Harmful Shampoo & Conditioner?

June 17, 2017

I'm six months into eating, shopping and thinking differently about what I put into my body.  I am feeling the effects of these changes in my health, and liking the improvement in how I feel and look.  It's week 2 of my ketogenic lifestyle and I see my waist shrinking as I enjoy delicious and easy to prepare meals.  For breakfast: a 1/8 cup of Blue cheese crumbles mixed together with 2 boiled eggs & 6 olives into an egg salad.  Presented on top of a bowl of spinach, garnished with a dollop of salsa and a dash of red wine vinegar.   Delicious!  AND.... most importantly .. My hunger is satiated!  My progress to date:  Dropped 10 lbs, and 1" around my waist just sitting around happily eating my way to better health.

But, I woke up this morning with a question on my mind - what about all the other chemicals that I put on my body?  Do the products I put into my hair also negatively effect my health?  

Short answer - I threw out my shampoo and conditioner!

Problematic ingredients in conventional—and many of the “natural”—shampoos on the market may actual harm our bodies.  Ingredients like:

  • Surfactants.  Commonly used Shampoo & Conditioner surfactants, such as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), cocamidopropyl betaine, and cocamide DEA, pose environmental and human health concerns. 
  • Preservatives. To extend shelf life, shampoos typically contain controversial preservatives, such as parabens, benzyl alcohol, methylisothiazolinone, and methylchloroisothiazonlinone. 
  • Fragrance.  Nice smelling shampoos & conditioners may contain phthalates, which usually hide in “fragrance” or “parfum” in a shampoo ingredients list.
  • Retinyl Palmitate:  A shampoo might contain the probable carcinogen retinyl palmitate, which is a synthetic form of palm oil.


Cancer-Causing Chemicals Found in Baby Shampoo

A study from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found that 32 out of 48 baby bath products they tested -- including some from brand names like Johnson & Johnson -- contained formaldehyde or 1,4-dioxane, both of which are probable carcinogens. And 17 of the baby bath products contained BOTH of the chemicals -- including the top-selling Johnson’s Baby Shampoo and Sesame Street Bubble Bath. Japan and Sweden have banned formaldehyde from personal care products, and the European Union has banned 1,4-dioxane. They’ve even recalled products that were found to contain it.

In the United States, meanwhile, there are no regulatory standards limiting formaldehyde, 1,4-dioxane or, for that matter, virtually any other toxic chemical in personal care products -- not even those for your children.

Just How Many Chemicals Are Children Exposed To?
In an average day, children are exposed to 61 chemicals in personal care products, 27 of which have not been found safe for kids, according to a national survey by theEnvironmental Working Group (EWG). In fact, EWG points out that 77 percent of the ingredients in 1,700 children’s products have never been assessed for safety.

After looking at the labels on my shampoo and conditioner I realized that I have to pay just as much attention to skin products as I do my food.

Since I am not sure what ingredient is harmful, or whether that skin product contains harmful ingredients, I typed it into the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database, and got all the information I needed about whether or not it’s safe.       

After throwing away my shampoo and conditioner I studied the EWG list and found that the MADE SAFE SEAL products were among the lowest risk for harmful ingredients.  

OUT with the Old, IN with the New!

There are no shampoos on the market that are low enough for the made safe seal.  However there are moderate risk products that are identified by risk in the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database.