Could Dry Shampoo Make Your Hair Fall Out?

Publish Date
Tuesday, 19 July 2016, 2:11PM
Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

For busy people who need to get ready in a hurry and for those who just can’t face getting their hair wet, dry shampoo seems nothing short of a godsend.

All it takes is a few spritzes from a can aimed at your scalp. The superfine powder suspended in the spray helps to absorb oil and ‘refreshes’ the hair.

It’s little wonder that more and more of us are using dry shampoo — indeed, the UK is among the world’s biggest consumers of the product. 

Almost a quarter of us use it, compared with about 16 per cent in the U.S. and European countries on the Continent.

But could there be a downside to this marvellous convenience?

In April this year, Nicole Baxter from Belfast warned her friends in a post on Facebook that using a popular brand of dry shampoo had caused her to develop a bald patch, as well as giving her a sore, itchy, flaky scalp.

The message went viral and has subsequently been shared more than 30,000 times. 

Nicole said that a doctor had suggested dry shampoo was to blame, and claimed her symptoms almost cleared up when she stopped using it, although her bald patch remains.

Using powder to ‘clean’ the hair isn’t exactly a new idea. 

The Victorians used to sprinkle arrowroot powder on their hair to help absorb grease, and other similar powders, including corn starch and even oatmeal, have been used in the past.

These days dry shampoos use ingredients such as powdered rice protein, tapioca starch and even clay, delivered in aerosol form. However, the problem is that dry shampoo isn’t actually a shampoo at all.

Trichologist Iain Sallis, of the Hairmedic group of hair loss clinics, explains: ‘The word “shampoo” in this case is a misnomer.

‘A conventional shampoo cleans the scalp and hair using a combination of detergent-type ingredients which help to break down and remove dirt.

‘Dry shampoo doesn’t work like that. All it’s doing is absorbing the oil so hair no longer looks or feels greasy.’

Dr Greg Williams, a consultant hair transplant surgeon of the Farjo Hair Institute, a hair loss clinic based in Manchester and London, agrees: ‘Dry shampoo is a cosmetic product — it has its place but it shouldn’t be abused. 

'It doesn’t clean the hair and scalp and so, like any other cosmetic product, it needs to be washed out regularly.’

And if it isn’t, this can cause problems.

‘If you put make-up on every day but never washed your face, your skin would soon start to suffer,’ says Iain Sallis. 

‘It would feel dry and irritated, and look horrible. The same is true of using dry shampoo on your scalp and hair.’

Overuse of dry shampoo can lead to it building up on the scalp ‘which in turn leads to a deterioration of the health of the scalp,’ adds Dr Williams.

‘It can block pores and cause irritation and scaling. This is usually minor but if it continues, it can lead to seborrheic dermatitis.’ 

This is a condition characterised by red, itchy, flaky and inflamed skin.

And as he explains, theoretically almost any condition that affects the scalp has the potential to cause hair loss. 

We're not saying don't use it but it definitely is good to know the effects it can have if you don't use it the way it's intended to be used. 


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