What Are the Dangers of Aerosol Hair Spray to Our Bodies?

Do your spritzing near an open window to avoid inhaling the hair spray.

Photo: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images

A spritz or two to keep that 'do right where you want it can feel pretty harmless, but you may be wondering if that aerosol hair spray is doing more than just locking your style into place. While they're much safer now than back in the day, if you're not careful, aerosol hair sprays can still do a body wrong.

Aerosol's Bad Rep

Back in the '70s there was a big uproar about aerosol hair spray, because the cans contained chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), chemicals that were wreaking havoc on the environment. The CFCs were then replaced with another chemical propellant known as vinyl chloride, which was easier on Mother Earth but not so easy on the human bod. While aerosol hair spray no longer contains these super-dangerous ingredients, spraying a highly combustible chemical soup so close to your face isn't without its hazards.

Possible Problems

Douse your 'do in a room without windows or ventilation and you may wind up irritating your lungs. If you find yourself coughing and hacking when you spray, the best antidote is to get yourself some fresh air until your symptoms subside. If you are currently dealing with a bout of bronchitis or other respiratory illness, you may find that your symptoms get worse when you use aerosol hair spray. Accidentally blast yourself in the eye and you'll need to rinse with lots of clean, cool water for at least 15 minutes.


Whether you're a smoker or just love to cozy up next to the fire, you may want to consider skipping the hair spray. Aerosol hair spray contains highly flammable hydrocarbon propellants. If you get too close to an open flame before the gunk fully dries, there's a chance your hair will burst into flames. The result, according to the FDA, isn't pretty -- people have actually died from these hair spray-related accidents.

Bodily Harm

It says "contents under pressure" on that aerosol hair spray can for a reason -- leave the stuff in the sun or in a hot car for too long and the can might actually explode. And not only that, but it can also turn into a flying projectile before it explodes, releasing pressure through the nozzle as it launches itself through the air. Get your face or body too close when that baby blows, and it's a close encounter of the wrong kind.


Inhaling aerosol hair spray fumes can lead to a whole bunch of health problems. You can wind up with dizziness, slurred speech, weakness, fatigue or a loss of coordination. An unfortunate trend that involves deliberately sucking in aerosol fumes to induce a few moments of light-headed giddiness has resulted in seizures, suffocation, heart failure, kidney damage and even death.

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