Can dry shampoo make you bald?

By Rebecca Sullivan, Vanessa Brown

Leading skincare specialists weigh in on a woman's claims about dry shampoo causing balding. Photo / iStock
Leading skincare specialists weigh in on a woman's claims about dry shampoo causing balding. Photo / iStock

An Irish woman has issued a warning to other women who use dry shampoo, after she allegedly developed a bald patch on her head from using the popular beauty product.

Nicole Baxter, from Belfast, noticed her scalp was becoming itchy, flaky, burning and started to blister after she regularly used Batiste dry shampoo, a popular product which is sold in most supermarkets and chemists.

The 21-year-old developed a bald spot on her head and claims she was diagnosed with triangular alopecia, or hair loss on one area of the head.

She has encouraged other women to ditch the popular styling product.

"Dry shampoo caused me to now have this bald patch on my head - which I still have and it may or may not grow back, but nothing can be done - and a terrible scalp for ages,"
she wrote in a Facebook post, which has since been shared more than 30,000 times.

"Just wash your hair people! It is not worth having this awful patch that I might be stuck with on the side of my head all because I can't be arsed to dry my hair."

But leading skin specialists told Ms Baxter's diagnosis is not correct, and dry shampoo should be considered safe for most people to use.

"The diagnosis is not right," Professor Robert Sinclair, from Sinclair Dermatology said.

"This is not triangular alopecia [as stated in the post], because that is a childhood disorder, and it's not associated with itchy, flaking or sores on the scalp, which is what she had."

Without physically consulting the patient, and only going off "patchy" information provided on social media, Prof. Sinclair said the most likely cause of the irritation and baldness was one of three things.

"She may be allergic to one of the ingredients within the dry shampoo, which we call contact allergic dermatitis," he said.

"The other is that it has nothing to do with the shampoo at all, rather she had inflammatory alopecia. The other diagnosis that she could have is Alopecia Areata, which is the most common cause of baldness in her age group, and is caused by genetics."

Sydney Dermatologist, Dr Hanna Kuchel from The Skin Hospital, agreed with Prof. Sinclair and said women should continue using dry shampoo, because it's highly unlikely the haircare product lead to the baldness experienced by Ms Baxter.

"There's nothing wrong with using dry shampoo," Dr Kuchel told

"It wouldn't cause hair loss, and the only way it would is if you got a really bad infection from a really bad allergy."

Dr Kuchel questioned if the 21-year-old had dyed her hair in the lead up to experiencing hair loss, and failed to mention that to her specialist.

"Hair dye is a really common cause for contact allergy," Dr Kuchel said.

"Paraphenylenediamine, or PPD, is a chemical commonly found in salon and home dye products.

It is recognised around the world as causing eczema in some people.

"Don't lose any sleep over using dry shampoo. In this case, although I don't know the history of the patient, her baldness probably had nothing to do with dry shampoo, and have more to do with dye products."

As for an allergic reaction to the ingredients within dry shampoo, Prof. Sinclair said the woman should have tested an area on her forearm to see if it caused a similar response.

"Dry shampoos are mostly made up of corn or rice starch, although they often fragrant them," he said.

"She should test it on her forearm and see if she reacts to it, because 3-7 per cent of all shampoo used are dry shampoos.

"You wouldn't want to decimate a whole industry based on one patchy report, where it's not clear what caused it, because it's quite possible her condition has nothing to do with the product."


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