Smelly scalp? Worry not and use these 5 home remedies to get rid of it

Updated on: 21 January 2022, 13:26 pm IST

Smelly scalp can be a big turn off. These home remedies suggested by a dermatologist are all you need for fresh and fragrant tresses.

Aayushi Gupta
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smelly scalp and hair
You can make the stink go away! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Haircare can be quite a cumbersome task, especially during seasonal changes. Your hair may start to become dull, frizzy, dry and face issues such as hair fall and hair thinning. Or you can even experience a sticky and smelly scalp or hair.

Does your scalp emit a weird smell? Those of you who have smelly scalps know the cons of it, don’t you? Before you blame yourself for it, remember that it is the bacteria thriving on your scalp that’s to blame.

What’s more shocking is that some women are more prone to have a smelly scalp, thanks to the constant hormonal fluctuations in their bodies. But you have nothing to be worried about because it is a common condition.

When dead skin cells accumulate, they start falling off in the form of white flakes. This makes you want to scratch your scalp, and that eventually causes irritation. An irritated scalp is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria, and this gives rise to an unpleasant odour.

Apart from this, there are many reasons why your scalp and hair become smelly and sticky.

Here’s why your scalp is smelly and sticky

Smelly scalp is also known as seborrheic dermatitis as the sebaceous gland secretes oil. Bacteria and dead skin cells are often the main reasons behind smelly scalp. “Apart from this, smelly scalp can occur due to various reasons like sebaceous gland secreting oil, excessive sweating, under or over washing of hair with wrong products, fungal infection, hormonal imbalances and stress, psoriasis, and hair products,” says Dr Swati Mohan, senior consultant, Dermatology, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad.

Some other causes are:

  • Wearing a hat can also cause a smelly scalp as it allows bacteria to benefit from the sweaty situation.
  • Foods with strong odours like onion, garlic, curry, and cumin contain oils that can be excreted through the skin, including the skin on your scalp, thus causing a smelly scalp.
  • Pollution can cause a smelly scalp as when the pollutants in the environment settle on your scalp, it can make your hair smell.
  • The smelly scalp can also occur due to certain skin conditions.

Home remedies to treat smelly scalp:

1. DIY shikakai shampoo

Wondering if it is really helpful? Well, market shampoos are chemical-based which can wreak havoc on your scalp and hair health. So all you have to do is go the natural way. In such a situation, shikakai can be a true saviour. It will ensure your scalp stays clean and its anti-fungal properties will help you treat dandruff. In addition, it helps maintain the pH level of your scalp and keeps irritation at bay thus will improve your scalp health, removing the smell.

smelly scalp
Steer clear of chemicals with this natural shikakai shampoo! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Here’s how you can make it: Soak shikakai pods, reetha berries, amla, curry leaves, and hibiscus flower, in a bowl of water overnight. The next day, boil all the ingredients in water and then grind the ingredients. Now, use it as a shampoo, apply it to your scalp and along the length of your hair. Massage for 3 to 4 minutes before washing it thoroughly.

2. Tea tree oil

Essential oils such as tea tree oil can be used to reduce the smell of the scalp because it has powerful cleansing, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that aid in eliminating the bad smell. What’s more? It can also improve blood circulation in the scalp. Hence, tea tree oil will help you get rid of dandruff and scalp infections, ensuring a healthy hair grwoth. And that means you don’t have to deal with smelly scalp anymore.

Also, read: Smelly feet? These 10 tips will help you to get rid of the stink

3. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

ACV is the one ingredient that can transform your hair and scalp health. The alpha-hydroxy acid in ACV stimulates the cell turnover revealing a healthy scalp. Also, the natural anti-inflammatory properties can suit the scalp irritation and eliminate scalp smell.

Also, read: 3 DIY hair rinses for healthy scalp and shiny hair

4. Aloe vera

Aloe vera is a herbal magic for your hair woes. According to the Indian Journal of Dermatology, aloe vera is rich in vitamin A, C, E, B12 and packs a solid punch of minerals well. So the gel extracted from this plant helps in treating issues ranging from hair fall to smelly scalp. The proteolytic enzymes present in aloe vera are known to repair dead skin cells on the scalp, which can be a cause of the smell. Not just that, the gel acts as a great conditioner and can make your hair smooth and shiny.

smelly scalp
One single solution to all your hair problems! Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

5. Lemon juice

Another very good natural home remedy is using lemon juice as it has been shown to have antimicrobial qualities, which suggests that it could reduce some smell-generating bacteria lurking on your scalp. Being acidic in nature lemon juice can help balance the pH of the scalp, reducing the scalp and hair odour. Apart from this, lemon is loaded with vitamin C, magnesium, calcium, antioxidants, flavonoids which all can help to make hair stronger by strengthening the hair follicles, combat dandruff causing fungus, and fights scalp infections.

The last word

Do not waste your time in search of a market based product for your smelly scalp. Instead, go to our kitchen and find out these remedies and apply it to your scalp to eliminate the odour. Remember if your scalp skin is sensitive or dry, we would suggest you always do a patch try before applying any of these home remedies.

Aayushi Gupta Aayushi Gupta

Candid, outspoken, but prudent--Aayushi is exploring her place in media world.

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