Caitlin Flynn
December 13, 2016 3:13 pm

We’ve all been there — life gets hectic and, as much as we value cleanliness, we suddenly realize that we haven’t washed our hair in a few days. The greasy look admittedly isn’t our favorite — but if you’ve also experienced scalp pain after a few missed washes, there’s a scientific reason for why your hair hurts when you don’t wash it for a few days, and Glamour has the info.

Joshua Zeichner, a New York City-based dermatologist, told Glamour that the oil produced by your scalp accumulates around your hair shaft, and can cause the overgrowth of yeast on your scalp, causing inflammation and all the fun side effects like redness, itchiness, and scaliness.


When many of us know that our hair looks, uh, a little less than pristine, we tend to put our locks in a casual updo, ponytail, or messy bun — and that can cause additional discomfort.


So, what’s the solution to this uncomfortable, greasy dilemma? Wait for it… we need to wash our hair more often. If you experience scalp pain due to greasiness, Zeichner recommends trying antifungal drugstore shampoos, like Nizoral 1 percent shampoo. Furthermore, a tar extract-based shampoo like Neutrogena T-Gel, can help reduce inflammation.

This means we shouldn’t leave them on our scalps for too long — after applying and lathering for the length of time that it takes to sing the alphabet, rinse them off and wash your hair with your regular shampoo.

If your scalp pain persists despite your vigilant hair washing routine, it’s time to see a dermatologist — you may have a scalp condition that’s unrelated to how often you wash your hair.

But, for most of us, it’ll probably be enough to carve 20 extra minutes out of our day to give our hair a thorough wash — even if the time commitment means missing a rerun of our favorite Seinfeld or Friends episode.