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Using dry shampoo every day? Experts say it may damage your hair

Dry shampoo might look like the best thing for busy women, but it's not. Dry shampoo has side effects that should not be ignored.
Dry shampoo side effects
Know the likely side effects of using too much dry shampoo. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 27 Aug 2023, 14:00 pm IST
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Medically Reviewed by

Dry shampoo is a quick fix for those who don’t have time to wash their hair. Many fitness enthusiasts might be using it, as it is not healthy to wash hair every day. But then they also don’t want their hair to be sweaty and sticky. Excessive use of anything is never good. There is no study or research on the side effects of dry shampoo, but you might recall a leading company taking its dry shampoo products off the shelves last year due to high levels of benzene, which is known to be a cancer-causing chemical. Read on to find out if dry shampoo can damage hair too.

What is dry shampoo?

Dry shampoo is a popular hair care product that offers a convenient way to refresh and clean mane without the usual hair wash. It comes in spray or powder form and is designed to absorb excess oil, dirt and odour from the scalp and hair, explains Dr Vichitra Sharma, Consultant, Department of Dermatology, Amrita Hospital, Faridabad. Dry shampoo basically makes the hair look cleaner and more voluminous, something which we all want.

Dry shampoo
Dry shampoo may damage hair. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Dry shampoo is useful for:

• Busy people who lack time for regular hair washing.
• Frequent travellers who may not have access to showers.
• Fitness enthusiasts who want to manage sweat and oil without frequent hair washing.
• People with dyed hair to extend colour vibrancy.
• People with oily scalp to absorb excess oil between washes.
• People with fine hair to add volume and thickness.

Side effects of dry shampoo

Dry shampoo may have many benefits, but it has side effects too. Here are some of them:

1. Scalp irritation and allergic reactions

Some dry shampoos contain ingredients that can irritate the scalp or cause allergic contact dermatitis or irritant contact dermatitis, says the expert. Fragrances, preservatives and propellants present in the product are all common irritants. If you have scalp dermatitis, it may manifest as redness, itching, burning or flaking.

2. Clogged hair follicles

Regular use of dry shampoo can potentially lead to clogged hair follicles and build-up on the scalp. This build-up can trap dirt, oil and dead skin cells, potentially causing issues like folliculitis, which is inflammation of the hair follicles.

dry hair
You might end up with dry hair after using dry shampoo. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

3. Hair and scalp dryness

Dry shampoo is designed to absorb oil, which can lead to the removal of natural oils that keep the scalp and hair moisturised. Overuse of dry shampoo may result in dry, brittle hair and an imbalanced scalp, potentially leading to flakiness and discomfort.

4. Ineffective cleansing

While dry shampoo can help to absorb excess oil, it doesn’t provide the same level of cleansing as traditional shampoo and water. Relying solely on dry shampoo without regular hair washing can result in a less-than-clean scalp and hair. It could lead to odour, bacterial growth and an unhealthy scalp environment, Dr Sharma tells Health Shots.

5. Hair colour alteration

Some dry shampoos, particularly those with tinted formulas, can alter the appearance of coloured hair. For instance, light-coloured dry shampoos may leave a white residue on darker hair. Tinted versions, on the other hand, might affect the vibrancy and longevity of hair dye.

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6. Respiratory illnesses and cancers

Dry shampoo may contain asbestos fibres and magnesium silicate in powdered form. It may pose a risk for respiratory illnesses and cancers, says the expert.

Moderation is key, so avoid using dry shampoo daily. Instead, try to use dry shampoo only when necessary, such as on days when you need to extend the time between regular washes.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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