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Time to Switch Shampoos…These Popular Brands May Be Causing Hair Loss

Do you know what’s in your shampoo? It might be time to take a closer look at that ingredient list and take a deeper dive into what certain chemicals may be doing to your hair. 

In a recent class-action lawsuit against TRESemmé, it was alleged that a certain ingredient in their Keratin Smooth Color Shampoo may be causing scalp irritation and hair loss. DMDM hydantoin, a chemical that is used in many hair products and cosmetics, is a preservative that protects products from growing harmful bacteria and fungi. When in contact with water, however, DMDM hydantoin can release formaldehyde: a major irritant and carcinogen. 

The plaintiff in the lawsuit claims that her scalp became irritated, her hair became brittle and patches of hair fell out after just a few uses of TRESemmé’s Keratin Smooth Color Shampoo. This case has caught the attention of the public as consumers begin to question the effects of their shampoo and the sketchy chemicals that may be hiding in ingredient lists. 

But what do the experts have to say? 

The Food and Drug Administration allows for a certain amount of DMDM hydantoin to be in cosmetic products. However, the FDA also acknowledges that exposure to formaldehyde over time is likely to lead to allergic reactions. There is an enormous disparity between the FDA’s regulations, and in the meantime, consumers may be washing their hair with dangerous products daily. 

It is important that brands balance cost with quality ingredients. With so many other safer preservatives, it is unclear why brands would continue to use an ingredient that can lead to allergic reactions among consumers. Brands should not be sacrificing consumer health for cheaper products, nor should they sweep potential harm their products could cause under the rug. If the FDA is not willing to limit the use of DMDM hydantoin, it is up to the public to make changes with their dollars and make the switch to a different shampoo. 

Due to negative public attention, TRESemmé has removed DMDM hydantoin from their Keratin Smooth products. But other brands are not so eager to follow suit. This list includes OGX, Pantene, Herbal Essences, AXE, Dove and many other brands

If you want to make the switch to a brand that doesn’t use DMDM hydantoin, look to brands such as Attitude, Everyone, Avalon Organics, Head and Shoulders, Nurture My Body and Shea Moisture. 

It is still unclear if the amount of DMDM hydantoin present in hair products is enough to cause a negative reaction in every consumer over time, but it may be better to be safe than sorry. With so many other shampoo brands on the market, why not pick one that is formaldehyde-free? Your hair might just thank you later. 

Olivia Cohen is a Communication student at The Ohio State University.
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