Top 5 Chemicals in Hair Care products

Hair Care

Top 5 Chemicals in Hair Care products

Hair Care

Do you sagaciously exercise your right to information as a consumer? You are careful about the food that you eat but do you give enough care to what goes into your skin or hair through the various ‘beauty’ products you use?

Every product has a listing of its ingredients on its label but we hardly bother to read it. One should be aware of what is being used on the body on the name of beauty or health care. Companies make use of varied preservatives and chemicals to increase the quality and shelf life of their products. These chemicals often have adverse effects on the body which we consumers seldom realize.

Many of these products which we use for enhancing the beauty of our hair, might actually be the cause of the damage.

Here am listing down the top 5 chemicals seen in hair care products.


  1. Parabens– Parabens are widely used in products like shampoos, conditioners, hair    sprays etc. These are highly effective and inexpensive preservatives which prevent the growth of yeast, bacteria, moulds and their likes in these products.

The problem with parabens is that some forms of Parabens are found to mimic estrogen in the body. Estrogen is a hormone which plays a role in the development of breast cancer. Few biopsy samples of malignant breast tissues were found to have a certain concentration of paraben in them which points towards it having a role in cancer. So, to be on the safer side, look out for some natural products or go for cosmetics which say that they are ‘Paraben free’.

  1. SLS and SLESSLS ( SODIUM LAURYL SULPAHTE ) and SLES ( SODIUM LAURETH SULPHATE ) are again an effective but very inexpensive source of detergents or surfactants used as foaming agents in personal care products. These are the same compounds which are used in industries as engine degreasers etc. They act with their corrosive and irritant action and are used for their cleansing and emulsifying properties.

An improper usage of shampoos containing SLS or SLES leads to hair damage, drying and fall. Improper rinsing of the shampoo leaves the hair follicles with deposits of shampoo containing these chemicals which can damage the follicles. So make sure you wash your hair properly. These chemicals can also cause skin irritation at times.

The side-effects were seen to be reversed when the use of products with these compounds were discontinued.

  1. FORMALDEHYDE and FORMALDEHYDE RELEASING PRESERVATIVES– Seen used in shampoos, hair gels, hair smoothening and straightening products, baby shampoos etc. These are used as preservatives in such products. To find them on your products, look out for labels reading the presence of Formaldehyde, dimethyl-dimethyl (DMDM) hydantoin, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea,, quaternium-15 etc.

This is understood to be a mucosal and dermal irritant. It is being studied for its carcinogenic effects also. Formaldehyde as a substance to be used in cosmetics, is considered safe at a level of concentration not exceeding 0.2%. But the daily usage of products having Formaldehyde is such that is usually exceeds this concentration level. Some Keratin hair straightening products were seen to have a concentration way above the permitted limit which is definitely not healthy.

  1. PTHALATES– These are a group of chemicals present in your hair gels, shampoos, hair sprays etc. as plasticizers and gelling agents. Pthalates are used to make colours and scents last longer and to make plastic more flexible and durable.

These can be present in your products in the guise of the term ‘fragrance’ and so you may never even get to know their presence. Phalates can be found, on your products, by the name of Phalates, DEP, DBP or fragrance.

This gets absorbed dermally and can lead to several problems. It is known to cause hormonal disruption by causing changes in hormonal levels. Exposure of this during pregnancy has a danger of leading to birth anomalies in the born child. Also found to have a carcinogenic effect and is being studied for it.

  1. COAL TAR DYES– Coal tar dyes are potentially harmful substances present in hair dyes. It is a mixture of many chemicals derived from petroleum and is recognized to be a human carcinogen. Studies have proved significant relation of coal tar dye usage to the development of various types of cancers.

The darker the dye, the more tends to be the concentration of coal tar dyes in it.

So, the next time you are in the market choosing a hair care product, be sure of what you opt for. Make sure that it is something which can actually improve your hair and not leave it damaged, broken or cause fatal health problems. We all go for straightening, smoothening, chemical treatment of hair, colouring, dyeing etc. not realizing that these will lead to hair damage and fall in future. It is always better to go the natural way which causes no side effects.