Shampoo is supposed to clean and nourish our hair, right? Well, it’s a nice ideal, but the reality is a different story. Some of the most popular shampoo brands are riddled with hormone-disrupting chemicals that could lead to hair loss, skin problems and even reproductive diseases. Here’s what you need to know.
Approximately 49% of women will be affected by hair loss throughout their lives, while 40% of men will notice significant hair loss by the age of 35 – and while genetics play a major role in these figures, many cases involve environmental and lifestyle factors. On a daily basis, we’re exposed to toxins – from the air to our food, it’s all around us. These toxins can throw our hormones off balance and leave us vulnerable to early hair loss. While some things are difficult to avoid – like the car pollution many of us have to walk through – other things can be controlled. Our shampoo, for instance, is a major contributor to toxins in our body – many of the most popular brands are loaded with chemicals known to infiltrate our body and cause chaos. Here’s what to look out for.
Overuse and scalp irritation
Using too much shampoo or washing your hair too frequently can strip the scalp of its natural oils, which can cause the hair to become dry and brittle. This can lead to breakage and hair loss over time. Certain shampoos – particularly the popular brands we see lining the supermarket shelves – can cause irritation to the scalp, which can damage the hair follicles and lead to hair loss.
Harsh chemicals and hormonal imbalances
Some shampoos contain harsh chemicals that can damage the hair follicles and cause hair loss. These chemicals include sulphates, parabens and formaldehyde. Shampoos may also contain ingredients that can disrupt hormonal balance in the body, which can lead to hair loss. Research found that those who avoid parabens, triclosan and fragrances in their products were 50% more likely to have fewer toxic chemicals in their body. These chemicals are known as endocrine disruptors as they affect our hormones, from the reproductive system to the thyroid. Parabens are one of the most common endocrine disruptors used as preservatives in shampoo and other products. They make for a cheap and quick solution for producers – but for consumers? They get absorbed into the body easily. Research shows that parabens raise the risk for infertility, psychological issues and cancer.
What to look out for: Paraben can masquerade as methylparaben, propylparaben, isoparaben and butylparaben. Be sure to steer clear of these!
What to use instead
Opting for “clean” shampoo is one of your best options to reduce your intake of these chemicals. “Clean” simply means products made without those inflammatory ingredients like the following:
- Phthalates – this is a kind of plastic
- Mineral oil
- Retinyl palmitate
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