Can Using These Common Shampoos Be Harmful to Your Health?
Right now, everyone is focused on the dangers of catching COVID-19, and rightfully so. But, the coronavirus is certainly not the only thing out there that could be harmful to your health. In fact, now that we are all spending so much more time at home, you need to be aware of some dangerous products that may be lurking in your own home!
For example, did you know that some shampoos that you and your family use every day, could be harmful to your health?
Conventional shampoos are filled with tons of toxic chemicals that have been proven to be harmful to humans. Furthermore, the health and beauty industry is poorly regulated, so there is very little that prevents soap and shampoo manufacturers from using a host of toxic dyes and chemicals in their products -- and it doesn't take long for what goes on our skin, to go in our skin.
If you are like most people, you probably shampoo your hair a few times a week and may not realize the toxic mix you are absorbing through your skin. When you shampoo your hair, the 20 blood vessels, 650 sweat glands, and 1,000 nerve endings of your scalp soak in the toxins. When toxins are absorbed through your skin, they bypass your liver and enter the bloodstream and tissues directly, with no filtering.
Try reading the ingredients on your shampoo bottle before you use it next time. You will soon feel you are reading an assignment in Latin or chemistry class. Many of those long-winded chemical names are known carcinogens, such as Diethanolamine (DEA).
DEA is a wetting agent used to create a rich lather that many consumers expect in their shampoo. DEA reacts with other chemicals in the shampoo and can create an extremely potent carcinogen called NDEA (nitrosodiethanolamine).
To eliminate your exposure to NDEA avoid these ingredients:
- Cocamide DEA or Cocamide Diethanolamine
- DEA Lauryl Sulfate or Diethanolamine Lauryl Sulfate
- Lauramide DEA or Lauramide Diethanolamine
- Linoleamide DEA or Linoleamide Diethanolamine
- Oleamide DEA or Oleamide Diethanolamine
- Any product containing TEA or Triethanolamine
Other highly toxic chemicals in shampoos include: Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, Formaldehyde (the chemical used to embalm corpses) and Propylene Glycol, which is used in car antifreeze!
So How Do I Find Safe Products for My Family?
Research the company you are buying products from. Go to their website, look up their mission statement, and check out their product lines. Are they using synthetic ingredients or organic? Do they offer third party testing or product certification?
The most important thing you can do to protect your family from toxins is to learn how to read labels. This can be a challenge, since many ingredients are listed by a chemical name. Two great resources to help you get started are EWG’s Skin Deep database and Ruth Winter’s book A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients, which has a wealth of information.
Understand that certain terms can be ambiguous. There is no federal regulation for the word natural. So just because something states it is natural, doesn’t mean it is safe. Furthermore, “all-natural” and “organic” are not the same. Natural can mean the product was derived from a natural source, while the term organic means that the plant was grown without the use of toxic chemicals and pesticides. However, just because some organic products were used, doesn’t mean the entire product is organic.
You can find safe and non-toxic health and beauty product out there, it just can take some work – but to paraphrase the tag line of a famous beauty manufacturer – “your health is worth it.”
By Cynthia Lechan-Goodman