It is one thing to have hair that occasionally smells unpleasant, especially if heat, humidity and excessive sweating are involved. However, if despite regular washing the smell seems to linger, you may be suffering from a condition called Smelly Hair Syndrome (SHS). Certain conditions such as dermatitis, scalp psoriasis, infections (bacterial or fungal), or hormonal imbalance can be the underlying reason for SHS. Often times though it is simply a case of overactive sebaceous glands on the scalp that produce excess sebum, and symptoms can be resolved using natural remedies and adopting simple measures.
Use the Right Shampoo the Right Way
Excess sebum has a tendency to build up and block glands which makes it critical to shampoo regularly. Shampoos designed specifically to lessen oil like those containing alcohol, dry out the scalp, stimulating it to produce even more oil. Shampoos containing silicone (ingredients ending with cone, conol, or siloxane) surround the hair causing it to dry out from within, and forms an insoluble layer over the scalp, allowing sebum to build up underneath. It is, therefore better to use mild shampoo or an organic shampoo for daily hair care.
The optimum temperature for washing hair is lukewarm since cold water fails to adequately wash out the oil, whereas hot water stimulates sebum production.
Shampoo must also be allowed to sit for 5 minutes before being washed out, after being gently massaged into the scalp, squeezing out excess sebum from the sebaceous glands to be absorbed. Scratching the scalp must be avoided as it may further irritate the scalp.
Diet and Lifestyle Adjustment
Intake of pungent foods such as onion and garlic should preferably be reduced. A balanced diet consisting of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains strengthens the immune system. Plenty of water must be consumed daily.
Since poor hygiene aggravates the symptoms regular washing of pillow cases, hair brushes and towels is also a must. Use of natural fabrics versus synthetic ones, especially for people covering their hair is highly recommended.
An abundance of hair products like gels, hair sprays and pomades increase oil production, hence they are best to be avoided.
Natural Remedies to Get Rid Of Smelly Hair
There are various products that can help tackle the issue:
Lemon juice is great as it fights off problems like dandruff and scalp infections. Use it mixed with oil as an overnight treatment 2 to 3 times a week, or simply mixed with water (2 lemons/ cup of water) as a conditioner, a couple of times a week. Mixed with yogurt and applied pre-shampooing weekly is an ideal treatment for fungal infections.
Baking soda is one of the best home remedies for smelly scalp as it neutralizes odors and controls oil production. A paste of soda and water (1:3) can be applied on damp hair for 5 minutes and rinsed off.
Apple cider vinegar works great at normalizing PH of hair and acts as a natural clarifier. It can be used as a conditioner diluted with equal parts water. Best, if used no more than twice a week.
Tomato juice may be applied to hair directly and rinsed off after 15 minutes. The acidity in tomatoes tackles odors and balances PH levels of hair. Beware this may lighten your hair.
Tea tree oil is great for dandruff and scalp acne as it has antimicrobial properties. Diluted with water it can be left on hair for 30 minutes before shampooing, or added directly to shampoo (2 drops for every 2 ounces of shampoo). Best, repeated once weekly.
Lavender oil helps treat inflammation and itchiness. It is powerful antiseptic and antifungal natural oil. It can be applied directly to the scalp (5 to 10 drops) to washed, damp hair.
If symptoms still persist after treatment for more than two weeks or other symptoms like acne or rashes occur, you must consult a primary care physician or dermatologist Find More Hair Tips.
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