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Hair gel is one of the most common hair-styling and grooming products used by men. Notable for its firmness once set, hair gel can stiffen and shape your hair into various hairstyles, making it a favorite product for men who sport longer-than-usual haircuts. Despite its usefulness, however, hair gel has earned a reputation for causing hair problems in men.

Side Effects of Using Hair Gel

Using hair gel may be a convenient and inexpensive way to spruce up your style. However, using it too often can lead to hair and scalp issues. What kind of problems do hair gels cause? Let's check out some of the hair-raising consequences of using hair gel and what you can do about them.

Hair gels can dry out your hair and scalp. 

One benefit of hair gel is that it's incredibly fast drying: rub a dollop on your hair, and you can expect it to become as immovable as EDSA traffic at rush hour within a couple of minutes. Alcohol, however, is the reason behind this quick-drying nature.

Alcohols — specifically short-chain ones like isopropyl, ethanol, and denatured — are usually added to products to make them work fast. While it is good for the , it can also spell trouble for your hair and scalp. Short-chain alcohols decrease moisture in the scalp, which leads to dryness and brittleness over time.

Hair gels can cause dandruff.

Hair gel acts by driving away moisture from the scalp. As mentioned earlier, excess usage can make the scalp dry and undernourished, making it susceptible to . Aside from this, a dry scalp can also be more prone to inflammation and other skin issues.

Some gels also produce flakes that look like dried skin — which may be a potential source of embarrassment in social settings.

Hair gels can cause hair loss.

Aside from dandruff and a dry scalp, hair gels have another, far more serious side effect: hair loss.

Alcohol-based hair gels that dry out the scalp can cause problems for the hair, such as breakage. Moreover, other compounds in gels can also react with cell buildup and sebum on the scalp, clogging the hair follicles and causing hair to fall off.

What this means is excessive usage of alcohol-based hair gels — and other alcohol-based hair styling and grooming products, for that matter — can cause serious problems such as in users.

Are All Hair Gels Bad?

Try to look for alcohol-free hair gels. This way, you reap its rewards without sacrificing your hair health. If you want to be on the safer side, then you can also try other products such as hair wax or pomade. It also helps you shape your hair without the consequences. 

What Can You Do to Prevent These Side Effects?

The easiest way to avoid the side effects of alcohol-based hair gel is to stop using them. However, if you're committed to this product, it is best to adopt several practices such as the following:

  • Shampoo your hair every day. It washes away hair gel residue as well as sebum and dirt buildup – all of which can cause scalp and hair problems.
  • If you’re feeling some flakiness due to hair gel use, try adding an all-around anti-dandruff shampoo like CLEAR Deep Cleanse Anti-Dandruff Shampoo to your shower regimen. This shampoo has cooling and refreshing properties. It also leaves your hair and scalp clean while maintaining healthy moisture levels.
  • If you want to strengthen your hair, you can also use a fortifying shampoo like Dove Men+Care Strengthening Shampoo. It is formulated with caffeine and calcium to help strengthen the hair root and prevent falling and breakage. It also makes hair visibly thicker and stronger as it grows.

It can be hard to swear off hair gel, especially if it's something you’ve been using for a long time. The good news, however, is that you can mitigate its consequences. Adding a few steps to your self-care routine can help tide you over until you find a new, healthier product for your hair.