THE PRODUCTS WE USE IN OUR HAIR MATTERS TO OUR HEALTH
Every year, black women spend millions of dollars on hair care products, and research shows that it is increasing every year. The concern is that not all hair care products are created equally with our best interest in mind regarding our health. “Women of color use more beauty products and are disproportionately exposed to worrisome chemicals compared to white women,” according to a study I read on ewg.org. Environmental Working Group is a great site with lots of information on harmful chemicals and how they negatively impact our health and the environment.
“60% of ingredients we put onto our skin penetrates the bloodstream within 15 minutes.” - Lavera-
“60% of the ingredients we put onto our skin penetrates the bloodstream within 15 minutes.” How daunting is this? This is more reason for us to read to the labels so that we are conscious of the ingredients we might be exposing our health to. I know sometimes the ingredients that are listed are hard to read and are unfamiliar.
I am grateful to be alive at this point in history where black women have access to hundreds of products consciously made with natural ingredients that we can read and recognize. There is a wide selection of safe products available for every hair texture and needs without negatively exposing our health and wellbeing to toxic chemicals.
DOES YOUR HAIR PRODUCTS CONTAIN THESE TOXIC INGREDIENTS?
Here is a list of the toxic chemicals found in many hair care products that you should be aware of and the negative impact they may cause on our health. I will also share tips for natural hair care solutions that are easy to incorporate into your hair care practice.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): Found in the majority of shampoos to create lather and bubbles. These sulfates are generally derived from petroleum which causes eye and scalp irritation and tangled hair.
Diethanolamine (DEA) and Triethylamine (TEA): Used as foaming agents, synthetic emulsifiers. They are highly acidic and cause allergic reactions, eye irritation and dryness of hair and skin. DEA and TEA are ammonia compounds, which are potent carcinogens, can also strip away vital amino acids.
Parabens (methyl, propyl, butyl and ethyl): Found in shampoos, commercial moisturizers, shaving gels, makeup, toothpaste, the list goes on to prolong their shelf life. Parabens are estrogenic, which are disruptive for normal hormone function; exposure has been linked to breast cancer and causes skin and allergic reactions.
Sodium Chloride (salt or sulphate): Used in many brands of shampoos as a cleansing agent. Sulphate strips the hair of its natural oils and color and leaves it feeling dry and brittle over time.
Mineral Oil: Found in many hair care products as a moisturizing agent. Mineral oil decreases the skin cell’s ability to exchange nutrients and waste products. Irritations to the eyes, skin and respiratory system are common symptoms.
Formaldehyde (methylene glycol): Found in shampoo, conditioner, hair straightening product. Causes allergic reactions, headaches, immune dysfunction, carcinogen, irritates mucous membranes.
To avoid using hair care products with toxic ingredients, keep a list of these chemicals on your phone. This way, you can cross-check your list with the ingredients listed on the product before you purchase.