Dr. Joel Schlessinger explains why your hair smells like wet dog.
Hair has a pleasant fragrance naturally, but every once in a while it can be downright smelly. Recently, Dr. Joel Schlessinger spoke with Scary Symptoms in an article titled “Does Your Hair Smell Like a Wet Dog?” to discuss this change in scent.
Regular washes may not eliminate the cause of smelly hair, says Joel Schlessinger MD.
Hair glands secrete sebum, an oily substance that is beneficial for hair. These natural oils tend to have a sweet scent that gives hair a pleasing fragrance. If hair stops smelling sweet and starts to smell foul, Dr. Schlessinger says this is due to the presence of bacteria or fungus in the scalp.
“Regular shampoos can do quite a bit to calm frizzy hair, preserve luster or clean off oils,” explains Dr. Schlessinger, “but the last thing (and perhaps the ‘never’ thing) they do is to deep clean bacteria and other organisms.” Typically, an infection on the body is treated with antibiotics but this does not rid hair of odor. Dr. Schlessinger explains, “The scalp and hair remain incredibly resistant to antibiotics, as the hair can act as a reservoir for these organisms.” If you have been diagnosed with a bacterial infection or fungus, you may have to seek a special treatment to cure smelly hair.
Dr. Joel Schlessinger recommends shampoos that contain sulfur or bleach.
“It is perfectly possible to wash hair thoroughly and miss the main thing in a situation of ‘smelly hair’ – the bacteria!” says Dr. Schlessinger. To solve this smelly hair problem, Dr. Schlessinger suggests switching your regular shampoo for one that will address the odor-causing bacteria. Shampoos containing sulfur usually do the trick and can be found over the counter in drugstores. Dr. Schlessinger also recommends CLn Shampoo to clean and disinfect the scalp
If washing with a sulfur or bleach shampoo does not rid your hair of its odor, you should see your dermatologist to investigate the cause of the smell. “In the worst of cases,” explains Dr. Schlessinger, “it may be worth considering Botox injections into the scalp area.”
Do you have questions for Dr. Schlessinger about smelly hair? Ask in the comment section below.