The ideal number of times the hair should be washed differs from person to person. But, generally, washing the hair everyday is not recommended; it is even thought to be harmful, according to dermatologists. So, how often should we wash our hair?!
The answer to the million dollar question is based on the anatomy of the hair. You must have noticed how your hair might tend to get greasy after some time, right? You must have also observed how some people’s hair gets greasier than others? This is the result of the release of an oily substance known as sebum from glands – sebaceous glands – found in the skin. Sebum is meant to moisten the hair, protecting it from drying out.
The following depicts the hair inside the skin and the position of the sebaceous glands together with the channels leading to the hair follicle:-
Anatomy of a hair
The sebaceous glands are located in close proximity with the hair roots – both are situated in the skin layer known as dermis. Sebaceous glands have channels leading to the hair follicle such that the sebum reaches out of the skin and onto the scalp. The more sebum released, the greasier the hair gets, and hence the need to wash it is felt more and more.
The amount of sebum produced by the glands is different from person to person. Many factors, including genetics and hormones, govern the quantity of sebum release. Age also has a certain impact: for instance, puberty comes with an unprecedented increase in hormones that also affects sebum production; hence why teenagers tend to have greasy hair in the early years.
Now, how does someone know how regularly he should wash his hair? Surely not everyday. Washing the hair too much would only dry out the scalp, triggering more oil production.
Rather, one should keep certain factors in mind:
1. Skin type
Normal skin and hair (not too oily and not too dry) would require washing once or twice per week, as suggested by researchers from Columbia University.
Greasy hair would need a more regular washing.
2. Hair texture
Texture affects how sebum is spread throughout the hair (from the roots to the hair shafts). Coarse and curly hair slows down the spread of sebum. Shampooing once a week would be enough for this hair type.
Straight and fine hair would, on the other hand, necessitate shampooing twice a week or more.
If one’s hair is processed or, if it is damaged by styling, it should be washed less often.