Skip to content


    Exciting News for WebMD Members!

    We've been busy behind the scenes building new message boards for you. You'll have new and easier ways to find messages, connect with others, and share your stories.

    And, this will all be available on your smartphone or other mobile device!

    What Do You Need to Do?

    The message board you're used to will be closing in the coming weeks. While many of your boards will be making the move to our new home, your posts will not. Want to keep a discussion going? Save posts you want to continue (this includes your member profile story), so that you can re-post them in the new message boards.

    Keep an eye here and on your email inbox, we'll be back in touch soon to give you all the information you need!

    Yours in health,
    WebMD Message Boards Management

    Why does my hair smell bad?
    PilotGuy1 posted:
    I've had this problem for about 4 years. I take a shower every morning and by the evening my hair smells terrible. It's so bad that both my mom and my girlfriend cringed as they smelled my hair. Sometimes I can still smell it after I take a shower, but it's not as prominent. I use the regular Head and Shoulders shampoo currently, but I've used different shampoos over those 4 years and I still had the smell. My hair also seems to get exceptionally greasy by the end of the day as well considering I know several people that shower everyother day and their hair doesn't get anywhere near as greasy as mine does, and their hair still smells like shampoo. This is really quite annoying because it makes me feel like I'm dirty even though I take a shower everyday.

    Does anyone know what might be causing my hair to smell bad after just a half a day?
    Annie_WebMD_Staff responded:
    Hi PilotGuy1,

    The oil on your scalp is combining with the sweat and bacteria and that's probably why your scalp smells bad after a day. Dirty hair really is a turn off and if your mom and girlfriend can smell your hair then so can other people too -- they just won't let you know like your mom and girlfriend do.

    Unfortunately many people with oily skin also have an oily scalp and have to wash their hair every day. I'm probably your mom's age and I have to wash my hair every day as I do have oily skin and that includes having any oily scalp.

    I would suggest washing your hair twice a day, the fastest way is to jump in the shower. Especially if you exercise or are involved in sports, extra cleansing is a must!

    Try avoiding conditioners and styling products that contain a lot of oil as you don't need it on your scalp.

    Take care!

    - Annie
    MSUphysicsFRIB responded:
    This might not work...but you could try a shampoo with a lot of fragrance added, such as Herbal Essences. As a matter of fact, Herbal Essences might help with your oily scalp problem, because it is very drying.

    Or, if you would prefer a "masculine" fragrance, you could try Axe "Just Clean" shampoo. It probably contains a ton fragrance, like all other Axe products. The whole point of Axe is that it's supposed to make guys not stink. I would give it a try.

    Do you shampoo twice while in the shower? You said your hair sometimes smells right after showering--you should repeat the shampoo step until the smell disappears completely. Who knows--shampooing 3 or 4 times might really help. The more times you repeat the shampoo step, the more oil you'll remove.

    One more thing...I think certain shampoos break down and leave a strange smell in hair. VO5 is one that makes hair smell gross, in my opinion. Perhaps the Head and Shoulders shampoo is making your hair stink.

    Aren't you only supposed to use Head and Shoulders a couple of times per week, or is that only for prescription-strength shampoos? My mom used to have a dandruff problem and she used Nizoral a couple of times per week. Perhaps you could use Axe shampoo daily, and then just use Nizoral a couple of times a week, at night.
    MSUphysicsFRIB replied to MSUphysicsFRIB's response:
    As a matter of fact... I should note that I made that comment about VO5 because my brother had a similar problem. His hair smelled bad when he used VO5...I was sort of mean and commented about it, but I thought he should know. When he switched to a different shampoo, his hair didn't stink anymore.

    It really might just be your shampoo.
    MidAtlanticgal responded:
    You might have a scalp fungus. Seriously, you can catch it from other people by using their comb or brush. It gets into your oil gland at the hair root and makes for a horrible smell. It is helpful to use a tar based shampoo (this is clean tar) and you can get them at most any drug store. Head and Shoulders is not very effective. I got this from my best friend in school even as she warned me not to use her brush. It's true.
    kelweb_ responded:
    When you are in the shower washing your hair, What you want to do is spend 3 minutes REALLY Washing your SCALP to get rid of the oil/bacteria build-up. Much like they do in the Salon, gently massage the soap into the scalp, paying attention to the WHOLE head. I If you do this every time you wash your hair, that smell will go away.

    I should know, I had the same problem... was washing my hair everyday, but by end of the day or after exercising, it smelled RIPE and was embarrassing. I noticed that after going to the salon, that my problem went away for a day or two. So, I put 2 and 2 together and started paying attention to washing my scalp along with my hair, and haven't had a problem since. Good Luck!
    April92346 responded:
    Did any of the methods offer help? I have the same problem. I wash twice and still have the same results.
    imnofool responded:
    first off------ i am not a doctor----- BUT there was 60 minutes show or dateline ( on one the tv networks about 8 years ago that had an expose on 2 people with a life ruining problem--------BAD ODOR---- the short of it is that both people went to numerous doctors even to the point of one doctor removing the sweat glands surgically of one of the 2 people. One of the 2 people did an INTERNET RESEARCH and came across a clinic in Colorado that specializes in a real disorder for a real disease for people with an unending odor problem no MATTER WHAT THEY DO TO GET RID OF IT! I was stunned but the BOTTOM LINE is TO AVOID CONSUMING ALL FISH AND DAIRY PRODUCTS-( I think except yogurt). Both people on the 60 minutes show(?) improved in just a couple of weeks. It turns out both had or developed a reaction to certain foods. There was a certain reaction in both of there gut areas (displayed via the MRI's shown on camera ) Again I am not a doctor. BUT THE INFO PROVIDED HERE says 1. DON"T GIVE UP AND QUESTION AND RESEARCH especially with the internet. Don't know something? CALL OR VISIT YOUR LOCAL LIBRARIAN. These people do research for you and are trained in getting ANSWERS! I have done this a number of times. GOOD LUCK TO YOU
    livelong123 responded:
    Maybe leaving your hair for a day without washing it might work. I know this seems weird, but it might work. Since you are washing your scalp everyday, your natural oils are being stripped. Head and Shoulders shampoo leaves your hair dry and is probably making your situation worse without you knowing it.
    rihannaroody responded:
    You can check out this good article to get some answers:

    Featuring Experts

    Mohiba K Tareen, MD is a board certified dermatologist who has an innovative practice in Roseville, Minnesota. Tareen Dermatology ( www.TareenDermato...More

    Helpful Tips

    New to Acne or is it even acne?
    I'm 19 years old. I have never had acne a day in my life. ever. ever ever ever ever. In the past month or less, I have developed small ... More
    Was this Helpful?
    0 of 0 found this helpful

    Related Drug Reviews

    • Drug Name User Reviews

    Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

    FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.