Hairspray is a cosmetic product generally used on dry hair to hold or to fix a style. Even though hairspray is most girls’ best friend, research shows that the aerosols and alcohols in this product causes harm both to people and the environment. Hairspray has been used my women since the 1940s, but only 30 years ago researchers found out the real danger aerosols can be to our environment. Hairspray causes harm to the environment because of its high-pressured chemicals, it damages hair and skin, and is dangerous because of its potential to create fires.
However, over the years, hair spray companies have tried to decrease these harms once they were discovered. Companies have tried to change the formula of hair spray, decrease the amount of alcohols, and make the ingredients more organic. Overall, hair spray may have its good aspects when it comes to cosmetics, but it poses many dangers when you are dealing with the environment and health. When looking back to the 1900s, most people wonder how the women managed to make their hair so voluminous and perfect.This was the work of hairspray, a product that was made in 1943. This was around the time of WWII, where aerosol cans were used to kill bugs. After the war ended, the beauty industry saw the potential these aerosol cans had, and decided to pressurize it using a fluorocarbon or liquefied gas. At first they named this product Spray Net; however in 1950 Helene Curtis started calling it “hairspray”.
Hairsprays are fine mists of chemical compound which are sprayed on to the hair to help hold a certain style, which would otherwise deflate.This is possible because the chemicals, or polymer, allow the hair to adhere to each other, and create layers of sticky film when it dries. By 1955 the company was selling their product worldwide. Over the years hairstyles have changed, and so has the amount of hairspray used, the 1960s being the time it was used the most. Now the question remains is, have scientists discovered the dangers of hairspray fast enough to be able to undo the damages already caused.
In order to keep an intricate hair style in place, most women use massive amounts of hairspray.Although they may not know it, that hairspray is doing damage to them as well as the environment. First of all, hairsprays harm the environment because they contain propellants such as CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) which deplete the Earth’s ozone layer. The particular part of the ozone layer that these CFCs deplete is what generally protects the Earth from the harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. Also, research has shown that one molecule of CFC takes 100 years to become harmless.Obviously once scientists found out how harmful this chemical was, it was taken out of products such as fridges and ACs.
However, hairsprays now-a-days still use propellants that can cause serious damage to the atmosphere in the long run. Secondly, hairsprays cause damaged hair, and can cause skin irritation. When using hairspray, if the hair is not washed thoroughly after every use, the hairspray build up causes dry scalp or dry, brittle hair. Also, based on animal testing, the ingredient propanol is a skin irritant, and a possible carcinogen.
Although these chemicals may not cause harm right away, the effects will appear later on as the chemicals build up. Lastly, hairsprays pose a big safety problem, because the aerosol container is so flammable. Usually flammable products are only found in household cleaning, and even with those products, people do not spray it on themselves. However, with hairsprays, every time it is sprayed on the hair, there is a danger of having your head catch fire if you are near an open flame.
The reason hairsprays are so flammable is because they contain hydrocarbon propellants and SD-alcohol-40.Therefore, hairspray may be a great cosmetic product, but with all the bad effects, it shows that companies still need to work on alternative products for hairspray. With the discovery of the danger that hairspray presents, hairspray companies have looked desperately for alternatives. In some ways, they have been successful in decreasing the hazards in hairsprays. Firstly, the major change companies made to the ingredients in hairspray was having no CFCs. This change meant that an effective alternative needed to be found. This alternative is hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are not as polluting.Secondly, since the fire risks have been so high, companies have tried to decrease the amount of alcohols used.
Most of the alcohols in hairspray came from the fragrances used. In order to get rid of these alcohols, companies have made sure that the newer products do not have as much fragrance in them, and instead replace it with using lemon juice. Lastly, many companies have made their hairspray products more organic, by using ingredients that are natural. Examples of companies that have successfully made this change are Aveeno, and Garnier.Some of the ingredients Garnier uses in their natural hairspray are extracts from lemon, apricot kernel glycerides, and mango diglycerides. Even though hairspray started off badly, companies have shown their willingness to improve and change hairspray for the better of people and the environment. Hairspray has only been around for about seven decades, but has changed dramatically over these years.
Most could agree that the beauty industry would not be the same without hair spray, but with all the bad side effects, people cannot keep using the product when it has such harmful chemicals.Hairsprays still need to have the chemicals taken out of its formula for it to become harmless. There are many homemade ways of making hairspray, so that it is not only chemical free but natural as well. People should realize the dangers that come with hairsprays and switch to using only organic alternatives. In conclusion, although many companies have tried to improve hairspray and make it more eco-friendly, unless hairspray becomes purely organic, it will always cause some sort of harm to people and the environment. Bibliography .
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