I use a lot of dry shampoo. It extends my blowouts, saves me from washing my hair after every workout and makes limp hair look lively. As with anything that seems wonderful, I am skeptical. Online, I read anecdotes from dry shampoo devotees about excessive hair loss, and begin to wonder if all that product on my scalp could lead to blocked pores. So I called Dr. Jeff Donovan, president of the Canadian Hair Loss Foundation, to ask about the supposed horrors of dry shampoo. Is my hair screwed? Probably not. Read what he had to say, below.

Is it possible that using dry shampoo could cause your hair to fall out, or is it just coincidental that people are seeing hair loss after using it? 

I think it’s a coincidence. Certainly, after seeing many thousands of women [patients], I have never been convinced that there is ever a correlation between use of a dry shampoo and hair loss.

So why are people noticing this “excessive” hair shedding after using dry shampoo?

Many women who elect to use a dry shampoo will go an extended amount of time without shampooing their hair, so when the hair is washed, more hair will come out simply because it hasn’t been washed for a few days. We normally lose between 50 to 80 hairs per day. So if you don’t wash your hair for two days, then you could lose 150 hairs. I think the other factor that is very important is some women who use dry shampoos may have genetic hair loss, which can get worse over time. Those particular women are susceptible to higher amounts of oils in the scalp. So if you’re using a dry shampoo for a number of months and you notice that your hair is worse, it could be a factor of the actual underlying hair loss condition.


Editor’s pick: My go-to dry shampoo is Drybar Triple Sec 3-in-1 ($32.50, at Sephora, sephora.com)

If I use dry shampoo for several days in a row, is it possible to get a cyst or acne-type lesion on the scalp from the build-up of product?

That is possible. For some people, any product applied to the scalp, whether it’s a dry shampoo or a cosmetic cover-up, certainly can cause irritation, but that’s pretty rare. Most women are applying it to the scalp and then brushing it through so there’s never a high density or a high concentration that’s sitting on the scalp at any one time.

Is there anything else that affects how much hair we lose?

Oils in the scalp from dandruff, or a condition called Seborrhoeic dermatitis, is very common. Five percent of the population has this type of scalp condition that causes flaking, and if you go a couple of days without washing your scalp, it could worsen. That itself can give a minor amount of increased hair loss, but I do not believe that dry shampoo in and of itself causes hair loss.

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