Your hair may be one of the first things that others notice about you. If you deal with smelly hair or scalp, however, you may be too ashamed to leave your house for work or school, let alone meet new people. The problem of a smelly scalp or locks is significant enough for it to earn its own name, which no one cares to own, “Smelly Hair Syndrome.” While it may seem to outsiders that you just need to go home and wash your hair, those who suffer with SHS know it isn’t so simple. For some, it is only a matter of hours after washing that the dreaded smell returns!
What Causes Smelly Hair and Scalp?
If you have a bacterial or fungal infection on your scalp, your hair and scalp will likely not smell very good.
Toxins leaving your body through your scalp can cause an odor. Other health issues or imbalances can cause your hair and scalp to have an odor.
Your hair, skin and scalp are all meant to be slightly acidic. If they become too alkaline or very acidic, you may end up with an odor.
If your hormones are not working correctly body odor or scalp odor can be a result.
Natural Remedies for Smelly Hair and Scalp
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar can be used to improve your hair and scalp inside and out. Taking 1-3 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in a tall glass of water once or twice a day can help restore your body’s pH. It also helps to detoxify the body and promote good digestion, both of which can help your scalp!
Apple cider vinegar can also be used topically for your hair. Keep a bottle in your shower that is ½ vinegar and ½ water. After you wash your hair, pour some of this onto your hair and scalp and allow it to dry, without rinsing it out. Apple cider vinegar is a natural deodorizer, natural antibacterial and natural antifungal. It also helps to balance the pH of your hair.
Borax can be used topically to treat fungal issues. If your scalp and hair are smelly due to fungus, borax can be of help. Dissolve ½ cup of borax in a gallon of water. After your shower, rinse your hair and scalp with this solution and allow it to dry on your hair. Do not do this more than 2-3 times a week. Borax can be drying to the hair.
Borax can also be used internally to treat fungal issues from the inside out. It is also a natural remedy for hormone balancing. See this page for extensive information about using borax internally.
3. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree essential oil can kill bacteria and fungus. You can keep a bottle of tea tree oil in your shower. When you shampoo your hair, add one drop of tea tree oil to your daily ration of shampoo. You can do the same with hair conditioner.
4. Avoid SLS Products
Hair products often contain numerous chemicals that contribute to hair and scalp problems. To begin with, eliminate products with SLS (sodium laureth sulfate.) Check your health food store for natural hair products, though, be warned, not every “natural” product is very natural after all. Check out our page on shampoo alternatives.
5. Cotton Only for Your Head
Many things touch your head each day, from your pillowcase to your ball cap to the headrest in your car. Synthetic materials that are in continuous contact with your head and hair do not allow them to breathe. They also are more likely to retain odors or bacteria. Use cotton pillowcases. Put a cotton towel on the headrest in your car. Wear cotton caps and headbands only, and wash them regularly, rinsing with a vinegar solution.
6. Oil Treatment
Treat yourself to a hot oil hair treatment. Massage coconut oil into your hair and scalp. Work the oil from your scalp outward. If you have long hair, do this carefully lest you tangle your hair. Cover your oiled hair with plastic wrap and a towel. If possible, leave this in overnight, otherwise an hour or two. When your remove the towel and plastic, wash your hair. You may need to shampoo twice. Coconut oil is a natural antifungal and antibiotic and is also nourishing to your hair and scalp.
Turmeric is a broad spectrum healing herb. It can be used internally to fight infection and purify the blood. Taking a dose of turmeric daily may relieve the underlying cause of your smelly scalp. Golden milk is one way to take turmeric that many tasty and effective.
What have you tried for Smelly Hair Syndrome? Continue reading to learn what natural cures our readers have used to cure their smelly hair.