Information about Scalp Odor

            Talk about a bad hair day; when something such as scalp odor exists, every day is a bad hair day for the person experiencing this unusual condition.  Few people are familiar with the malady which affects many, and little information is available on how to remedy it.

            Any type of body odor can be embarrassing to the individual and offensive to those around them.  For most people, body odor can be kept to a minimum simply through the normal daily ablutions.  Others, though, have distinct issues with odor; in some cases, exhibiting odors even as they step out of the shower where they scrubbed themselves profusely.  Unpleasant body smells are generally the result of secretions from the sweat glands.  The human body possesses two different types of sweat glands; eccrine glands and apocrine glands.  The eccrine glands are found over the majority of the skin surface, with their purpose being to cool off the body through perspiration, or sweat.  Sweat is composed of water and salt along with some electrolytes.  As it is secreted through the eccrine glands to the skin’s surface, it evaporates; a process that provides a cooling sensation when we are overheated through temperature or activities. 

            Apocrine glands are found in areas of the body where hair follicles are most profuse; in the groin, under the arms and on the scalp.  Odor is produced as an indirect result of the secretions of these glands.  Instead of salt and water, apocrine glands emit a fatty fluid into the tube like structure of the gland.  Stress will cause the glands to tense, squeezing the oily secretions onto the surface of the skin.  Bacteria, which are ever present on the skin, starts immediately to break down the composition of the apocrine gland sweat.  As it breaks down, odor is formed and becomes evident. 

            There could be medical reasons behind profuse sweating, which could cause excessive odors.  Low blood sugar or an overactive thyroid could be two culprits of the condition, which can be detected through medical testing.  When the odor becomes a concern, your first step should be to consult your physician, who can rule out any possible medical conditions through simple blood tests or urine tests. 

            In most cases, though, the odor is simply a matter of overproduction of oily secretions by the apocrine glands or an overabundance of bacteria on the scalp.  Fortunately, the condition can be managed in most instances.  A variety of over the counter products can be tried until one is found that will be effective in controlling the odor.  Some people have found success using an antibacterial soap or body wash that serves to limit the population of bacteria on the scalp. Others claim great relief using soap with a sulfur base that will kill fungus or bacteria.  Preparations that include salicylic acid are beneficial to most any type of scalp issue, and can inhibit bacterial populations on the scalp.  Herbal remedies are also quite helpful in many cases; lavender, tea tree, rosemary and mint formula shampoos are natural choices for scalp issues.  When over the counter remedies fail to bring a cessation of the smell, you may want to visit your doctor once again to see if a prescription shampoo may be helpful. 

            Some people have felt that the condition of scalp odor can also be attributed to a yeast imbalance in their system.  This can often occur if treatments of antibiotics have been recently or frequently prescribed.  There is no medical basis for this claim; however, many sufferers have made an association between treating Candida and the smelly scalp condition.

            Little information is available on this condition.  An important consideration is that a treatment that works well for one person may not have the same affect on another.  A course of trial and error may need to be performed before the ideal solution for your own condition can be found.


 

 


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