Health Advice



Mayo Clinic Minute: How often should you wash your hair?

Deb Balzer, Mayo Clinic News Network on

Published in Health & Fitness

To shampoo or not to shampoo? That might be your question each time you head into the shower. Dr. Dawn Davis, a Mayo Clinic dermatologist, says, when it comes to the scalp and the hair, there's a new trend online where shampooing less is preferred. Here's what she would like you to consider when it comes time to washing your hair.

In the shower, you may be rinsing off the day's stresses. But when it comes to washing your hair, how often should you lather up?

Wash your hair and scalp

"We oftentimes think about shampooing as being beneficial for the hair. But we forget that we also have to address the scalp as well," says Dr. Davis.

She says if you don't regularly shampoo your hair, it's difficult for your scalp to get cleaned.

"And that can lead to the buildup of dead skin and oil residue on the scalp, which can lead to dermatitis or dandruff, and be quite uncomfortable and itchy," she says.


Everyone's hair texture and needs are different. However, there are some guidelines to consider when it comes time to wash your hair.

"For persons of color, the typical recommended shampooing regimen is once to twice a week, separated by a couple of days, so that there's not dryness if you shampoo day to day," says Dr. Davis.

"And for people who are not skin of color, we recommend shampooing every second or third day at a minimum. And some patients can shampoo up to daily. It just depends on whether their hair needs cleansing and/or their scalp needs cleansing."

For those with conditions like dandruff, a different approach to hair hygiene may be needed.

Dandruff is the most common form of seborrheic dermatitis, appearing as flaky skin on the scalp without severe redness or irritation. It typically can be managed with regular use of a gentle or medicated shampoo to reduce oil and skin cell buildup.

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