Scientists at the American Chemical Society (ACS) warn of the risk of health problems when mixing the most common heat styling techniques (such as straightening and curling) with some hair products.
According to research published in Environmental Science & Technology magazinesome hair products contain ingredients that evaporate easily, causing users to inhale chemicals when heating their hair, potentially causing harm to their health.
The researchers studied emissions of these volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including siloxanes, which add shine and soften hair, and found that using these products can quickly change the composition of indoor air, while heat styling can further increase VOC levels.
Previous studies have examined the amounts of siloxanes released in personal care products, but most have focused on products that are removed from the body, such as skin cleansers.
Hair products such as creams or oils can have different effects. Additionally, most previous studies on siloxane emissions have not looked at real-time changes in air composition, which can occur while people are styling their hair.
The researchers wanted to understand in detail about VOCs released in hair products, especially in real-world contexts like small bathrooms where they are typically applied.
Experiment with hair styles
The researchers set up a small, ventilated house where participants used their usual hair products — including creams, sprays and oils — and heated tools.
Before, during and after styling, the team measured real-time emissions of VOCs, including cyclic volatile methyl siloxanes (cVMS), which are used in many hair products.
Mass spectrometry data showed rapid changes in the chemical composition of the air in the house and revealed that cVMS was the main compound in the air among the VOCs detected.
According to the experiment, emissions were influenced by the type of product and hair length, as well as the type and temperature of the styling tool. Longer hair and higher temperatures released greater amounts of VOCs.
As a result of their findings, the researchers estimated that a person’s potential daily inhalation of a cVMS, known as D5, could reach up to 20 mg per day.
In the experiment, turning on an exhaust fan removed most pollutants from the room’s air within 20 minutes of completing a hair care routine, but scientists note that this practice can affect outdoor air quality in densely populated cities.
They say studies on the long-term impacts of siloxane exposure on human health are urgently needed because most findings come from animal studies.
See also: Sleep well to live well
Source: CNN Brasil
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