Help with scalp odor as it smell bad all the time

Posted by molawson88 @molawson88, Jun 26, 2022

For the past 6 months, my scalp has developed a bad hair odor. The smells occurs after my hair is dried. I used to wash my hair once a week but because of the smell, I wash my hair 2-3 times a week. I did go to the dermatologist and was prescribed Keketoconazole 2 % but it doesn’t work as the smell comes back. The doctor did an exam and there was no appearance of dandruff. I have washed my hair with Head & Shoulders, T/Gel, and Knot Today Clarifying Shampoos (as I have naturally curly hair) but nothing seems to work. I also thought it was my styling product so last week I just shampooed my hair and let it dry and the smell appeared after it dried.

This odor is taking an emotional and physical toll on me as I try to isolate myself from people because this problem makes myself and other people around me uncomfortable. People are always holding their noise and telling me I smell. If you have any ideas why this might be happening, please share!

Has anyone had anything similar and managed to get rid of it? It'd be good to hear from any specialists who can give me some ideas on how to eliminate this smell as it's starting to become a big issue now.

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Hi @molawson88, Welcome to Connect. I know that you mentioned you've tried a bunch of different shampoos and the dermatologist prescribed prescribed Keketoconazole 2 % (ketoconazole?). I read an article with some home remedies for smelly scalp which listed ketoconazole along with some other recommendations and also mentioned if the first one you try doesn't work to try another one.

What’s Causing My Scalp to Smell and How Do I Treat It?:

Did your dermatologist happen to mention if the Ketoconazole based shampoo doesn't work to try another one with a different active ingredient?


Hi @molawson88. I will keep reply short and sweet. I know the stress you are feeling and it really affects self esteem. I have recently started doing the following to greatly reduce my own situation. After washing my hair with my regular hair products, I towel dry the hair, and liberally spray my scalp with colloidal silver solution. Then I dry it using my regular products and a hairdryer. And hey presto! Greatly reduced scalp odour, even in the summer sun! I use a high stability high purity brand (not sure if I can mention the name here). It's in a blue bottle with a white spray top. Also, studies have documented that the yeast Malassezia is to blame for this odour as it feeds on sebum and oils on the scalp. But colloidal silver inhibits it extremely effectively. Hope you find this useful and can start enjoying your life again!


I wonder if there is something in your diet that is affecting your scalp? One article listed foods to avoid or moderate: red meat, garlic, broccoli/cauliflower, asparagus or if you are on a low carb diet. They suggest adding leafy vegetables. Track your diet for a couple of weeks–maybe there's a link if you have recently made changes.


molawson88, Menopause can definitely change your body's chemistry. Have you tried using baking soda in the palm of your hand mixed with your shampoo? How about a vinegar rinse in your hair with cool water after shampooing? Both of these help with odor. Just a suggestion. Praying for you. I know this is embarrassing for you and I am sorry you have this.


You need to see a dermatologist as soon as possible.


Hi Mo,
I am so sorry that you are having this problem. I have researched nonenal odor. I am not saying that is your particular problem. But, what I found might be helpful for you. Persimmon Extract (or tannin), is a potent antiseptic loaded with vitamins that has been used by the Japanese for its naturally purifying and deodorizing benefits. It naturally dissolves nonenal odor. As one ages, the skin’s antioxidant defenses start to weaken which can result in a funky type of odor.

I found a product that -in my experience – is very effective in eradicating that "old age" smell. I am not recommending for you to buy it but it certainly is worth checking out. Also, as others mentioned, a visit with your Primary Care dr and possible referral to a dermatologist may be a good idea. Best of luck to you!

Here are two links:

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