What’s the buzz about shampoo and hair loss?

Many brands of shampoos and conditioners promise results such as smoother hair, less frizz, tailored to protect color, increase volume, less dandruff and more. But what if your shampoo is actually damaging your hair, scalp, and health?

A class action lawsuit was filed in June against beauty and personal care giant Johnson and Johnson. He claims that some of his products have caused hair loss and scalp irritation. In this class action lawsuit, the plaintiffs purchased products that “would smooth, nourish, soften, repair and / or revive {their} hair,” the lawsuit documents. Unbeknownst to the complainants, the products contain an ingredient or a series of ingredients that cause hair loss and / or scalp irritation.

Another class action was filed in November against Unilever, owner of TRESemmé products. This class action lawsuit alleges that certain TRESemmé products cause hair loss and scalp irritation, despite using the product according to package directions. The “complainant purchased the products because of Unilever’s consistent misrepresentation that the products would straighten her hair and coat it with keratin, a protein naturally present in the hair,” the lawsuit claims. “The products contain an ingredient or a combination of ingredients that causes significant hair loss and / or scalp irritation upon proper application. ”

Related: What is TRESemmé?

Like the Johnson & Johnson class action lawsuit, specific TRESemmé and Unilever shampoos contain DMDM hydantoin – a preservative used in personal care products and cosmetics. It is added to these items to prevent them from spoiling. It’s also an antimicrobial agent, which means it helps prevent and slow the growth of harmful bacteria, yeasts, and fungi. Fungi, yeasts, and bacteria can cause rashes or illnesses. DMDM hydantoin releases low levels of formaldehyde during the shelf life of cosmetics and personal care products to prevent spoilage.

In March, the FDA released an update to its advisory regarding hair straightening products and formaldehyde. Their statement points out that exposure to formaldehyde can have both short and long term health effects. As formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen and causes harmful reactions when absorbed through the skin, the class action lawsuit proposes that it is “a totally unnecessary risk as there are various safer natural alternatives.” In addition, this lawsuit alleges that the defendant failed to properly warn consumers of the dangers and risks of their products, which contain hydantoin DMDM, on their scalp and hair.

In 2012, Johnson & Johnson made a commitment to eliminate formaldehyde from its products by 2015. Johnson & Johnson has fulfilled this commitment. However, in 2016, the personal care giant bought formulated product maker OGX. Instead of eliminating the DMDM ​​hydantoin, she continued to make the OGX shampoo with this formaldehyde donor ingredient.

According to Johnson & Johnson, they carefully select their ingredients and include a list on the product label. Johnson & Johnson shared this statement with TODAY, “At OGX, we are constantly evolving our formulas to improve hair care results and we have not launched any new products containing DMDM ​​hydantoin in recent years. Some of our existing products contain a small amount of DMDM ​​hydantoin, a preservative used to prevent mold growth while the product is in the shower.

If you are concerned about DMDM ​​hydantoin in personal care and cosmetic products, read the product label itself. Just like reading food labels in a grocery store, read your labels carefully. While companies may not add formaldehyde directly to the product, ingredients that release formaldehyde over the shelf life of the product can be added.

Reading the product label is a great way to make sure that you are an informed consumer. Knowing what is in personal care items, including cosmetics and shampoos, is important to protect your health and the health of those around you.

Related: Consumer advocates claim victory in fight against Johnson & Johnson baby powder

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