Avatar universal

smelly scalp odour

Hello There!
I have had a smelly scalp for a few years now and i wandered if anyone else also suffered from this. I wash my hair every other day but after the first day my scalp starts to smell. Iv used Sulphar Soap as this was apparently supposed to kill the fungus which thrives on the scalp but it hasn't worked. I used it for 3 weeks followed by Dial Antibacterial Bodywash as suggested on the smellscalp.com website. Iv even tried Tea tree shampoo but that doesn't work either..any other suggestions or a cure???

33 Responses
Avatar universal

Stress or hormonal changes may lead to excess oil produced by the oil glands in your scalp. This causes the harmless bacteria that live in the scalp to proliferate and feed off the oil, which produces the odor. If oil-reducing agents like sulfur, zinc, or tar does not help, i recommend that you see your dermatologist for proper evaluation and  who can prescribe a stronger topical treatment.  

Take care and keep us posted.
Try to avoid refined sugars and replace them with alternatives like honey or agave syrup (don't eat too much of them either) - this will resolve the problem. Meat and milk also influence body odor.
Avatar universal
Hello again.

As the waiting list for the dermatologist is 3 months long,i thought id take matters into my own hands and try and sort out my scalp. Im assuming i have a fungal infection of the scalp and so have started to use Nizoral shampoo. The reason for this is because it contains Ketoconazole which is a treatment used to treat this fungus. Anyway iv been using it as per the instructions on the bottle and touch wood so far my scalp does not smell like it did!!! Normally i would have had to wash my hair every day as the smell got overbearing but i waited for 3 days before i washed my hair this time!!!! Im going to use the shampoo for 3-4 weeks every 3-4 days and then reduce down to once a week. Im hoping this does the trick.
I cannot believe how long i will have to wait for the dermatologist.....i'm hoping my way works in the meantime.
Avatar universal
I've had this problem for the past year... it is so frustrating! I've tried Selsun, H&S and Giovanna Tea Tree shampoo and conditioner with no luck.

However, in the past few days I've been trying Tersaseptic (http://www.stiefel.ca/tersaseptic.php?lang=1) and it seems to be working well!!! I highly recommend trying it.

Good luck with this.
Avatar universal
thought id tell u about my success with Jason Dandruff shampoo....i have had a smell free scalp for 3 weeks!!!!! I dont have to wash my hair for 3 days now and still no smell. It does get greasy if i leave it that long mind. It has neem oil which is like an antiseptic i guess) and tea tree and other things. The best thing ever so if the tersaseptic has not worked try this. It also leaves my hair smelling great :o)
Avatar universal
hi jojo......hope u see this message. Iv started taking yeast defense tablets...2 in a morning and 2 at night...i believe its the yeast that causes the smell thats why the scalp smells yeasty. Iv also tried jason dandruff which isn't a cure but does keep my scalp odour at bay....but if i stop using it the smell comes back. I havent had to use the jason dandruff shampoo now for a week as taking these tablets and using normal shampoo (thank God) seems to have solved the smell. Its early days so im still keeping the jason shampoo just incase it stops working lol. Iv posted a link to a scalp forum wher i found out about jason dandruff and now these yeast defense tablets


kindest regards
Avatar universal
I had smelly scalp also, so I tried the Jason dandruff shampoo, it's like a miracle, no stinky scalp! I alternate with my regular shampoo. So far so good. By the way my doc had me on anti-fungal pills and shampoo neither worked. I definately like the no drug alternative.I'll keep you posted.
Avatar universal
My husband's head and scalp have really started to stink.  It smells like a boy's stinky head when they go through puberty and they really need to shower.  He says he scrubs his hair when he showers, but it doesn't seem to help at all.  His pillows smell horrible too.  It nearly makes me sick at night, and these are new pillows.  I replaced the old ones thinking that they were just old and the cause of the smell.  This is very serious.  I can smell him in the wind even if he's 6 feet away from me.  The strangest thing is, he doesn't smell it, and I don't want to hurt his feelings when I mention a cure for his awful stinky head.  Please help!!
He may have a candida or yeast problem. Try and experiment with reducing sugar and carbs in the diet to start. Yeast thrives off of the sugars and proliferate and the bacteria that exists on your scalp increase and create the odor. I have been reading up on this as my daughter and husband both struggle with scalp issues... We recently tried an apple cider, lemon and cool water rinse that we made, which you leave on your scalp and hair for 30 mins (be careful not to get it in your eyes!). We are also trying T-gel shampoo. I have read several times that Dial Antibacterial Liquid Body Wash is extremely helpful. My daughter has extremely  thick hair and would often leave it wet to air dry. This combined with having a sweet tooth, I believe set her up for a candida problem.  We are taking probiotics to restore the healthy gut bacteria and I am also going to look into a candida supplement treatment. Good luck with your husband. I am very sensitive to smells too and I can understand that you don't want to hurt his feelings, but that it would effect you and not be pleasant!
Avatar universal
I had a horrible problem with my scalp smelling yeasty, cheesy, just awful, right after I washed it. I found a solution that is a miracle. I bought Head and Shoulders Citrus Breeze shampoo, applied it to my scalp only, before I shampooed, on a dry head. I left it on my scalp for ten minutes, wet my hair and washed it with the shampoo already on my scalp, rinsed, and washed my hair two more times, scrubbing thoroughly. For the first time in forever, my scalp smelled so fresh when I dried my hair and on the second day after washing, NO SMELLY SCALP. I now wash my hair every other day with Head and Shoulders, applying my favorite conditioner only on the bottom half of my hair, leaving it off of my scalp,  and it always smells fresh.
Avatar universal
You might tell him he has flakes in his hair and get the Jason Dandruff shampoo for him. I would already have it on hand to give to him so he doesn't go get another dandruff shampoo that won't have an impact for smelly scalp. Jason seems to be the most effective from what I've read on different forums. It seems to be working for me. I'm pretty sure it can only be found at health food stores and online.

I'm thinking he would be much less offended being told he has dandruff than being told his scalp is smelly.

Tell him to leave it in for 2-3 minutes as the label says. Hope this helps.
1476762 tn?1287221495
on 10/16/2010 After 3 years looking and trying everything and do de most grazy things in my hair. I'll found IT i'm sure everybody will be happy. I Buy at the Aldy supermarket very 3,99 euro's Kyrell Hair care Caffeine Tonic with Activators Caffeine & Procapil In one day my hair did not smell any more. Even if i wash after 5 days. I new that one day i'll find something because i'll never stop to find something for this horror smelly problem. I'll hope the factory do something with my information. Good luck everybody. With love Geraldina

1476762 tn?1287221495

on 10/16/2010 After 3 years looking and trying everything and do de most grazy things in my hair. I'll found IT i'm sure everybody will be happy. I Buy at the Aldy supermarket very 3,99 euro's Kyrell Hair care Caffeine Tonic with Activators Caffeine & Procapil In one day my hair did not smell any more. Even if i wash after 5 days. I new that one day i'll find something because i'll never stop to find something for this horror smelly problem. I'll hope the factory do something with my information. Good luck everybody. With love Geraldina

Avatar universal
I had same problem, and a friend suggested i rinse my scalp with salt water and leave over night, i then used t tree shampoo following morning and am repeating procedure daily for a while, 2 days in and hair smells fine. Hope this helps.
Avatar universal
People have weak immune-system and pick up this contageous fungus
bacteria in salons,etc.Thats what happened to me,lady 48. Look on internet
for HONEY+CINNAMON recipe.12 cups of this recipe:Boil one cup of water
add half teasp. cinnamon,let steep for 30 min,add 1 teasp.honey.Dowse
hair with the above,cover with plastic wrap+towel,leave on for few hours and
wash off. Honey+cinnamon kills bacteria+fungus.VERY IMPORTANT:Start
treating you immune-system,your insides(stomache),eat as much garlic
as possible,onions,cabbage,pumpkin(fungus hates this)The internal Hitch-hikers in your stomache steal all nutrients from you to grow and leave your
body with nothing. You can kill them by eating right.They hate garlic,onions,cabbage,pumpkin etc.Your healthy bacteria will increase in
your stomache (healthy flora) and just remember that candida,yeast and
fungus thrive on white sugar,white meal,oily foods etc. Thats THEIR food.
Feed them the foods they hate,and they die.This all takes time,but it
can be done. Just keep on eating right.God bless.
Avatar universal
Referring back to my previous mail:ALSO: DRINK daily HONEY+CINNAMON broth.
It kills the fungus +Bad bacteria in your system(stomach).And make soups and
drink them for quite a while,as long as you can manage of GARLIC,ONION,CABBAGE,
PUMPKIN....just read on the internet what else candida/yeast/fungus hate.
Avatar universal
I'd had this condition for well over 6 years.  It is from mercury fillings aka silver fillings.  I had 14 of them replaced in 2005 and still suffer with the odor.  I now realize that it  takes a long time to get mercury out of the brain.
Avatar universal
Hi,am John ,I ve had smelly scalp for three years and have tried different shampoos and fungal drugs but it doesnt work. I ve use injections too. Pls What do I do or use to stop this bad smell. My email- iortyer_john***@****. Pls help.
1772568 tn?1314128786
best remedy and natural for itchy scalp is apple cider vinegar mixed with half water and vinegar in a spray bottle about 2 o/z size spray all over your scalp leave on for half hour shampoo and condition twice a week till all is well.
Avatar universal
Hello,  i've also had smelly scalp for years! and i have been very frustrated and embarrassed when being out in public during a hot day or a crowded room with smelly scalp.  What i did was mix baking soda with water just to get a thick mix and messaging it all throughout my hair.  I would let it sit for about 1 - 2 hours then take a shower/rinse WITHOUT shampoo.  since then i've been taking showers without using shampoo and my scalp has been odor free!  it doesn't condition your hair and will leave your hair feeling dry but it is something i can sacrifice to not have a smelly scalp.  I frequently will continue to use the baking soda and water to keep my scalp clean but have not done it in a while.  give it a try and see if it also works for you.  i know how frustrating it is and want to share my experience that does not call for you to see a useless dermatologist nor buy sulfur soap or prescription shampoo that i have also tried.  please let me know if this helps.
Avatar universal
I have suffered with smelly scalp for 4 years and have tried most things but have not as yet found a cure, however, I have found that using Batiste Dry Shampoo makes my hair smell considerably less. I still have to wash my hair everyday but use the dry shampoo also as per insructiions. This helps when you are out and about and unable to wash your hair  Hope this is of some help.
Avatar universal
i used to wash and condition my hair...then put a scarf on my head to let it dry.  i used a scarf to help keep my hair straight so i would need to blow dry.  BUT covering my hair while it was still wet, caused it to smell sour.  So i stopped covering my hair and let it air dry...after 2-3 times the sour smell went away and i haven't had a problem since.  
Avatar universal
Hello. Which kind of Jason dandruff shampoo will I choose to get rid of smelly scalp? There's a lot of variants to choose from, can you tell the specific one? Thank you!
Avatar universal
I know this is so easy and simple to cure: you are what you eat. Eat 8 Fresh servings of vegatables everday and the itching and smell will go away. Guaranteed. Do it just to prove me wrong, in 14 days you'll look 5 years younger, breathe better, smell better and have your natural IQ back. Don't cheat with cooking, adding butter or ranch dressing and frozen food. No, go to the produce section of your grocery store, pick out your 8 for the next few days and eat like a bunny. If you're worried about the price of organics, just buy the standard varieties, not organic. All the same pestisides and GMO's are already in all of the regular crap you normally eat. So don't use that as an excuse. You should be able to get 24 servings of veggies that will last 3 days for under $20 in any city in the US.
Avatar universal
They're probably talking about this one. This and sulphur soap from sulphursoap.com seems to work for some people. Please see my post on the forum for what worked for me.

Avatar universal
There was another forum that had a lot of posters but it seems like the web site that hosted it is down now: thebeautybrains.com

A lot of people swore that candida overgrowth was the cause. A lot of people say its a scam, it may be, but a lot of the things you read about that cure candida also strengthen your immune system:
plenty of vegetables
cut down or eliminate sugar....

The SMELL WENT AWAY with doing all this while I was still using Ketoconazole 2% shampoo plus a drop of tea tree oil, I would leave it on for a few minutes every day, then rinse my hair. I ran out of both and used Pure and Basic Clarifying Shampoo that contains Apple Cider Vinegar. You probably have to order it off the internet, I've only been able to find it in one store.

I lather up well, rinse, then, lather up really well rubbing my fingers against my entire scalp, not missing any parts. This gets the sebum and other stuff off the scalp. I've been using this shampoo for half a year and it seems like either it or my diet has made the smell go away. Even afterwards I think it was on my face so I really started to wash my face with a lot of scrubbing and pressure to get the oils off of it. The smell is gone from my face too.

My best advice is to:

1. take probiotics
2. use omega 3s like flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts or fish oil
3. cut down or eliminate sugar
4. eat whole grains and vegetables and fruits
5. wash scalp vigorously with shampoo that has ACV, don't use fingernails, only fingertips

This is probably caused by a yeast or fungus that goes out of control when your immune system isn't working well. So scrubbing well to get it off your skin and doing all you can to strengthen your immune system seems like the best way to get rid of it.

I know I rambled but I've read a lot and thought a lot about this problem. I hope this helps. Please email me if you have any questions. Here is a candida website if you're interested, please do research on safety of any herb you decide to take.

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