Choosing healthier options in the beauty world is not easy or straightforward as some put it. To choose the clean and natural products, you need to be well-versed with the ingredients commonly found in shampoos, hair colour, and treatments. So, let’s talk about the XYZs of haircare you need to avoid.
Although commonly found in skincare, some hair products contain parabens, such as methylparaben and propylparaben. These are preservatives that allow products to survive for months, even years. When you use these products, they can enter your body through your skin. Parabens are known xenoestrogens; they have estrogenic activity in the body. They mimic estrogen by binding to estrogen receptors on cells. A British study conducted in 2004 found traces of five parabens in the breast tissue of 19 out of 20 women studied. The study did not prove a direct relationship between parabens and breast cancer; however, it identified parabens’ ability to penetrate the skin and remain in the tissue. Due to EU regulations, parabens are only usually used in small quantities in mainstream hair products. Parabens also create negative impacts on the environment. Scientific research found parabens in marine mammals for the first time.
Preservatives releasing formaldehyde like quaternium-15, diazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, bronopol, or imidazolidinyl urea can get into your skin and the air you breathe. These are known to cause DNA damage and cancer. It is riskier to inhale and, in liquid form, can be absorbed through the skin. In addition to being carcinogenic, formaldehyde can cause allergic reactions, such as skin irritations and asthma. The EU has a strict regulation on the use of formaldehyde.
Sulphates act as cleansing agents that emulsify and foam up to remove dirt and oil from your scalp and hair. Sulphate-free formulas don’t lather and help keep hair colour from fading. Sulphates are usually present in the form of sodium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate in beauty products. Although, sulphates make good cleaning agents; they can strip your scalp off its natural oils, and even irritate it. They cause hair brittleness and even eczema. As these chemicals can be carcinogenic and irritant, some manufacturers use alternatives such as ammonium laureth sulphate which is gentler. While sulphate-free products take longer to generate a lather effect, they are better options for those battling dry hair.
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