Expert Reveals Why You Should Never Dry Your Hair With a Public Hand Dryer

A medical expert has shared the reason why you shouldn't be falling for a viral "hack" to achieve Dyson Airwrap curls at home...or in public.

After a viral video suggested beauty lovers can achieve the perfect popular Dyson curls from a public restroom hand dryer, Farhan, a student doctor and founder of Mad Medicine, took to his TikTok to say exactly why you might not want to.

The viral video was posted by TikTok user @kiingliima, gaining over 200,000 likes as she filmed herself dunking her hair into a hand dryer. "Run to y'all public restroom ASAP to get that Dyson Airblade curls," she wrote.

Although the hair spun around in the machine with the blow of air, she did not show the finished result.

Mad Medicine reacted to the tip by striking a blow at the fantasy.

"I hate to be the bearer of bad news," he wrote. "But those hand dryers in public restrooms are extremely disgusting, and there have been studies done on those hand dryers to see if they spread bacteria."

"Spoiler alert: they can spread more bacteria compared to just towels," he concluded.

He's right—various studies over the years have shown hand dryers not only leave more bacteria on the hands than paper towels, but that they potentially "suck up" bacteria from the air and dump it back onto freshly washed hands.

According to a 2021 study published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, high-speed air dryers may actually leave more bacteria and contamination on your hands than paper towels.

The study saw volunteers dry their hands with either a hand dryer or paper towel while wearing an apron before taking varied designated routes around a hospital.

Those who used the hand dryer spread germs to surfaces at a level 10 times higher than those who used paper towels. Plus, there were greater transfers of bacteria to the apron, allowing for even more spread of germs.

Hand dryer
Stock image of a high-speed hand dryer. Getty Images

A 2018 study went even further in an attempt to find out where that bacteria might come from, amid suspicions the machines may suck up bacteria from the bathroom air and dump it back onto clean hands.

Researchers at the University of Connecticut and Quinnipiac University found that petri dishes exposed to bathroom air with hand dryers off grew notably less bacteria than those exposed to air with the hand dryers on.

A Harvard report on the study concluded that the bacteria in the air were likely from one place: the flush of a toilet. When a lidless toilet is flushed, it aerosolizes a fine mist of microbes.

Although most of the bacteria are relatively harmless, it's not exactly the setting spray you might want for your hair.

Updated with new new header, video and image.