Sebaceous glands are with us from the moment we are born, even earlier because they develop in the womb in about the fourth month of the fetus’ life. They are found almost everywhere on our bodies, except palms and soles, but their majority are on the face and scalp. They are a natural excretion that in part keeps the hair follicles and skin hydrated, while excess needs to be removed. For this we’ve invented soaps and shampoos. But how often should you wash your hair and still maintain a healthy balance between cleanliness and the body’s natural maintenance?
Without sebum, the skin can become dry and shed prematurely, leaving thriving cells exposed to damaging environmental elements. Sebum moisturizes and waterproofs the skin and hair, but in excess it can make us feel greasy and dirty and, at least in modern Western culture, it is frowned upon not to have regular bathing sessions. Unusually, our bathing routines involve depleting the skin and hair of their natural oils, through the use of soaps and shampoos, while replenishing them afterwards with conditioners and moisturizers. Yet leaving the hair unwashed until it becomes greasy is not only unbecoming and uncomfortable, but it can lead to health issues, like acne and other allergic reactions.
So how often should you wash your hair, anyway? Well, after years of research and brainstorming, scientists have reached the conclusion that it is up to your own personal preference. Scientists and specialists themselves disagree on the frequency with which you should use shampoos and conditioners, with some advocating that shampooing itself is damaging in that it promotes the secretion of too much sebum and others claiming that shampooing is necessary to prevent sebum from collecting in the pores and thus leading to skin and scalp problems.
Shampooing at home on a daily basis is a rather novel concept, because in the 1950s most women chose to have their hair washed at their weekly visit at the hairdresser. It is reported that this habit is making a comeback with more and more women washing their hair at the hair salon visit once a week. How often should you wash your hair? Well a certain fact is that washing it daily or even five times a week can weaken and deplete the hair of its natural oils, causing it to fall when it shouldn’t. You should also avoid shampoos that use harsh chemicals, like dandruff shampoo, unless a specialist advises it.