Common causes of smelly hair and how to deal with them effectively

Our lives would have been so much easier and simpler to lead had problems like bad hair days or smelly scalp didn’t exist. But what is life without problems anyway? Almost every person is struggling with some kind of issue related to their skin and hair. Hair issues have become pretty common nowadays, and that has little or more to do with our lifestyle choices, environmental aggressors, hair care habits, and a bunch of other factors. While some hair woes like damaged tresses, lifeless locks, or dry mane are some of the most talked-about issues, some hair issues like smelly scalp often go unnoticed and least discussed, which gives people dealing with this issue a hard time when it comes to finding the causes and solutions for this problem.

Having a smelly scalp is not only an annoying feeling, but it can also cause you some embarrassment. Failing to wash your hair regularly is one of the root causes of a smelly scalp, but there’s so much more to this problem. Ahead, we have listed 5 major causes of smelly hair along with some useful tips to deal with this issue effectively.


Failing to wash your hair regularly

Like we mentioned earlier, not washing your hair regularly is one of the root causes of smelly hair. Ideally, one should wash their hair at least twice a week, but if you happen to have an oily scalp or fine hair, then you should wash your hair once every two days to get rid of dirt, oil, and sweat build-up from the scalp. People with fine hair or oily scalp are more prone to having smelly hair, and that’s because the good bacteria on the scalp starts to feast on the build-up, resulting in its breakdown, which in turn, leads to the yucky smell. Therefore, you should wash your hair regularly without fail using a sulfate-free shampoo.


You sweat excessively

Sweating is another root cause of smelly hair, and this is mostly experienced by those people who work out regularly. The work out leads to excessive sweating, and it gets accumulated on the scalp, especially if your hair is tied up. This results in the build-up in that particular area, which is not only followed by stench but itchiness and discomfort as well. You can avoid these issues in the first place by not tying your hair in tight hairstyles and only using a satin scrunchie to tie your hair. Additionally, you can spritz some dry shampoo throughout your hair to remove grease from your scalp once you’re doing working out.


You might be dealing with some skin problem

Some skin conditions like dermatitis, psoriasis, dandruff, fungal infection, seborrheic, etc. could also be responsible for making your hair smell bad. Such skin conditions make your hair the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, resulting in irritation combined with a stinky scalp. Aside from washing your hair with an anti-dandruff and clarifying shampoo, you should visit your dermat. Leaving these skin conditions untreated will only cause more problems.


Imbalanced hormonal levels

Stress can never be good for anyone; it affects the person in more ways than one. If you have been experiencing a lot of stress lately, it could be the reason your hair is stinky. High-stress levels can cause your hormones to fluctuate, leading to hormonal imbalance. This, in turn, leads to the overproduction of oil on the scalp, causing it to smell awful. Indulging in stress-management and physical activities will help in keeping stress and hormones under control.



Pollutants are also one of the main culprits of smell hair. These pollutants in the environment get accumulated on the scalp, resulting in a build-up, which then gets mixed with sebum, sweat, and bacteria, leading to a stinky scalp. The best way to protect your hair from pollutants is by covering your head with a scarf or hat before stepping out of the house.

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