Can Not Washing Your Hair Make You Sick?


Most people know that washing hair regularly is the foundation of healthy hair care. It helps to remove dirt, debris, excess oils, and even bacteria, all of which could negatively impact both the hair and scalp. But what could happen if you don’t wash your hair? Could it make you sick? That’s what we’ll address in this article. We’ll also address how often you should wash your hair. 

Not Washing Your Hair Won’t Usually Make You Sick

If you’re worried that not washing your hair for an extended time will make you sick, relax. There’s no need to worry about this. Thankfully, not washing your hair won’t make you sick in a general sense. Hair hygiene issues and complications are generally limited to your scalp and hair.

The Problem with Not Washing Your Hair 

If you stopped washing your hair right now, it wouldn’t be good for your hair or scalp. Our hair thrives most when it’s washed as needed - whenever your scalp and hair show signs of excessive oils, dirt, or other forms of debris. Failing to remove these substances from your hair and scalp could lead to the following issues:

  • A persistent itch - There are few things worse than an itchy scalp that won’t go away. You may slather your scalp in anti-itch creams and try other remedies, but as long as your hair remains unwashed, the itch will continue. If you scratch your scalp too hard and create an open wound, you invite the bacteria on your scalp to enter your system. It’s like opening the door for bacteria to take root and cause an infection.

  • Greasiness - One of the main reasons why we wash our hair is to remove excess oils. If you’re not doing that on a regular basis, you’ll find that your oils build up and create an oil slick, making your hair greasy and harder to manage and style.

  • Ingrown hairs - Ingrown hairs on your scalp are uncommon, but healthcare professionals have seen them on the scalp occasionally. Excessive buildup inside your hair follicles (from not washing your hair regularly) increases your risk of developing painful ingrown hairs.

  • Folliculitis - Folliculitis is a hair follicle infection caused by bacteria. Not washing your hair means that your hair follicles will eventually get clogged. When that happens, your chances of developing folliculitis increase. The main symptoms of folliculitis include scalp inflammation, bumps with fluid inside them, and more. The condition should go away within a few weeks but could last longer if you don’t start washing your hair again. Prolonged folliculitis could lead to hair loss.

What To Do If You Get a Scalp Infection

If you get a scalp infection, the best thing to do is see a healthcare professional - your primary care physician or a dermatologist. Either professional can examine your situation and provide care to get your scalp to a better state. Though doctors are often inclined to treat the infection with medication, there are instances when they use a wait-and-see approach to allow the body a chance to fight it off.

So, there you have it - not washing your hair doesn’t usually make you sick. But it can increase your risk of scalp infections, which have the potential to be bothersome. So, it’s best to wash your hair whenever necessary, whether every other day or once a week.

Before you go, we encourage you to check out Daily Dose, a lightweight spray leave-in that’s changing countless people’s hair for the better. We hope you found all the information you were looking for, and we wish you the best with your hair now and in the future.


Author: Andrea Reyes

Andrea is a mother, wife, writer, and natural hair enthusiast of 15 years. Currently on her natural hair journey, she’s been trying countless products and techniques to understand and embrace her natural hair. She is the creator of, a new website featuring informative articles that share tips, tricks, and techniques aimed to help others learn to love their hair through proper hair care. She writes with the hope of making hair care easier to understand and implement.


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