It is common knowledge that hairspray is a cosmetic product. It is also common knowledge that hairspray holds our hair in place. And as we also already know, there are many brands to choose from, each one of them containing a different mix of ingredients.
Ingredients in hairspray
Hairspray contains a group of active ingredients – polymers and solvents – in addition to one or more propellants. Hairspray usually comes in a container with a pump or aerosol nozzle.
What role do polymers and solvents play in hairspray?
Polymers are responsible for hairspray’s glue-like effect and solvents dissolve the ingredients into a solution. Common polymers in hairspray include polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP), vegetable gums and gum arabic, while alcohol and hydrocarbons make up the solvent portion.
History of the spray
Before the 1970s, the loveable spray contained the chemical vinyl chloride, which served as a propellant in aerosol cans. According to the National Institutes of Health, vinyl chloride is a known carcinogen linked to angiosarcoma of the liver in humans. The disturbing part of all this is that manufactures knew about the toxic effects of vinyl chloride and it took them almost a decade before removing it from the market. Then the propellant that replaced it – methylene chloride – was later also recalled due to similar carcinogenic effects.
Although hairsprays no longer contain vinyl chloride or methylene chloride, there might be some ingredients that still cause adverse health effects for some individuals. According to the Center for Disease Control, it is not known if propylene glycol, a common hairspray ingredient, has cancer-causing properties. A lot of sprays contain a group of ingredients referred to as fragrance and because of that, it is not possible to accurately assess their safety.
And there is more to add…
While the chronic health impacts of the ingredients used are unclear, it is easier to understand the immediate danger of sprays. They can cause fire and personal injury when exposed to open flame. So make sure you keep them away from heat sources. According to Drug Information Online, inhaling some of the ingredients can lead to acute poisoning. In some cases, irritation of the skin, eyes and lungs may also occur for those who are sensitive.
What are my options?
If you worry about the effects hairspray may be having on your hair, stop using it. If you already feel that your hair is in bad shape, stop using the product and invest in another one. Natural products are a safe bet when you want to nourish healthy hair. Another option is to take a supplement that provides the hair with essential nutrients and targets the potential triggers of damaged hair.