What Would Really Happen During A Nuclear War? | Unveiled
Unveiled

In the unlikely event of an apocalyptic nuclear explosion, make sure it's not a hair-wash day.

While there'd be much bigger things on your mind, the US Department of Homeland Security has offered some useful advice, which includes avoiding conditioner to your hair to prevent significant radiation exposure.

First things first, if one has been exposed to a nuclear explosion, they should seek shelter – preferably brick or concrete to "avoid radiation". People must also avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth.

Once safe and inside, they should remove and conceal away contaminated clothing and hop into a warm shower. They can use soap but are warned against scrubbing too hard, which could break the skin and act as a protective barrier.

Washing hair with shampoo is a critical step in the decontamination process, as this removes nuclear fallout.

However, conditioner is to be avoided.

The bizarre but fascinating reason is that the substance can cause radioactive material to stick to your hair.

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter


iStock

Perry Romanowski, a cosmetics chemist, previously explained to NPR: "Unlike shampoo, conditioners are meant to stay behind on your hair."

There are particular compounds in conditioners called cationic surfactants and polymers. If a radioactive particle gets under a damaged scale of hair protein, the conditioner can pull the scale down to create a smooth strand of hair and trap the contaminated particle inside.

Other products should be avoided in the unlikely event.

"Skin lotions or moisturising lotions or colour cosmetics that have oils — these go on your skin and can attract dust or radiation particles from the air. So that would be a concern," he added.

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)