hat to protect your hair from environmental pollution.

A combination of these remedies and tips can help you combat a smelly scalp. However, since this is usually a recurring problem, you should try and stick to the prevention tips discussed above to avoid your scalp from turning smelly again.

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Hope this post helps you address your smelly scalp problems. For any further queries, feel free to get in touch with us in the comments section below.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Why does my hair smell even after washing?

If your hair ends up smelling a few hours right after washing it, you are most probably suffering from smelly hair syndrome. This syndrome manifests itself in one symptom, which is a terrible odor emanating from your scalp.

What shampoo is good for a smelly scalp?

Shampoos that contain a lot of sulfur can help with a smelly scalp and hair. Sulfur can help combat bacteria and fungi that contribute to a stinky scalp.

References

  1. Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil: a Review of Antimicrobial and Other Medicinal Properties” Clinical Microbiology Reviews, US National Library of Medicine.
  2. Therapeutics Role of Azadirachta indica (Neem) and Their Active Constituents in Diseases Prevention and Treatment” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, US National Library of Medicine.
  3. Bactericidal activity of lemon juice and lemon derivatives against Vibrio cholerae.” Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, US National Library of Medicine
  4. Antimicrobial properties of allicin from garlic.” Microbes and Infection, US National Library of Medicine.
  5. Antimicrobial activity of apple cider vinegar against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans; downregulating cytokine and microbial protein expression” Scientific Reports, US National Library of Medicine.
  6. [Experimental evaluation of the antibacterial activity of tomato pulp oil extract]” Zhurnal mikrobiologii, epidemiologii, immunobiologii, US National Library of Medicine.
  7. Antimicrobial activity of home disinfectants and natural products against potential human pathogens.” Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, US National Library of Medicine