Do you ever feel like your child’s hair is a magnet for gum?

Well, don’t worry — there are ways to get the sticky gunk out of their hair without resorting to an emergency session in your bathroom “salon.”

How to remove chewing gum from hair without using scissors“Parents often think the only way to remove gum from the hair is to cut it out. Fortunately, common items from your pantry can do a great job at removing the gum — and sparing an impromptu haircut,” says board-certified dermatologist Paradi Mirmirani, MD, FAAD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco.

To remove chewing gum without damaging the hair, Dr Mirmirani recommends you follow these steps:
  1. Find a jar of creamy style peanut butter or a vegetable oil, such as olive oil.
  2. Cover the gum completely with peanut butter or oil using your fingers or an old toothbrush. With peanut butter, the oils in the product make the chewing gum base stiffer and less sticky.
  3. Wait a few minutes to allow the product to work.
  4. Remove the gum from the hair. (Vegetable oil is especially useful when removing gum from eyebrows or eyelashes.)
  5. Wash your child’s hair as normal.
Oil is the cure

Other sources suggest similar oil-based materials — everything from mayonnaise to butter to mineral oil — but the net effect is the same.

UCSB ScienceLine, from the University of California Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory, offer a little more information about how the oil helps:

Gum is a hydrophobic material – it doesn’t want to dissolve in water. Unfortunately, gum is also very sticky. So if it gets stuck in your hair, and you can’t use water to get it out, how do you get it out? The answer would be to use another hydrophobic material! And it turns out that one class of materials that is very hydrophobic is fats and oils. And this is precisely what peanut butter is made of!

Remove gum from your hair or your child’s hair (video)


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Myria, originally launched in 1998, strives to deliver more conversation, and less gossip. More intelligence, less eye-rolling. More acceptance, less judgment. And throughout the site: more needle, less haystack. Through life's ups, downs, and everything in between, we want to encourage you, support you, and help guide you. The team behind Myria understands that status updates and selfies never tell the whole story, and that we all have stuff to deal with, and that's nothing you need to hide here. Beyond "been there, done that" - every day, we're still there and still doing it. That's how we know: You've got this.


About: Photo of the peanut butter gum treatment thanks to The Mighty Tim Inconnu // The American Academy of Dermatology, founded in 1938, is committed to advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails. For more information, contact the Academy at 1-888-462-DERM (3376) or aad.org.

Original publication date: Oct. 8, 2013

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