Most of us have a favorite brand of shampoo we like to use. The shampoo probably makes your hair shiny and manageable. It may even add volume and body if you have limp, thin hair. Your brand of shampoo may even state on the package that it’s “fortified with natural Vitamin E” or it contains “botanicals to repair damaged hair.” Claims like these can make you think your shampoo is filled with “natural, healthy” ingredients that are good for your hair. But, the truth is, is your shampoo making you sick?
The beauty industry is huge. Worldwide sales of cosmetics and toiletries exceed more than $200 billion a year. The United States alone is responsible for about a fourth of that market, spending more than $45 billion a year.
When you breakdown the beauty industry into categories, the largest is hair care. The next largest is skin care, then fragrances, and bath and shower products. Now that you see how large and diverse the beauty industry actually is, you’ll be able to understand that it moreless regulates itself.
To correctly answer the question, “Is your shampoo making you sick?”, you need to take a look at the ingredients in your bottle of this cleanser. Any toxic chemicals that are in the bottle are going to end up inside your body. Because, chemicals are absorbed through the pores of your skin.
First, if you suffer from allergies or sensitive skin, you need to watch out for fragrances and irritants in the shampoo you use. The fragrances that make hair products smell good are, of course, man-made, and can make you sick. These imitation fragrances are typically produced by using one or more of six hundred chemicals. Some of these chemicals are known to be hazardous.
Besides fragrances that can set off your allergies or irritate sensitive skin, many brands of shampoo contain preservatives. These preservatives either contain formaldehyde or they break down to form it. Some examples of these chemicals that can make you sick include: Quaternium-15, Diazolidinyl urea, Polyethylene Glycol, Imidazolidinyl urea, and Bronopol.
Formaldehyde is a chemical that’s also used in producing pesticides. It’s known to be a carcinogen; carcinogens cause cancer and can make you sick. Other health hazards associated with Formaldehyde are Respiratory ailments, gastrointestinal ailments, problems with the immune system and the nervous system, and, reproductive problems in both male and females.
Since shampoos are meant to remove the excess oil and pollutants from your hair, the main ingredient is some type of cleanser. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is one such cleanser. This chemical, according to the Journal of the American College of Toxicology, has a “degenerative effect on the cell membranes because of its protein denaturing properties.” Sodium Lauryl Sulfate can actually enter and stay in your heart, lungs, liver, and brain cells just from having skin contact with it. This chemical has also been shown to cause damage to the eyes when it came in contact with them.
Diethanolamine (DEA) and Cocamide DEA are two common ingredients in many brands of hair shampoo. They cause the product to foam. The National Toxicology Program (NTP) performed a study about Diethanolamine. It reported in 1998 that DEA can cause nitrosamines to form. What are Nitrosamines? They are carcinogens.
Some of the other ingredients in your hair shampoo that may be making you sick include Methylparaben and Propylparaben. Both parabens are used as preservatives in many beauty products. And, both Methylparaben and Propylparaben are known to irritate skin and affect a person’s hormonal balance.
In some breast cancer tumors that researchers studied, they found the presence of paraben chemicals.
When you see the word “colors” as an ingredient in shampoos and other beauty products, you probably don’t think anything about it. You certainly wouldn’t think that “colors can be making you sick. But, “D&C colors”, which are common ingredients in shampoos, are made from coal tar. Coal tar is known to be a harmful carcinogen.
By now, you should be wondering if your shampoo is actually making you sick. The chemicals listed above are just a few of the many that are often used to make shampoo.
Some chemicals, such as allergens and irritants, produce harmful effects right away. However, the side effects of other harmful chemicals found in shampoos may take years to be known. And even then, cancer, for one example of a disease, isn’t ever associated with the use of certain hair cleansers outside of a laboratory.