Because their whole purpose is to clean and rejuvenate hair, most people don’t think twice about shampoo chemicals, but they should. Many shampoos are made simply to produce a clean effect, when in reality they damage follicles, harm skin, and in extreme cases can lead to hair loss. Everyone desires a clean and healthy head of hair, so everyone should examine their bottles and know some of the dangerous chemicals that may be found there.
- Parabens are added to shampoos to give them a longer shelf life. What work well as preservatives do nothing for health: they’re often irritants to the scalp and have been found to imbalance hormones.
- Diethanolamine DEA and Cocamide DEA are added to shampoos to produce the lathering effect. This seems unnecessary when tests have proven it dries out hair. Worse, when sitting on a shelf, the chemicals can decay into a cancer-causing toxin over a prolonged period of time.
- Formaldehyde has a more common name but fortunately a bit less common in shampoos. Those that contain it should be avoided: it too is a toxic substance that after a long period of exposure has been proven to cause cancer, respiratory problems, and in shampoos, outright hair loss.
- Another common “lathering” chemical is sodium laurel sulfate—effective in producing foam, dangerous in any application to the skin or hair. A natural irritant, it attacks follicles and can damage them so badly they fall out and never grow back. The inclusion of it and similar chemicals seems ludicrous, but many shampoo companies continue to use it, and consumers deserve to know.