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6 Known Side Effects of Rice Water on Hair

Nothing in excess is good. While there are several rice water benefits for hair and skin, this natural ingredient has side effects too. Read on to know more about rice water side effects.

6 min read
6 Known Side Effects of Rice Water on Hair

Rice water is a natural hair treatment known to improve your hair. It is made by soaking rice in water and then straining the rice out. This remaining water contains nutrients, including vitamins B and E, minerals, and amino acids.

There are a lot of benefits associated with rice water. Those who prefer it claim that it aids in moisture, taming frizz, and preventing split ends. Not to miss promoting organic hair growth and offering some anti-aging defense.
Can rice water damage your hair? The answer is yes, possibly. Though the rice water hair treatment is trending now, it could still adversely affect your hair if you're not careful. This article highlights the side effects of rice water on hair.

Side Effects of Rice Water on Hair

Rice water is a budget-friendly skin and hair treatment option. However, if you don't use it mindfully, you may encounter some side effects of rice water on skin and hair. To keep you informed, we've listed below some side effects of rice water on hair.

1. The Effect of Protein Overload

Rice water is rich and abundant in proteins for hair health. For most individuals, it works just fine. However, if you have hair with low porosity, you may experience the side effects of rice water. This is because proteins will stick to your hair if you have a low porosity hair type that doesn't absorb.

In contrast, if you have a highly porous hair type, your hair will smoothly absorb the proteins from rice water, making it stronger and healthier. In addition, the proteins attached to your hair may hamper other hair treatments from nourishing your hair follicles, rendering them useless. An additional effect is that the proteins harden with time, resulting in dry, brittle hair.

Does this mean that rice water hair products are not good? No. It simply means that if you have low-porosity hair, moderation is the key to using this protein treatment successfully.

2. It Can Worsen a Dry Scalp

The benefits are indeed many for those who use rice water on their scalp. However, some use it more frequently, leaving it on for a longer period as far as keeping it on overnight or not rinsing it.

In fact, your hair will absorb all of the nutrients of rice water within the first 30 minutes. After that, you will only expose your scalp to undesirable chemical interactions, which may not turn out well.

Remember, the yeast overgrowth that causes a dry, flaky scalp will only get worse if you expose that to all of the starch and sugars in the rice water for a long time. In addition, dry, flaky skin with redness and rashes can be the side effects of rice water on the face. Therefore, if you have a severely dry scalp and dry skin, limit yourself to two washes per week and see how your hair and scalp react.

3. Strange Smell of Rice Water

One of the side effects of rice water is its strange yet strong, pungent odor. Fermented rice water is trending in many professional hair products. Although it has some additional benefits, fermented rice water for hair has side effects.

Additionally, using fermented rice water might make your hair stiff and hard. Add a few drops of your preferred essential oil to your homemade rice water mixture to conceal this smell. However, results may vary.

The correct ratio is key; too little may not impact, and excess might result in a pungent smell. If the smell of fermented rice water bothers you, keep your rice water cold and use it immediately.

4. You See The Changes Over Time

While some treatments give quick results, rice water usually takes a month or longer to get any significant improvements. Therefore, for the best results, you must regularly use it.

A rice water treatment is not the best option if you lack the patience to wait for results or aren't committed to using it consistently from week to week.

5. Efficacy is Not Entirely Scientific Yet

Research done on the effectiveness of rice water was decades back and does not offer substantial proof of its efficacy. While this does not mean that applying rice water to promote hair growth is ineffective, it does indicate that numerous factors necessitate additional research.

For example:

  • Effects of rice water on different hair types
  • Side effects of rice water on skin and scalp
  • Effects of rice water treatment on various scalp conditions

The bottom line is that even though there is some data to support the benefits of rice water, you will still need to experiment with how to make the most of this hair solution.

6. Arsenic Can be Found in Rice Water

Not all rice contains arsenic. But in western countries, rice is grown in cotton fields, where farmers use insecticides containing arsenic on the cotton fields. These insecticide leftovers get absorbed into the water that nourishes the rice. For some reason, brown rice absorbs nearly twice as much arsenic as white rice.

To reduce arsenic exposure, you can substitute Basmati rice, imported from nations without an arsenic issue, like India. Ultimately, you know your hair well, so go ahead with caution while being brave enough to try rice water. You may find your new favorite hair treatment!

Can Rice Water Damage Your Hair

Yes, rice water can damage your hair.

  • The starch in rice water can react and damage your hair locks and skin by building upon them after rinsing. The fermented starchy water is acidic, which, when used in the right amount, restores and balances the pH of your hair. But, if used in excess, it can damage the overall condition of your hair and skin.
  • Rice water can make your hair and skin feel dry and stiff. This effect is observed due to the protein content of rice water. The protein molecules in rice are too large to soak into your hair. These proteins coat the surface of the hair, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
  • Using too much too often can cause rice water side effects like blocking your hair from receiving the right amount of moisture. That’s why, to be on the safer side, rice water for hair treatment should be used in moderation.

You can decide the frequency of using rice on your hair according to the porosity. We have discussed it ahead in this article.

Top Side Effects of Rice Water on Hair That You NEED To Know

  • It can make your hair frizzy and brittle
  • It leaves a foul, pungent smell
  • The coating of protein stacked on your hair makes it harder for moisture and nutrients to pass through it
  • It causes dry scalp due to the overproduction of yeast in your scalp. The starch content in rice water mixes with yeast and can make your hair condition worse
  • Adding too many essential oils in the rice water concoction in large quantities may prevent other nutrients from getting absorbed in your hair follicles
  • Frequent use of rice water treatment can damage the texture of your hair  

Top Side Effects of Rice Water on Skin That You NEED To Know

  • Excessive use of rice water can cause dry, flaky, and itchy skin
  • It can even cause some adverse effects like red rashes and streaks on the skin
  • If there is an open wound on the skin, the application of rice water can incur infection
  • It triggers skin irritation for people with allergies to rice

Top Unknown Side Effects of Rice Water on Face

  • People with rice allergies experience swelling in the face and throat and difficulty in breathing after rice water treatment
  • It can cause itchiness, redness, and dry patches on the face when not used as per recommendation
  • It can make your face look puffy for a couple of days
  • It sometimes enhances more facial hair growth than normal and makes your face look flaky and dry

Can I Leave Rice Water in My Hair?

The most commonly asked question by hair care enthusiasts is can I leave rice water in my hair? The answer is tricky. The rice water can be used as an overnight hair mask. However, be careful not to leave it on for longer than 12 hours as there is a chance that bacteria will grow in the rice water, which can cause scalp itching and flaking.

In fact, within the first 30 minutes, your hair will absorb all of the nutrients in the rice water. But, after that, you'll expose your scalp to potentially harmful chemical interactions between your scalp and hair roots. Thus, if you don't use it mindfully, the side effects of rice water can manifest as a dry, flaky scalp.

To get more beneficial effects of rice water, prepare it following these steps.

Rice should be rinsed and strained until the water is clear. Purified water and clean rice should be combined in a dish and stirred until the water becomes hazy. Rice should be strained. Rice water should be kept in a glass jar with a lid. For 12 to 24 hours, let it ferment at room temperature.

All the vitamins and minerals that nourish your hair are released during this process. For better results, utilize your rice water as soon as possible.

So, Are the Side Effects of Rice Water for Face & Hair Worth the Benefits?

Will rice water yield miraculous hair treatments? The answer is maybe. Like numerous other hair treatments and products, this may work exceptionally well for one person and may not perform the same way for another.
If you want to try rice water, it is best to consider the condition, porosity, texture, and type of your hair. It's worthwhile to test rice water on your hair a few times to see if it works. If you experience any side effects of rice water on hair, you can look for other options.


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