Woman with smelly hair syndrome

What does smell of the hair means? Find out why and how to get rid of it

When your scalp is healthy and you don’t have any kind of unpleasant odor you probably won’t pay attention to it. But when time comes that your skin under your hair starts causing you problems, like for exmple smelly scalp it can change and your attenion will be fully paid to it.

Smelly hair syndrome

Everyone has got so called bad hair day time to time, however there are people who are dealing with smelly hair syndrome. This syndrome is connected with huge odor coming from the head of a person who is dealing with it. This smelly hair problem can cause many social problems like relationship problems or taunts from coworkers.

This health condion happens because some people produce more of sebum than others that is why the smell is that bad.

Causes of smelly scalp

In fact the main reason of smelly scalp as well as smelly hair is the excess oil so called sebum, yeast and also dead skin cells. Here goes other common causes of smelly scalp:

  • scalp psoriasis,
  • fungal infection,
  • skin conditions,
  • under or over washing,
  • chemical hair products,
  • seborrheic dermatitis,
  • exaggerated sweating.

Scalp psoriasis

Person who is dealing with scalp psoriasis will may have fine scales covering your scalp, or you may have many of thick and crusty plaques. Person with this type of scalp condition may want to skip washing the affected area and this is the worst thing to do! If a person will skip washing this area it can lead to the development of a smell as oil and skin cells build up.

Fungal infection

If a person is dealing with fungal infection it can cause smelly scalp. This fungus can indeed cause inflammatory reactions. Those reactions may be:

  • dandruff,
  • eczema,
  • folliculitis.

Skin conditions

There are skin conditions like for example dandruff which can lead to a smelly scalp and smelly hair. Mentioned dandruff is caused by the build up of dead skin cells which are falling off in form of white flakes. Irritated scalp cused by dandruff can cause odor.

Under- or over-washing

This one is very easy because if a person will delay scrub it will allow oils and sebum to build up on the scalp. This may also make your hair to smell bad.

Chemical hair products

Remains from those chemical hair care products can simply mess with the oil balance in the human scalp and it can cause unpleasant odor. People should choose shampoo and well as conditioner, serum and mask which has gentle ingredients.

Seborrheic dermatitis

It should be mentioned that sebaceous glands secrete oil. Seborrheic dermatitis is caused by any kind of overgrowth of a natural yeast which lives on human body. This yeast causes dry, yellow and scaly patches which showes up on the scalp. Those patches can simply cause bad smell.

Exaggerated sweating

Person who goes to the gym regularly, but likes to skip post workout shower even after a good workout full of sweat. When the build up of those sweats and bacteria mixes on the scalp may cause unpleasant odor. Excessive sweating which is also called hyperhidrosis can make this odor even worse.

How to stop hair smell bad?

Woman is under the shower washing her hair

Are you a person who is having a problem with bad hair smell? If so here is a good portion of advices! Keep following the article and find out:

  • Hair care routine – to give your hair a proper hair care routine a person should understand what kind of hair care products are right to suit their hair type. People should also remember to wash, condition, detangle, protect and then style their hair.
  • Prescribed hair products – if person’s scalp is affected by yeast or other kind of bacteria and is smelling bad he or she should use anti-fungal.

There are also some home remedies other than medical treatment and medicated shampoos. Those home remedies are:

  • lemon juice – using lemon juice is one from those natural helpful methods. Lemon juice has anti-microbial properties and helps in keeping the hair fresh and also gives to the scalp citrusy smell,
  • essential oils – another good natural method is mix of few drops of essential oils like for example tea tree oil, almond or jojoba oil. Mix of those natural oils should be applyed to the scalp and hair. Then leave it for about 30 mninutes and then wash it with a gentle shampoo,
  • cider vinger – this is also natural way to help the bad smell. Mix 2-3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with about 2 cups of water.

Now you know how it is possible to get rid of hair odor as well as stop your scalp to stink.

How to avoid smelly hair and scalp?

If you are a person who is afraid of smelly hair and wants to do everything to avoid it, keep reading and you will for sure find out how to avoid this scalp smell.

Here goes some stuff you should do to avoid the body odor:

  • have good diet,
  • wear a hat, this will protect your scalp from pollution and sun damage,
  • treat dandruff with help of anti dandruff shampoo,
  • manage stress,
  • use sulfate-free shampoo.


Now you know how to take care of your hair to have healthy hair and avoid unpleasant smell coming from hair or scalp.

If you are taking care of your hair daily however you can still feel strong odors from your scalp or hair you should contact with doctor. If there will be needed treatment doctor will for sure help you, and you will be able to hair goals that you want to reach.

Wee know that stress is a big part of our lives however it is stress what can disrupt normal hormonal functions which can lead to excess oil production and scalp irritation. That is why we should do yoga or meditation! Go on and try it out.


  1. This is very helpful article for people who are dealing with smelly hair syndrome. I think it might have saved someones life. Great job and amazing article!

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