Have you ever read the ingredients on your shampoo bottle? If you have, you'll know they're not only hard to pronounce, it's hard to decipher what they actually are and what they do. You've heard the common expression 'knowledge is power' and our approach to the products we pile on our hair should be no different. The more we know, the more we can make informed choices about the products we use.
It would be great if all the ingredients in our shampoo were good for us as well as for our hair, but sadly, there may be risks lurking behind them.
Take for example the common shampoo ingredient sodium lauryl sulfate. That's the stuff that makes all those lovely frothy bubbles as you lather the shampoo into your hair. You've seen the adverts right? The beautiful woman standing in the shower lathering up some gorgeous white foam. And naturally, you want to experience the same thing. Problem is, it's this kind of harsh detergent that many commercial shampoo manufacturers use to create that effect.
Hair transplant surgeon Dr. Robert Dorin told The Epoch Times that this ingredient strips hair of its essential oils and breaks down the protein that your hair needs to stay healthy and grow well. They do a great job of cleaning the hair, the problem is they do it perhaps too well.
"Products containing SLS have a cleaning power that is overwhelming, stripping the hair," he said.
EcoWatch warned against using any shampoos that have 'fragrance' written on the packaging - unless it states that its from a natural essential oil. The reason 'fragrance' is such a red flag is that apparently the term is not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, meaning that the ingredients that go into creating the fragrance do not need to be listed on the product packaging.
"So really, if 'fragrance' is listed on an ingredient list, there’s no telling what’s in there. Natural Society even notes that there are more than 3,100 chemicals used by the fragrance industry to concoct these suspicious-sounding additions to your shampoos and conditioners," it warns.
You may also want to consider avoiding parabens, which are essentially preservatives designed to stop bacteria growing in the shampoo that could irritate your eyes or skin. Sounds great right? There has been a lot of intense debate around parabens and how bad they are for us. As Grazia notes, they are actually naturally occurring. The potential problem is that they "mimic the activity of the hormone estrogen in the body's cells, which links them with breast cancer".
The level of risk has not yet been proven and more research needs to be done to establish a definite link between parabens and breast cancer. However, given that many major brands have started offering paraben-free versions of their popular shampoos, we would say 'better safe than sorry' until we know for sure.
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