Hairspray is used to protect the hair against humidity and hold a certain style. Hairsprays consist of polymers which act like a glue to coat the hair and help keep it in place. There are propellants used in aerosols to move or “propel” the product out of the spray can. Alcohol is also in hair spray which evaporates quickly leaving just the polymers on the hair.
When using hairspray, there is frequently over-spray causing it to get into the face, eyes, mouth, and possibly breathing in the mist. It is not pleasant but the ill effects should not last long. Moving into fresh air, and rinsing your skin, eyes, and mouth should remove the hair spray residue and resolve the irritation. When using hairspray, be mindful and attempt to minimize the over-spray by blocking the face, eyes and mouth with your hand or towel.
Some hairsprays are sold in a pump spray bottle where the nozzle can be removed, even by toddlers. If you find your toddler with this type of hair spray and the top removed, there is the potential the child drank from the bottle. Even if your child has had a gulp or two of hair spray, significant symptoms are not expected. Rinse the mouth, wash the exposed skin, and give your child something to drink.
If you find your child with a can or bottle of hair spray, do not panic. Take the product away from them, wipe out the mouth with a soft, wet cloth and give them some water to drink. If the spray has gotten into the eyes, start using lukewarm water to rinse out the eyes and call the poison center right away for further instruction.
If problems start, or if you have any questions, call the Missouri Poison Center right away at 1-800-222-1222. The poison center is open all day, every day for poisoning emergencies and questions.