When did everyone stop scrubbing their scalp?

If you haven’t noticed, skipping a shampoo sesh (or five) has become the norm. Why not reach for that dry shampoo or throw your locks in a sock bun in the morning to catch some extra z’s? When did dirty hair become socially acceptable?

I admit – I’m guilty of skipping the suds. I usually give it a good scrub every two-to-three days.

So, how healthy can it be to not scrub your scalp on a regular basis? I asked Trevor Thompson, MD, a dermatologist at the Banner Health Center in Peoria.  He said if you’re piling on products and not cleaning regularly the scalp can become imbalanced.

“People with an oily scalp and hair will need to shampoo thoroughly more than those who have dry scalps. This can vary for each person based on activities and also seasonally,” Dr. Thompson explained. “If you are noticing a trend toward increased itching, flaking, dandruff and inflammation, you need to start shampooing more often.”

There are several tips and rules to use when washing your hair, according to Dr. Thompson:

  • Listen to your scalp! Ultimately, it’s up to you how often you shampoo. But if you’re feeling sensitive, itchy or seeing shedding, it’s time for a wash.
  • Look into using the correct shampoo for your scalp and hair type. Are you greasy, normal or dry? Learning to use the right product can help you with irritation.
  • Brush your hair at night. The bristles help to move your natural oils out of the root area and through the hair shaft.
  • Learning how to clean your hair is more important than the frequency. Suds up the scalp to remove dirt and oils. If you stick to washing the ends of your hair you are at risk of drying them out.
  • Powder or dry shampoo should not replace shampoo all together.

Essentially, there doesn’t seem to be a correct answer to how often one should wash their hair. If you can go five days without touching it and your hair looks glossier than ever – then hit the snooze button one more time in the morning and laugh at the rest of us who have to do the job daily.

And don’t forget to adjust shampoo frequency based on your experience: use your head for cleaning your head.

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