Home Beauty 5 Toxins to Avoid in Dry Shampoo

5 Toxins to Avoid in Dry Shampoo

by Autumn Savas

In today’s fast-paced, always-on-the-go society, it’s no wonder dry shampoo has risen in popularity.

Dry shampoo allows you to improve your look in a few minutes without having to go through the process of showering, lathering up, and blow-drying your hair.

When you’re working, going to school, managing family and relationships, and trying to have hobbies, dry shampoo—like microwaved meals—can seem like a godsend. 

However, with more research, you may discover that dry shampoos come with significant drawbacks in terms of their unhealthy ingredients.

In particular, fragrances, butane, and talc can affect your hormonal balance and cause inflammation and irritation that compromises the natural hair growth cycle.

Below we will explore these compounds in more detail.

1. The problem with fragrances

Companies put perfumes and fragrances in their cosmetic products in hopes of triggering a positive emotional reaction that sways buyers to fork over their cash. While fragrances may smell enticing, they typically mask a host of underlying chemicals and toxins, including hormone-compromising parabens and phthalates.

Hormonal health is one of the factors responsible for a well-functioning hair growth cycle. The thyroid, for instance, secretes hormones that help the hair follicles to flourish. Dry shampoos can disrupt hormone functioning, affecting your hair growth down the line.

Fragrances have also been linked to skin allergies and inflammation. Since the hair follicles are surrounded by skin, these allergies can interfere with the hair growth process.

2. What in the butane?!

Butane is used as a propellant, allowing you to spray on dry shampoo. This is what gives the product its convenience–it’s easy to distribute across the scalp with minimal effort. However, butane is connected to skin, eye, and lung irritation, making it a poor ingredient for any cosmetic product.

Side effects can include nausea, headaches, mood swings, scalp damage, and even hair loss! What’s more, there is also an issue of the butane being contaminated with the carcinogen butadiene. 

3. Balking at talc

Talc is included in dry shampoo to absorb moisture, but it is another inhaled irritant that has been linked to contamination with the carcinogen asbestos. In studies on animals, cosmetic talc has been shown to result in inflammation in the lungs and respiratory tract.

It likely won’t harm you in the short term, but over time, consistent exposure to talc can negatively impact your health, well-being, and overall wellness.

4. Protesting propane

Derived from petroleum or natural gas, propane is an odorless, colorless gas used as a propellant in aerosol products such as dry shampoos. It has been associated with organ toxicity, allergies, and inflammation. Common sense probably tells you that anything that sounds like a “propane torch” doesn’t belong anywhere near the scalp or skin. 

5. Aluminum blues

Many dry shampoos use aluminum starch octenylsuccinate as a way to absorb excess oil and sweat. It also typically helps prevent the dry shampoo from caking up and blocking the delivery nozzle. Aluminum is a toxic heavy metal when absorbed by the soft tissue in the human body. While some heavy metals such as zinc, chromium, manganese, and iron can be beneficial in minute amounts, aluminum is not one of them.

Heavy metal poisoning can result in chronic headaches, nausea, stomach pain, infertility, seizures, and even organ failure. Bear in mind that the scalp and the forehead are among the most vulnerable areas of the body, as they can absorb chemicals up to four times more easily than the arms, for instance. Thus chemicals in dry shampoos find an entrance through the hair follicles.

The takeaway

It can be alarming to discover that one of your most trusted and relied-upon cosmetic products contains compounds that harm more than they help. But while it’s clear that most conventional dry shampoos may be damaging to your health and your hair, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t viable alternatives.

Natural dry shampoos often use arrowroot powder to soak up sweat and oil, as well as kaolin clay, rice flour, aluminum-free baking soda, cornstarch, citrus peel, cocoa, and essential oils.

With a little time and effort taken to read the ingredients list, you can enjoy the benefits of dry shampoo without the drawbacks.

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