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How often should I shampoo my hair?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

The unwanted material that regularly collects on scalp hair can be termed hair soil. Hair soil generally consists of three types of material: airborne debris such dust and gases, hair products such as styling gels and hair spray, and naturally occurring biological materials such as oils and dandruff. The extent to which hair soil builds up depends on a number of factors including geographical location, time of year, activity level, and occupation. As a result, the frequency with which one cleans his or her hair varies. Some people may find that shampooing every two or three days is sufficient to ensure clean hair and scalp. Others may find that shampooing on a daily basis is necessary. Hair cleansing is a matter of hygiene and cosmetic utility and should be undertaken on a regular basis.

"There is no right frequency for hair washing," Amy McMichael, MD, chair of the Department of Dermatology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC, told us. "If your hair has a tendency to be oily, washing may need to be as frequent as daily. But this may change in the winter when humidity is low and hair washing can be more like every other day or less frequently. What is important is to cleanse the scalp at least weekly in most cases. This will allow the scalp and hair to be cleansed of the dirt and sebum that attaches itself to the hair follicles through the week. For some women with very kinky or curly hair, hair washing frequency may be as low as every other week."

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

You should wash your hair as often as it needs it—and that is different for everyone. If your hair is straight and oily, you probably need to wash it every day. If your hair is curly and dry, you may need to wash it just once a week. You should also wash your have after exercise if you get sweaty.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.