Apologies for the confusing question; I did not know how to better ask it.

I was doing a search on wikipedia when I found this statement.

Wikipedia's entry on hair states;

"The hair that is visible is the hair shaft, which exhibits no biochemical activity and is considered "dead"."

With that being said, why does one use shampoo? Is it because of the scalp that requires nourishment and cleaning because skin is not of a "dead" nature? Or is it to maintain the silkiness and smoothness of hair? Because it seems really redundant to take care of and maintain something which is already "dead".

  • $\begingroup$ both..Depending on the shampoo components, it can help nourish and clean the scalp as well as maintain hair texture. It would be redundant to take care of your hair if it wasn't a part of personal cleanliness and grooming. $\endgroup$ Sep 12 '14 at 5:30
  • $\begingroup$ @thelastword so it's safe to say when one takes care of his/her hair; it's only for personal grooming and does not bring about any health benefit? $\endgroup$
    – Nick
    Sep 12 '14 at 5:32
  • $\begingroup$ gair, maybe so because I can't find any positives of specifically cleaning your hair and not your scalp. But the scalp has to be clean to prevent or delay the onset of scalp acne, scalp bleeding and dandruff. You wouldn't be cleaning your scalp alone without your hair though. $\endgroup$ Sep 12 '14 at 6:01
  • $\begingroup$ I'm skeptical of any claim that shampoo "nourishes" your scalp… $\endgroup$
    – canadianer
    Sep 12 '14 at 6:19
  • $\begingroup$ @canadianer ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15303780 ; ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8245236 ; I would call these 2 trials as examples of scalp nourishment by different shampoos. Maybe not in the strict sense, but you still have to admit that they do help in scalp treatment. $\endgroup$ Sep 12 '14 at 6:28

We shampoo our hair because of sebum. In humans, sebaceous glands are most numerous on the face and scalp, with (on the scalp at least) several glands plus a hair follicle making up a pilosebaceous unit.

Each gland secretes sebum, initially a colorless and odorless fatty substance (plus dead cells) that spreads from the scalp outward over the hair, but that breaks down by bacteria producing strong odors.

Look at a person who has not washed their hair in a week and it will be easy to understand why we wash the "dead" stuff on our heads. It looks oily and it eventually smells bad as well.

  • $\begingroup$ So with this being said, the reason for shampooing is for the benefit of the scalp? Since the sebum control is essential to prevent hair that smells bad- $\endgroup$
    – Nick
    Sep 12 '14 at 12:54
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ It's for your benefit. The scalp will be still alive and well, although with a socially unacceptable smell. $\endgroup$
    – nvja
    Sep 12 '14 at 13:36
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @NickSandor ohh I see- thank you for clearing it up $\endgroup$
    – Nick
    Sep 13 '14 at 7:03

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