How to Get EEG Glue out of Hair

patients after they get EEG glue out of their hair

Remove EEG Glue from your hair in about 20 minutes

Whether you’re a patient who is in a sticky situation or an EEG technologist who is hoping to send information to your patients so they can be a little less gooey, these tips will help sticky scalps return to normal. If you have EEG glue leftover in your hair, it’s OK. It happens sometimes and if you follow the steps below your hair will be back to normal soon. This can be read before or after your EEG study has been completed. Here’s how to get EEG glue out of your hair:

What You Need to Remove the EEG Glue

  • Skin-safe oil (coconut oil, argan oil, olive oil, baby oil, etc.)
  • Shampoo
  • Hair Conditioner
  • Acetone (nail polish remover)
  • A brush and/or fine-toothed comb

What Exactly is in my Hair and Why?

Prior to your EEG test beginning, the skin on your scalp will be prepped with a gel. This usually feels like gritty toothpaste, but you probably won’t feel too much of it. This can be removed easily enough with a warm washcloth, and it shouldn’t be sticky.

A water-soluble conductive adhesive may also be applied to the bottom of your electrodes, but again this isn’t the stickiest part. This feels kind of like spreadable butter and is used sparingly.

The challenging thing to remove is the EEG glue. An example of this is the widely used Collodion adhesive. It dries quickly and has a potent smell to it. If you’re getting an ambulatory EEG, collodion could be used because it is strong and will keep your electrodes in place as you go about your daily routine.

EEG tech prepping a patient

Remember: you don’t want to leave EEG glue in your hair after your test because it can be irritating to your scalp and uncomfortable.

  • Step 1: Break Down Most of the EEG Glue Right Away

    An EEG can take place in hospitals, clinics, or even in the homes of patients these days. After the test is complete, technologists might use acetone or collodion remover (if they used collodion) to remove the electrodes. Acetone dissolves the EEG glue temporarily but the glue can harden again once the acetone has evaporated. Collodion remover is an oil-based agent that will break down the glue.

    Ask your EEG technologist for help removing the glue. Glue removal is a part of their job! If you are a patient, don’t be shy about telling them you still feel glue in your hair. Most EEG technologists will do their absolute best to remove all of the EEG glue from your hair.

    If after acetone or an oil-based remover you still feel hard tacky spots, ask for some more on a cotton ball that you can rub against the area.

  • Step 2: If You Got Home and Found Some Leftover EEG Glue

    If you were relieved your EEG test was over but got home and found some sticky spots, don’t worry. It’s time to use the skin-safe oil. Using the oil of your choice, work some into the sites where electrodes were placed using your fingertips. Give yourself a nice scalp massage to help separate any sticky remnants that were missed. If you’re having difficulty loosening the EEG glue from your hair, you can leave the oil in your hair for a while. A conditioner can also be used in lieu of oil. You can do this yourself or have someone help you.

    Typically most of the glue will be loosened and ready to be washed out by this point. Rinse and wash your hair with shampoo as you normally would. Be prepared to encounter some extra hair tangles or knots in your wet hair. Using your comb or brush with some conditioner starting at the end of your hair, work your way up to the scalp and detangle. Comb out the glue until you feel satisfied. A fine-toothed comb may be more effective at catching every last clump.

  • Step 3: Be Kind to Your Hair

    Your hair should be glue-free by now, but if for some reason it isn’t – don’t panic.

    Don’t use scorching hot water or resort to cutting EEG glue out of your hair if some remains. These will not help you. Hot water won’t help, and cutting your hair will be difficult and possibly painful. If necessary repeat using oil and shampoo/conditioner without overdoing it and drying out your scalp.

    In the event that you are scheduled for another EEG test in the near future (for example, later in the same day), the technologist may not use an oil-based remover and ask that you don’t either. This way, the next set of electrodes will stick to your skin and your next test will be a success.

    While most EEG technologists aren’t hair stylists, they can at least help you remove EEG glue from your hair. It may be up to you to return your hair to the style you had before.
    If you are no stranger to EEGs, you may want to see our article on sleeping comfortably during your next EEG.

    This educational content has been brought to you by Lifelines Neuro.