Hair Styling Products - Asthma trigger - Asthma Community ...

Asthma Community Forum

19,325 members23,323 posts

Hair Styling Products - Asthma trigger

hammertime79 profile image
13 Replies

Hello all, my 4 year old daughther has had a lot of respiratory problems the last 6 to 9 months (Acute Bronchitis) and may or may not have Asthma, she has been to specialists and the hospital many times and we need to wait a little longer to see if it is Asthma or not.

She has no allergens (all tests done) but my wife has a strong belief that my hair styling product may be a trigger, I think this is a red herring and she is barking up the wrong tree, but need to investigate further. Its been difficult as she has had a on off cough since November 21.

The product I use is the below:

Its readily available from pretty much everywhere. I was just wondering is there any evidence to suggest that hair gel/paste (not bleach or hairspray) could worsen or even trigger the condition?

Unfortunately, I have the sort of hair that requires product in it, I tried a specialist Ashma product from Olsson but it is greasy waxy awful stuff so can't really use that.

Essentially I am trying to ascertain someone who either has experience or knowledge of whether a hair product can affect my daughter really.

There doesn't seem to be any Ashma approved hair styling products other than Olsson, so that brings me to point in the direction that maybe this isn't a common belief that hair styling products like this can affect the condition. But I would love to get people's thoughts on this.



13 Replies
Troilus profile image

Hi Hammertime. In my experience hair products can trigger asthma - not just gels but shampoo, conditioner, etc. I think is the perfume used in them. Having said that, it is not all hair products.Asthma is a fickle beast - what triggers one person may not trigger another.

I would suggest just changing your brand, see if that is a trigger and change again until you find something that suits you both. (I would think your friends and family are probably going to get some free hair gel)

Look for gels that have low odour/perfume content.

hammertime79 profile image
hammertime79 in reply to Troilus

Thanks Troilus agreed this is the first point of call, but still yet to see if any of it actually causes an issue or not. We just have to pay a lot more attention to it now. I'm going to try a few different brands as suggested to see if any change or pattern emerges.

Troilus profile image
Troilus in reply to hammertime79

A lot of things with asthma are trial and error. One way to check might be to have a stay at home weekend where you can leave your hair product free and see if it makes a difference.Do you wear aftershave? I used to react to some aftershaves my husband used. Deodorant? Do you use a different deodorant to the rest of the household? Think of things that you use that are different to others in the household and either eliminate them one by one, or don’t use any and then add them in one by one to see if there is a culprit lurking 😁

strongmouse profile image
strongmouse in reply to Troilus

Hello, I react to many smells, including perfumes. When you start digging deeper into some of the chemicals used in 'personal care products' it is slightly mind boggling. The health and safety data actually states that some of them are respiratory irritants. Apparently the chemicals are allowed in certain products because it is assumed the amounts are small as opposed to the production of them, which is what the health and safety data relates to. Type in "respiratory irritants in hair products" and you will find a lot of information e.g.

lakelover profile image

Try a change of hairstyle, your daughters health is more important than your hair.

hammertime79 profile image
hammertime79 in reply to lakelover

Thank you for your comment. If my hairstyle truly was/is a problem I would happily shave my hair off. I am trying to establish if big brand hair styling products can actually trigger a problem or not. We are trying to establish what may and might be an issue.

Idreamedadream profile image

Hi there Lee,As people have said anything can trigger asthma…anything with a perfume in it….even if it’s a very mild scent that can be a trigger….here is an example of mine…alcoholic hand gel, washing products and softener as the scent lingers after a wash, any kind of aerosol, scented candles, plug in room air fresheners, kitchen/bathroom sprays, the definite culprit is deodorant spray or aftershave… me and my husband have resorted to a roll on deodorant…and yes any products even if not a spray but if it has any scent to it might seem mild and not noticeable to a non asthmatic but to a person who has asthma it is the enemy!

Obviously things like pollen, pet hair, trees..well actually anything in the world can affect lungs if exposed!!! Maybe keep a diary and note down precisely reactions then you might get to the bottom of it..

I know this sounds kinda weird but sometimes I find toilet paper,especially the slightly scented ones are not good as I was using them as a tissue but ended up with bad headaches!

Good luck 🤞

Gwalltarian profile image

I agree with all the comments above, I react to all kinds of irritants, once had an acute asthma attack in a French restaurant from the wine fumes used in cooking. It’s easy to find out if any particular product is causing the problem, just stop using it for a while. I know white vinegar is advocated as a cleaning product currently but the fumes from that give me asthmatic symptoms too. Ask the doctors to check your daughter’s vitamin D levels - too low and that could give rise to respiratory problems. You could ask GP or pharmacist what vitamin D supplement could be given to your daughter - she would also need zinc to aid the absorption of vitamin D.

teddyd profile image

My asthma is affected by anything that has a smell but to different degrees. It can be from hair products, hand cream suntan lotion cleaning products in fact anything. My husband cant alway smell anything but I can. Its trial and error so I suggest you stop using the product and see if things improve

Emer1000 profile image

I react to smells but not all the time. Some days I’m ok with hair spray in a hair salon, other days i react badly to it, ie start coughing and cannot stop. I do think it’s a case of … if my asthma is under control I’m ok, if my asthma is acting up it bothers me. In the office I find it embarrassing sometimes as if someone has heavily sprayed themselves with perfume I can’t stop coughing, I find that really embarrassing so I go to a meeting room and pretend I’m on a Conf call. I have said it to 2 friends once but I find it diff to be diff in the office. I’m sorry to say it’s possible it’s affecting her. For me alcohol floor cleaners also affect me, other cleaning products don’t.

Emer1000 profile image

Keep windows in your house open, when you use your hair product maybe do it in a ventilated room with door closed as smell is stronger when you put it on. I always leaves windows in bedrooms open during the day and bedroom doors closed, it def helps

Emer1000 profile image

Could you put hair gel on as me walk outside for few mins to let smell dissipate. Might grlp

Penelope321 profile image

Yes, hair products trigger my asthma. I used to use a hair serum by L’Oréal for years and when I developed asthma out of the blue the last 3 years it is now one of the worst triggers among many other scents mentioned by others - sanitizer, alcohol, deodorant, hair products, cooking fumes, detergent, cold, humidity. My twin doesn’t have asthma (an aside: weirdly she has lost most of her ability to detect scent for many years - she strongly believes it began from her being bullied relentlessly by a mean girl back in ninth grade, that was 20 years ago). I have to remind her constantly not to wear scented products around me, including the beloved hair serum I used to love, very sad indeed.

You may also like...