You may never have thought about it when doing your hair, but combining certain hair products with heating appliances exacerbates the spread of compounds that are harmful to your health. This is what emerges from a scientific study, which particularly warns of the VOCs emitted by these products, but also by this combination.
Fans of blow-drying know this well: there are a plethora of styling products, such as oils or sprays, which can be combined with a straightening iron or hair dryer to achieve perfect straightening. But according to a scientific study, they are harmful to health, and the combo combining the heat of an electrical appliance would be worse.
Styling treatments containing VOCs, volatile organic compounds
According to the authors of this work, many styling treatments contain volatile chemical substances, such as siloxanes, silicones which give shine to the hair or cyclic volatile methylsilixanes. These volatile organic compounds, also called VOCs, constitute a group of heterogeneous substances, which can be found in the air and have carcinogenic or toxic effects for human reproduction and development.
Dispersion in the air with risk of inhalation
For the study, the products were evaluated in real time by air analysis among healthy volunteers aged 18 to 65 and fans of hair care products.
Results: scientists demonstrated that these particles evaporated into the air, with a risk of inhalation. According to one of the scientists who participated in the research, Nusrat Jung, “The most important – and concerning – chemical inhaled is decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (aka siloxane D5). It causes adverse effects on the respiratory tract, liver and nervous system of laboratory animals“.
Particles which are released even more on contact with heat
Even more worrying: these particles are even more diffused in the air when they are heated. Which is obviously the case when the hair is straightened, using a hairdryer or a straightening iron. According to the study, chemical emissions would jump from 50% to 310% and the quantity of particles inhaled would be around 17 mg per day. “On average, a person can inhale a cumulative mass of 1 to 17 milligrams of potentially harmful chemicals during a single at-home hair care session” note the experts.
How can we avoid these particles which are harmful to health and the environment?
To avoid being too exposed to these VOCs which are harmful to health and the environment, researchers note that by using an air extractor fan, we can eliminate these volatile compounds from the room in around twenty minutes. They are then released into the environment, which is not a completely acceptable solution for scientists. Rather, they believe that it is necessary to study the composition of the products used and to favor completely natural products as much as possible, which will avoid any release of these volatile organic compounds into the air.