Hair sprays have been used for a long time, primarily to keep hair in place. Many of us may not stop to consider the risks of using hair spray, but there are a few. From environmental factors to potential health risks hair sprays may do more harm than good.

The environment:

Hair sprays have amazing benefits when it comes to styling hair. They are able to hold the hair in place without changing the color or texture of the hair and it’s easily applied. There are a few environmental concerns though. The creation of smog and the risk of damaging the ozone layer are two risks that many are concerned with.


Some of the risk factors previously associated with hair sprays have fallen to the fade of time. In the late 60’s and early 70’s, it was common for many hair sprays to contain an ingredient called vinyl chloride. Vinyl chloride, today is used in the manufacturing of plastics, cable coatings, and packing materials. However, it was used as an ingredient in hair sprays, commonly uses as a propellant. This particular ingredient was linked to liver cancer and other forms of cancer in humans. Luckily they have since stopped using vinyl chloride in hair sprays.

More research is needed when it comes to health risks because few companies list the specific ingredients in their hair spray containers.

Known health effects:

Currently, it is difficult to measure the health impacts of hair sprays today. Some ingredients used in hair sprays can irritate the eyes and skin, particularly if you are sensitive to the ingredients. You can experience side effects such as rashes, breakouts on your skin, itching, swelling, and other signs of irritation.

There is also speculation that certain ingredient’s found in hair sprays can lead to things like birth defects in the children of pregnant women if they are exposed to the chemicals for too long (like they work in a solon).

Gases and other particles can displace the oxygen in the air, so it is important to have good ventilation in the area you are using the hair spray in. It is possible for some hair sprays to lead to poisoning, depending on their ingredients. Signs of poisoning may include reduced or low blood pressure, difficulties breathing, and even comas. Contact your poison control center if you think you or someone you know has been poisoned.

Additional risks:

You may have seen the “contents under pressure” warning on spray cans. There are several risks when it comes to aerosol cans. Firstly, they need to be kept away from heat. Heat can cause an additional buildup of pressure within the container causing it to rapture. Shrapnel from the can could cause injury, so be mindful when handling hair spray containers. You’ll also want to avoid puncturing or dropping the can as well.

Many factors can influence the health risks of hair sprays, the ingredients in the product, frequency of exposure, and personal factors are just a few of many. To stay safe, limit the amount of exposure to hair sprays, avoid having the cans around high heat, and stay in a well-ventilated area during the application process.