Blistered Scalp | Citrus or Alcohol Based Products

Blistered Scalp | How Citrus or Alcohol Can Cause Dermatitis


Blistered Scalp

How To Protect Against Skin Irritation

 Our skin is the largest organ of our body. It protects us and regulates our body temperature. Healthy skin symbolizes a healthy human being. We therefore need to take good care of our skin. Today, with the amount of pollution, harmful UV rays and chemicals we are exposed to; skin care is of utmost importance.

 We all have our own skin care routine. We expose our skin to a variety of products with the intent of protecting and vitalizing our skin. A large number of choices are made available to us today. For example, we have myriad options for sunscreen lotions like SPF 15, SPF 30, we have a variety of soaps, body wash, gel, moisturizers, cleansers, toners etc… that we can use.

 Women use makeup products on their skin too. These products include foundation, creams, eye liner, and so on. Some of these products have glitter too. Some men use make up too. Thus, all these products are a very integral part of our life. But more often than not we spend very little time in choosing them. Most often we don’t put a lot of thought in picking the products which are right for our skin.

Citrus or Alcohol in Hair Replacement


 For years, the most common type of adhesive removers for hair replacement were citrus or alcohol based. Today, they are still very common within the industry but there are now also organic, biodegradeable options which are 100% safe for skin.

 I cannot sit here and deny for the most part, that citrus or alcohol based products work extremely well in loosening the adhesive to ensure easy removal from both the scalp and the hair unit. But the question I bring to the table is “at what cost?”.

 As I will address later on in this post, Alcohol and Citrus are strong astringents. Astringents which can have many benefits to the skin for various conditions. But what Citrus and Alcohol also do to the skin, is extract its oils rapidly, thus disturbing the pH balance of the skin.

 Naturally, your oil levels must re-balance. What then happens after this process, affects your bonding adhesive. The oils which are now producing in copious amounts, are penetrating your bond. This penetration halts a correct curing process for the adhesive leaving you or your client with the following issues:

  • Lifting at the sides or the front of the hair unit

  • Unpleasant odors permeating from the hair unit

  • Itching and irritation from trapped oils.


How do we decide on a product?

Let’s say you are looking for an adhesive remover to detach your hair replacement unit, then how do you decide which one to buy from the choices and brands available in the market? You do one of the following:

  • You buy the product your friend uses
  • You buy the product whose advertisement you recently saw / featured your favourite celebrity
  • You buy something suggested by the shop owner
  • You buy the product of a popular brand

Our thought process is generally along these lines. But is this really the correct way of making a choice?


How should we decide on a product?

 Every person has a unique skin. People have different skin types. There are some products which suit us more than others. There are some products which do not suit our skin type; they cause irritation, rashes and so on. Sometimes we may be allergic to certain ingredients used in the product.

Therefore our decision of using a product should be based on:

  • Our skin type: We should choose a product that is suitable to our skin.
  • Ingredients used in the product: We should study the list of ingredients used in the product carefully to avoid having an allergic reaction to it.

 We must also be careful that we try to avoid the use of citrus or alcohol based products on the scalp. Now a lot of people argue about the benefits of using citrus based products especially as cleansers. They argue on the following points:

  • It is an antioxidant
  • It regenerates the skin, improves its texture and lightens its tone
  • It exfoliates the skin i.e. it removes dead skin cells in the pores of the skin
  • It delays the process of aging

 Now I am not saying that citrus is bad for your skin, it is more beneficial to consume it in your diet than to use it for skin care. I re-iterate the point, Citrus and alcohol are powerful astringents. Astringents are products which help our tissues to shrink and bind together. They are used in medicines and also a wide variety of beauty and skin care products. Before we point out some of the negative points of citrus or alcohol based products on the skin, lets take a look at what they CAN do for your skin.


Benefits of Astringents in skin care:

  • It closes open pores
  • It removes dirt clogged in the pores
  • It reduces acne and excess oil from the skin
  • It helps in healing scars and cuts
  • Astringents help to prevent fungal infections

 Astringents are not good for people with a dry skin. If your skin type is dry then one must avoid using such products. They cause irritation of the skin. This may be mild for most but may be extremely acute for others. Thus, people with dry skin should be careful that there are no astringents like citrus or alcohol in their skin care products especially a combination of the two together. That can be very harmful for their skin.

 People with oily skin generally prefer to use products which have astringents as an ingredient. Why? Well because:

  • In oily skin astringents reduce acne
  • They help in healing pimples and prevent or reduce scars

 But even people with oily skin should keep the use of astringents like citrus and alcohol for skin care to a minimum, unless they have a medical condition or have been prescribed to do so by a dermatologist. This is because astringent makes the skin dry. The skin loses its natural moisture. The pH balance of the skin is disturbed.

 Thus they should not be used regularly and especially not used as cleansers for removing make up or to remove the adhesive which holds a fake moustache or the wig or toupee in place. Alcohol and methanol are prime offenders. We should be vigilant of what ingredients are used in our products for use directly on our skin.


Regular or prolonged use of astringents causes the following :

  • Irritation of the skin. Sometimes it irritates the lower surfaces of the skin, and the damage done is so negligent that we may not notice it or do not even pay proper attention to it until it becomes too late and due to prolonged exposure it becomes worse.
  • It may destroy collagen and cause cells to mutate
  • The skins surface is weakened
  • In oily skin it causes imbalance in pH levels and thus to restore it our body goes into an overdrive of producing hormones to restore the pH balance. This causes oily skin to become worse. It also leads to enlargement of the pores of the skin.
Blistered Scalp | Seborrhoeic Dermatitis
Seborrhoeic dermatitis caused by trapped oils


 If we do not take proper care of our skin we may also risk exposing ourselves to Irritant Contact Dermatitis (ICD). ICD is the inflammation of the skin. This could be due to a single factor or it may be multi factorial. It may be due to an allergic reaction to a particular ingredient or a toxic product and/or due to climatic, environmental, mechanical or thermal factors. This skin condition is highly variable.

 It may be acute in some cases or cause mild scaling, dryness, hyper irritation, blisters, reddening and other skin problems. ICD in its acute form is cause by a single factor and it has multi factorial causes in its chronic form. Acute form is very painful. It causes stringing and burning sensations in the skin.



It is very difficult to pin point the exact cause of ICD without detailed analysis of the patient’s history, hobbies, work and home environment and chemicals or particles he may be exposed to. Even after detailed study the response of the skin may be non-specific. It may be mistaken for a simple allergy. Our hands are more prone to ICD.

Therefore we must not take skin care lightly. We must ensure that we are investing in the right products. We must take a proper diet and have proper sleep hours for a healthy skin. Even if we use any products which have citrus or alcohol we should try to keep their use to a minimum and avoid using products which have both of these together.


With the range of available products for use in hair replacement procedures, it is vital that you check both the MSDS and label for the specific product in question. Wearing hair doesn’t have to be a tedious procedure if the correct products are used during removal, cleansing and attachment.

 We always advise against the use of citrus or alcohol to remove adhesive from your scalp.

 Let us protect our body’s armour from irritation and harmful exposure. A healthy skin makes for an attractive and beautiful person.

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