Why and How to Fix Your Scalp Smells Sour Like Cheese (18 Suggestions)

No matter how many times you wash your hair, there is always a sour smell in your head. If your scalp smells like sour like cheese, fish, wet dog, sour milk, or other disgusting things, you just get the smelly scalp syndrome. Some people may also have itchy/flaky scalp, redness, and dandruff. 

Why does your hair smell sour after washing so quickly? Some people complain that the scalp smells weird after 1 hour or even shorter. It is socially awkward to have smelly hair and scalp. Things will be worse if you put perfume on your hair. Your hair will be much more “smelly”.

There must be something wrong that causes sour-smelling scalp. If you have no idea why your scalp smells bad after showering in a short time, you can continue reading to find the answer. This article talks about the 10 most possible reasons to make your scalp smell sour. You can also get 8 treatments to get rid of bad scalp smell here.

10 Reasons Why Your Scalp Smells Sour 

Even though you wash your hair every day, the scalp still smells bad. What happens? You can find the top 10 causes of sour-smelling scalp here.

  • Poor Hygiene Habits

Poor hygiene is easy to understand. If you don’t wash your hair for some days, definitely your scalp and hair smell sour. Moreover, you should take a shower and wash your hair after the gym. especially when you have an oily scalp.

  • Overwashing Makes Your Scalp Produces More Oil

Washing too much can make your scalp greasier as well. The heavy detergent loads will not make your hair and scalp dry. It will produce more oil on your scalp. Well, it means you are at the risk of drying out your scalp, you are also easy to get less hair and sour smelly scalp.

  • Not Washing Your Scalp Completely

Remember to wash the entire scalp instead of some easy-to-access places. Use the pads of your finger to wash your scalp, not nails. Even though your scalp is itching, you should use gentle pressure. Every time you scratch your scalp when washing hair, the risk of your scalp getting inflamed and infected is high. It will cause fungus on the scalp easily.

  • Too Much Oil Production 

Additional oil production and irritation are too heavy for your scalp. Don’t use any hair conditioner, hair oil, and any other products on the scalp. Otherwise, you may get hair folliculitis, which makes your scalp produces too much oil and smells sour.

  • Let Your Hair Dry Naturally 

According to Dr. Tim Moore, the hair is half strong when it’s wet. If you don’t blow dry your hair quickly, the wet hair will damage your scalp. It is bad to leave your hair wet. You can see dandruff and get a bad smell on the scalp. By the way, it is bad for your health to sleep with hair and scalp wet.

  • Overuse of Silicones in Hair Products

Silicones-based hair products will provide your hair and scalp with a waterproof coating. Thus, your hair will be smooth. However, silicone is not a natural ingredient in hair products. To make your scalp less smelly, you can replace silicone-based hair products with silicone-free ones.

  • Stress and Hormonal Imbalances 

High levels of stress can cause hair loss, smelly scalp, and many other health problems. What’s more, you will also suffer from the natural production of hormones, which lead to oily scalp, receding hairline at 20s, and other healthy issues.

  • Wearing Hats and Head Coverings

If you wear hats all the time, you can smell a foul stench from your scalp and hair. Because wearing hats will create a warm and humid microclimate on your scalp. It is easy to make the scalp smells sour and itch. Moreover, wearing hats, helmets, headscarves, and others for long periods will cause hair loss as well.

  • Excessive Sweating 

If you sweat too much, and your hair and scalp are wet, you had better make it dry. Because sweaty scalp will cause sour-smelling, hair loss, and other problems. Your hair will look greasy suddenly.

  • Bad Diet 

A sour smelly scalp can be caused by a poor diet as well. Check if there is too much yeast in your daily nutrition. By the way, foods like onion, garlic, cumin, curry, and others with strong odors can be excreted through the skin, including your scalp. What’s more, if you always eat hamburgs, pizzas, and fried chicken instead of fruits and vegetables, you may suffer from nutritional deficiency diseases, like hair loss, smelly scalp, and more. 
scalp smells sour

8 Ways to End Up Bad Smelling on Your Scalp 

Many reasons cause scalp stinking or smelling. Then how to get rid of the sour smelly scalp and make your scalp smell good again? You can get the related solutions from the above symptoms. Meanwhile, you can try the following tips to remove the smell from the scalp

  • Change Hair Washing Frequency 

For oily hair and scalp, you may need to wash daily. As for normal and dry hair, you can wash your hair twice or third times a week. It depends on your hair type.

  • Wash Your Hair Carefully 

Take time to massage shampoo into your scalp for about 3 or 5 minutes. You can use silicone-free shampoo and hair products to make your scalp clean.

  • Wash Hair with Lukewarm Water 

Use lukewarm water to rinse and wash your hair. The suggested water temperature is around 100 Fahrenheit. Don’t use cold or hot water.

  • Rinse Hair to Fix Smelly Scalp

Rinse your hair thoroughly. But it is not recommended to wash hair with water only, especially when your scalp smells sour. 

Perform Apple Cider Vinegar hair rinse to deal with smelly and itchy scalp if necessary.

  • Don’t Over-Clean Your Scalp (Including Oily/Natural/Dry Hair)

Stop using scalp-drying ingredients containing sulfates and other cheap fillers. The drier your scalp is, the more oil production will be encouraged. Consequently, your scalp smells bad due to the growth of odor-causing microbial.

  • Remove Hair Product Buildup 

If you want to remove buildups of hair products, you can add a paste of baking soda and water to your wet scalp. Is it safe to use baking soda on your hair and scalp? You can click here to get more info.

  • Use Tea Tree Oil 

Mix a little tea tree oil into a cup of warm water or carrier oil. Then massage it on your scalp thoroughly. You need to leave the oil on the scalp for about half an hour. Then wash your hair and scalp with mild shampoo as usual. It is recommended to do it once a week to prevent itchy and stinky scalp.

  • See A Doctor

If you have a really heavy smell on your body and scalp, then you should go to the doctor as soon as possible. There might be something worse behind the bad smell.
why your scalp smells sour

FAQs of Smelly Scalp 

A healthy scalp matters a lot. You can use the above tips and tricks to combat a smelly scalp. Hope this article can help you get rid of sour smelly scalp and hair after washing. If you have any other questions, you can feel free to contact me.

What shampoo to use for smelly scalp?

You can use clarifying shampoos with gentle formula for stinky scalps. It is a good idea to choose shampoos with natural ingredients, such as apple cider vinegar, tea oil, etc. As for people in hot summer, you can choose cooling shampoos.

What does scalp fungus smell like?

It is an unpleasant smell that similar to sour milk, stinky cheese, sulfur, and other kinds of odors.

Is it okay if my scalp smell sweet?

No. Check if you use any hair products with sweetly scenting. Because the build-up of hair oils may make your scalp smell sweet. Actually, the body and scalp odor can smell differently on different people, including sour, sweet, onions, etc.  

A healthy scalp matters a lot. You can use the above tips and tricks to combat a smelly scalp. Hope this article can help you get rid of sour smelly scalp and hair after washing. If you have any other questions, you can feel free to contact me.

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