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5 Toxins Commonly Found in Popular Shampoos

5 Toxins Commonly Found in Popular Shampoos

People are more concerned now more than ever about the ingredients they are putting in and on their bodies. Companies producing shampoos and conditioners have faced much criticism for the toxins found in products and the lack of transparency about those ingredients.

Consumers trust the government to make sure that every product available in supermarkets is safe for use. However, there are many grey areas and loopholes allowing businesses to misinform customers without technically breaking any laws.

In this scenario, it is best to educate yourself about the harmful toxins in most shampoos that should be avoided if you are planning to minimize your exposure to toxic ingredients. Here are some of the most common harmful components found in most shampoo:

  1. Sulfates (SLS and SLES)

Sulfates are chemical detergents present in your shampoo to clean the dirt and oil on your scalp. The problematic part about sulphates is that they do their job a little too well; they end up drying out your scalp and removing the healthy balance of oils that are beneficial for your hair.

Almost all popular shampoo brands have Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES). These two ingredients allow the foam in our shampoo to form and help create a satisfying lather. These ingredients also lead to irritation and abrasion on the skin and hair. SLES and SLS are well-known carcinogens and may be responsible for a list of cancers and may also include active agents that disrupt the balance of hormones in your body, such as dioxane, which is a carcinogen linked to kidney failure. Shampoos having these two ingredients should be avoided at all costs.

  1. Parabens and Triclosan

Parabens are widely present in most shampoo brands out there due to their preservative qualities that give the product a longer shelf-life. They fall under the category of xenoestrogens, and their use can cause an imbalance in hormones such as estrogen, which might lead to hormonal disorders or even increase the chances of developing cancer.

Triclosan is an antibacterial agent also added to shampoos for its preservative qualities. It can be harmful in the same manner as xenoestrogens and can cause hormonal imbalances, weight loss, and cell reproduction problems.

  1. Phthalates

Phthalates are added to shampoos and conditioners to give them a fragrance to make them more attractive and desirable. The term fragrance is very wide and vague and allows manufacturers to hide toxic ingredients under it. Many of these phthalates are plasticizers which have been linked to hormonal problems, specifically in children.

Unless the fragrance in your shampoo comes from natural oils, it will be harmful to you in one way or another. There are over 3000 agents that are used by the fragrance industry, and there's no telling which one is used in your shampoo of choice if 'fragrance' is the only term used to specify them. So, if an ingredient on your shampoo says 'fragrance,' it is best to steer clear of that brand.

  1. Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is a toxic chemical that has traditionally been used as an embalming agent on dead bodies. Due to its morbid nature, the word formaldehyde is rarely (if ever) included on the list of ingredients you can find behind your shampoo. Since companies are legally bound to declare the ingredient, it is masked behind other names such as Diazolidinyl urea, Imidazolidinyl urea, Quaternium-15, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, glyoxal, oxaldehyde, etc.

These ingredients have been linked to lung cancers, leukemia, asthma, reproductive problems, and immunological toxicity. This agent is so dangerous that is has been banned in Japan and Sweden.

  1. Alcohol

Alcohol is also another common component found in most shampoos. Alcohol presence in your shampoo tends to dry out your scalp and hair. There are some alcohol types such as Cetearyl and Stearyl, which are not that harmful to your hair and may actually aid your scalp in retaining moisture. Other alcohols such as propanol and isopropyl are not good and may result in brittle hair and increased hair fall. The higher up the ingredient is on the label, the higher its concentration in the shampoo, so be sure to pick one that does not overly dry out your hair.

Other Toxins to Look Out For

Recent research on Methylisothiazoline has exposed its harmful effects on the human body. It is revealed to have adverse effects on the neurology of humans, such as Alzheimer's, and can increase the risk of development of brain defects in unborn children.

Polyethylene Glycol or PEG is also considered a harmful toxin for the human body. It has been termed a 'developmental toxicant,' meaning that it may end up causing interference with human development. It is also a carcinogen and known to be contaminated by dioxane.

Retinyl palmitate is an agent that often causes irritation, peeling, scaling, redness, and itching on the skin. It has also been linked to cancer, reproductive issues, and organ toxicity.

The Options You Have

The good thing about being well-informed is that you are now aware of the choices you are making, and the alternatives available to you. Do not let this article scare you to the point where you never want to wash your hair again. Instead, use this newfound information to conduct your own research and find a suitable alternative for yourself.

There are many non-toxic shampoos available out there that are all-natural and claim to be nothing but beneficial for your body. It is necessary to scrutinize their ingredients as well and only choose the best for yourself.

If you are someone who enjoys DIYs and homemade alternatives to packaged products, you can even create your own shampoo at home! It is easy, cheap, and much better for your body than anything else you can find in a bottle on the market shelves.

You do have options! Aside from Monat, there are much cleaner options these days but


products do NOT contain:

/ Parabens / Cyclic Silicones / Phthalates / Plastic Microbeads / Harmful Colors / Harmful Fragrances / Animal Testing

Sulfates and parabens: Dove, Garnier Fructics, herbal essences,

Methylisothiazoline: Found in Head & Shoulders, Suave, Pantene, and Clairol

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