Does Hair Gel Cause Hair Loss? Here's Everything You Need To Know

Medically reviewed by Dr. Ahmad Chaudhry M.B.B.S.
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated

Having a properly styled hairstyle is the pinnacle of any dapper man.

It instantly elevates your look to the next level, without costing you thousands.

You do that with a hair styling product, like a wax or a gel.

However, you start to notice hair falling more, and it's unveiling a receding hairline or a bald spot that will trample your confidence - probably forever.

Did your hair gel cause that hair loss? And if so, what do you do?

Worry not, now that you're here, we'll answer all your questions from does hair gel cause hair loss to how can you stop it from happening (and fix it).


Hair gel itself is not necessarily bad for your hair, but frequent and excessive use of hair gel can potentially cause hair loss or thinning.

This is because some hair gels can contain harsh chemicals and alcohol, which can damage the hair follicles and lead to breakage or hair loss.

Additionally, the act of applying and styling hair gel can cause tension and stress on the hair, which can also contribute to hair loss over time.

It's important to use hair gel in moderation and choose products that are gentle on your hair and scalp

What is hair gel and what are its main ingredients?

scandianvian biolabs hair gel

Hair gel is a thickening agent used to give hair a textured look. It can create different styles, such as spikes or waves. Hair gel is also used to hold the hair in place, making it an essential hair product for hairstyles that must last all day. 

The main ingredients of hair gel:

  • Water
  • Polymers
  • Alcohol
  • PVP/VA
  • Carbomer
  • Fragrance
  • Preservatives

There are also many additives used to impart moisture, shine, and UV protection, as well as modify the properties of the film.

Does hair gel cause hair loss?

There is no direct evidence that hair gel causes hair loss, but excessive use of hair gel and improper hair care may contribute to hair damage and breakage.

There is some debate over whether hair gel causes hair loss, but it is generally accepted that it can be a contributing factor. Many ingredients in hair gel, including alcohol, propylene glycol, and others, can irritate the scalp and clog hair follicles.

The average hair gel has 15–30 ingredients, but some can have over 50! Not all of these ingredients are bad, but if you use them frequently, some of them may irritate your scalp and cause hair loss. This can also lead to weakened hair, breakage, and hair loss.

If you use hair gel frequently, rinse your scalp thoroughly to avoid any potential irritation. You may also want to try a gentler formula that doesn't contain as many harsh chemicals.

Is gel bad for your hair?

Using gel excessively or regularly may cause damage to your hair and scalp, but occasional use in moderation is not necessarily bad for your hair.

Hair gel is one of the most widely-used grooming products, especially among men. But there’s also a bad side to it, according to some people.

A lot of them have started raising questions like, “Is gel bad for your hair?” or “Does gel damage your hair?”

Well, hair gel has been reported to produce side effects, like causing your scalp to dry or producing dandruff. 

How to minimize hair gel side effects?

To minimize hair gel side effects you should keep the following things in mind:

  1. Do not use alcohol-based hair gels; they dry your hair fast, but also decrease moisture in your scalp.
  2. Another tip is to use shampoo as much as you can to wash away the gel residue.
  3. Lastly, pick a high-quality hair gel with nourishing properties can help minimize these effects, that's why we recommend this:

Hair Styling Gel
Hair Styling Gel
A light-weight gel to deliver a soft hold and a high-shine look

What ingredients to avoid in hair gels?

By using good quality products and making sure the ingredients are listed on the label, you can avoid hair gel problems. 

Before you buy hair gel, make sure to check for these five things:

  1. Isopropyl alcohol: it can be very drying for hair, leading to breakage and frizz. It can also strip away the natural oils that keep hair healthy and shiny. Other alcohols have nourishing effect, instead.
  2. Parabens: Parabens act as preservatives and extend the lifespan of products. There are many problems that parabens can cause for your hair, including drying, irritated scalps, fading color, and even hair fall. Parabens are generally unsafe and should be avoided until proven otherwise.
  3. Propylene glycol: Some people might find propylene glycol irritating on their scalps. There may be allergic or irritant reactions such as redness, itching, burning, flaking, or discomfort. It's possible to harm your scalp and hair if you let severe scalp irritation persist.
  4. Polyethylene glycol: Due to this chemical, hair shaft moisture is stripped away, contributing to dryness and thinning.
  5. Silicones: Your hair shines because of the silicone. They may do their jobs well, but your hair will suffer. Your hair cannot absorb nutrients because of the silicones in it.

Can hair gel stop hair growth?

The wrong hair gel can stunt hair growth. The chemicals in hair gel react with the hair follicles and sebaceous glands on your scalp. This reaction can damage hair follicles and sebaceous glands responsible for hair growth.

This damage can lead to inflammation of hair follicles and sebaceous glands. This inflammation can prevent hair from growing back or slow down hair growth.

What are the side effects of hair gel?

side effects of hair gel

There are a few side effects that come with generic hair gel. These include:


Hair gel can dry out your scalp. It is caused by chemicals. Chemicals can cause your hair and scalp to lose their natural oil, leaving them dehydrated. An infected scalp will itch, irritate, and flake, which causes dandruff.

It's not dandruff that causes hair loss. The only problem with dandruff is that it can make you scratch your scalp so hard that you hurt yourself.

Hair growth can be delayed or stopped by repeated inflammation of hair follicles. It can lead to hair thinning or weak hair. Taking aggressive care of the hair, brushing it aggressively, and scratching the scalp can exacerbate this type of hair loss.

Hair drying and dehydration

Using hair gels can make your hair dry and dehydrate your hair and scalp because they contain alcohol and corrosive chemicals. They mess with moisture levels and reduce sebum production. 

Dehydrated hair doesn't produce enough sebum, which nurtures your hair. Brittle and breakage-prone hair could be caused by too little moisture in your hair. These chemicals can make your scalp itchy and flaky. Your hair will lose strength and appearance from all that.

Hair loss

By drying out the hair and scalp, these gels make it easier for hair to break. The chemicals in these gels react with dead cells, excess sebum on your scalp, and external pollutants.

As a result, the hair follicles get clogged, and hair falls out. Excessive and prolonged hair fall can lead to problems like baldness, receding hairline etc. 

Premature graying

Hair gels can drastically affect your scalp and hair with their toxic chemicals. Using hair gels and hair spray also causes discoloration of hair. These gels strip your hair of nourishment and moisture.

Hair problems like dullness, scarceness, and unhealthy hair can result from it, as it disturbs the hair’s pH balance. Also, these gels contain chemicals that can cause colored hair to fade or change color. It can also cause early greying if you use these hair gels a lot.

Using hair gel correctly can avoid hair loss

Now that you know all about hair gel and hair loss, you must be wondering how you can use hair gel without damaging your hair.

Here are some tips to help you use hair gel the right way:

Get yourself a good hair gel

Not all hair gels are made the same. Some ultilizes natural ingredients while others are chock-full of chemicals.

Our Hair Styling Gel is exactly what you're looking for if you're trying to style your hair without the fear of hair loss.

The ingredient list is completely transparent, so you can see exactly what ingredients is good for you, and will help nourish your hair.

Get your hairstyle safely, everytime.

hair gel in hand

You can use gels with natural moisturizers.

In the market, there are several hair gels that contain essential oils to hydrate and nourish the hair. By switching to a more natural ingredients hair gel, you can get the look you want without drying your hair.

Despite some drying ingredients in these gels, natural oils counterbalance their effect. Your hair needs to stay moisturized!

Don't apply directly to your scalp.

Applying hair gel directly to your scalp can irritate your skin. If you have sensitive skin, this could lead to hair loss.

It's best to apply hair gel and hair wax to your hair, not your scalp. Start from the ends of your hair and work your way up.

Regularly wash your hair with a sulfate free shampoo.

Despite your best efforts, product buildup on the scalp can still happen. In order to remove the excess product, It’s always suggested that you wash your hair well.

If you leave the gel on your hair for too long, it can harden and make your hair crunchy, dry, and brittle. Most of the time, this causes hair to break and fall out.

To prevent this, use a shampoo free of sulfates to wash your hair regularly. Additionally, if your hair has lost moisture, try a shampoo with nourishing ingredients like aloe vera and turmeric.


Hair gel can cause hair loss, but this is usually due to overuse or improper use of hair gel. To avoid hair loss, use hair gel sparingly, and be sure to wash your hair regularly. Use hair gel only when you need it, and try to give your hair a break from styling every once in a while.

Also, Switch to a natural hair gel, and don't apply it directly to your scalp. Wash your hair regularly with a sulfate-free shampoo, and don't use hair gel daily. By following these tips, you can enjoy healthy hair and avoid hair loss.


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Dr. Ahmad Chaudhry M.B.B.S. is a House Physician in the Medical Unit 3 Allied Hospital, Faisalabad, and deals with hepatic, cardiac, neurological, and dermatological issues daily. He did his MBBS from Punjab Medical College, Faisalabad. He believes that a good haircare routine is one where you nourish it naturally. During his free time, he works as a dermatologist for Scandinavian Biolabs.