Washing your hair every day: is it good or bad for your hair?

Is it true that hair falls out faster? Is it bad for the scalp? Does it get very smelly if we don’t clean it daily? Three dermatologists solve these and other dilemmas about whether using shampoo every morning is practical for our hair.

There have always been myths about washing hair. At one point, someone may have said to you “hey, don’t wash your hair too much, it will get greasy”, while another person must have said to you “wash it every day, otherwise your head is going to be very stinky”. Who is right?

Although everyone does their washing routine according to their lifestyle, the question of what is best and most practical for the hair is cross-cutting. Always wash it? Every other day? Once a week? Dermatologists and specialists respond to these dilemmas.

Scalp is not the same as hair

Before drawing conclusions, a few basic concepts must be clarified: the first thing is to establish that talking about the scalp is not the same as talking about hair.

“The scalp is part of the skin and is made up of hairy structures or hairs,” says Carla Muñoz, a child and adolescent dermatologist at Clínica Santa María. That’s why “the care we have to have with the scalp is more like what we have with the skin of the rest of the body. That is to say: avoid elements or products that irritate it, moisturize it in case of dryness, and try to prevent it from suffering from sun exposure in areas that are not covered by the hair”, such as the parts or parts where the hair has fallen

Neither too much nor too little: the main thing is to wash it just enough and necessary.

Hair, on the other hand, has a different structure. “It’s covered in keratin and also requires hydration, but with products that can penetrate that harder structure that covers it,” says Muñoz, also a member of the Chilean Society of Dermatology.

“The scalp and the hair are different, they have different structures”, adds Andrés Figueroa, dermatologist at the Clínica Universidad de los Andes. Why do we make this distinction? Because when you wash your hair, you also work on the scalp, and it is the characteristics of the latter that must be given priority during cleaning.

Know your scalp

There are scalps that are more sensitive, others that are drier and others that are oilier. “Each person has different levels of sebum production,” says Juanita Benedetto, head of the dermatology department at Clínica Alemana. “Very oily scalps require daily washing, in order to maintain the follicle and the hair fiber with more controlled sebum”, he analyzes.

Because when we talk about oily hair, what’s really happening is that “the scalp produces a lot of sebum, which then permeates the hair follicle and shows up in oily hair,” says Figueroa.

On its own, hair sebum plays a key role in hair. It’s your natural conditioner, it brings you softness and protects you from drying out. But when the body produces too much of it, it can turn into something more complex, like causing seborrheic dermatitis.

The most effective way to regulate this excess fat is washing. The ideal, as we explained in this other article, is to do it with silicone-free products, which “attract dirt by default; therefore, the hair gets dirty quickly,” hairstylist Carola Andrews explained.

Drier scalps, which produce less oil than normal to protect the hair – and therefore easily irritated or have more dandruff – need to be washed less frequently, and with gentler, more moisturizing products. “Daily washing makes them drier,” dermatologist Francisca Daza explained in another post about dry hair.

What happens when we wash our hair?

When washing the hair, not only do we remove dirt that may have accumulated there during the day – such as environmental pollution, smoke from a barbecue or chlorine from a swimming pool – but also “grease that coats and protects the hair is removed from the surface of the scalp,” says Muñoz.

If you do it too often – every day or even more than once a day – “you’re sending a message to the body that you’re low on sebum, so not only will the glands continue to produce it, but they’ll even in larger quantities. , so it can be even fatter”.

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On the contrary, if it is washed very rarely, “the scalp will accumulate fat, which can generate other inconveniences”, adds Muñoz, such as itching or bad smells.

Other factors that must be taken into consideration, in addition to the frequency of washing and our type of scalp, are the quality of the water or the type of products we use. It’s not the same to wash with a mild and moisturizing shampoo as with a very intense shampoo.

Is there the ideal frequency of hair washing?

As we have seen, each type of scalp requires different care. The same goes for lifestyles: if someone works in a restaurant, factory, or construction site, they’ll likely need to wash their hair more often than someone who telecommutes from home.

And there is also the comfort of each. Washing your hair not only prolongs the duration of the shower, but also requires proper drying, which not everyone has time to do every day. “Washing your hair is more of a cultural act than a biological act,” Figueroa thinks, “therefore the ideal frequency depends on what feels comfortable for each individual. There are people who feel good to wash once a week, while others have to wash once a day. If it does not bring consequences, it is perfect”.

But as a general recommendation, Muñoz suggests that I want the washing to be done every other day, this if there are no natural or external factors that make it too dirty. This is why Benedetto advises people with very oily hair “to apply a daily wash to keep the follicle and the hair fiber free of sebum. Others can do it every other day or even twice a week.

Now, these suggestions are by no means an imposition. “If someone prefers to wash their hair every three or four days, and it doesn’t create a bad smell or itch, that’s fine. On the contrary, if someone prefers to wash their hair every day, and does not experience irritation or increased gratitude, that is also ok,” he points out. “There is no hard and fast rule.”

What to do if you suffer from seborrheic dermatitis or psoriasis? “These patients usually need to wash daily, as specific products and other medications need to be applied to treat their condition,” he says.

For sports or the gym

Lifestyle, as we said, also causes cleaning routines to change. Either because of the type of work or occupation that people have, or because of their hobbies or sports activities. “Those who exercise intensely and cause their scalp to sweat may need more frequent washes, daily or every other day,” says Benedetto.

“Those who dip their hair in the pool daily, or bathe at the beach with the same frequency, will likely have more irritated hair and scalp. Therefore, they should use products that help prevent this damage, such as some moisturizers specifically for the scalp,” says Muñoz.

If washing your hair lifts your spirits and doesn’t hurt your scalp, no drama.

Among the product recommendations, Benedetto suggests using Gentle moisturizing shampoo, for daily use, with components such as wheat protein, which has moisturizing properties, or aloe vera, which has soothing properties.

It is good to moisturize the hair with special products, “in order to properly maintain this sheath which covers the hair shaft, and which will be damaged by these external factors, whether by chlorine, salt or solar radiation”, recommends Munoz. Of course, this is a process that doesn’t have to be done daily. “Maybe once every ten days,” he says.

Can hair fall out by washing it too often?

This question is very common, and many people believe that the answer is yes: that the hair falls out if you wash it every day. In fact, many patients come to Andrés Figueroa’s office at the Universidad de los Andes clinic with this doubt. But he always answers the same thing: it’s a myth. “You can wash it every day, or once a week, and the same amount of hair will fall out: no more, no less,” he says. Hair loss responds to genetic or pathological conditions, but “not to the number of washes per week”. So if you feel like you’re losing your hair fast, don’t blame the shower or the shampoo.

Source: Latercera

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