Here is a list of ingredients found in many hair products you should try to avoid:
Mineral Oil – A derivative of crude oil (petroleum) that is used industrially as a cutting fluid and lubricating oil. Mineral oil forms an oily film over the skin to lock in moisture, but hinders normal scalp respiration by keeping oxygen out, which in turn can make the hair feel hard and can dry it out.
Propylene Glycol - A cosmetic form of mineral oil found in automatic brake and hydraulic fluid and industrial antifreeze. In skin and hair products, propylene glycol works as a humectant, which is a substance that retains the moisture content of skin or cosmetic products by preventing the escape of moisture or water. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) warn users to avoid skin contact with propylene glycol as this strong skin irritant can cause liver abnormalities and kidney damage.
Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) – Potentially carcinogenic petroleum ingredient that can alter and reduce the skin’s natural moisture factor. This could increase the appearance of aging and leave you more vulnerable to bacteria. Used in cleansers to dissolve oil and grease. It adjusts the melting point and thickens products. Also used in caustic spray-on oven cleaners.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (ALS) - Used in car washes, garage floor cleaners and engine degreasers – and in 90% of products that foam. Animals exposed to SLS and ALS experience eye damage, central nervous system depression, diarrhea, severe skin irritation, and even death. Young eyes may not develop properly if exposed to SLS and ALS because proteins are dissolved.
SLS and ALS may also damage the skin’s immune system by causing layers to separate and inflame. It is frequently disguised in semi-natural cosmetics with the explanation “comes from coconut”. Lye A highly concentrated watery solution of sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide. Lye is combined with animal fats to make bars of soap, which may corrode and dry out the skin.
Isopropyl Alcohol (SD-40) - A very drying and irritating solvent and dehydrator that strips your skin’s natural acid mantle, making us more vulnerable to bacteria, moulds and viruses. It is made from propylene, a petroleum derivative. It may promote brown spots and premature aging of skin. Methyl, Propyl, butyl, and ethyl paraben Are used to extend a product’s shelf life and inhibit microbial growth. Highly toxic. Can cause rashes and other allergic reactions.
DEA (diet hanolamine) MEA (monoethanolamine) TEA (triethanolamine) – Often used in cosmetics to adjust the pH, and used with many fatty acids to convert acid to salt (stearate), which then becomes the base for a cleanser. TEA causes allergic reactions including eye problems, dryness of hair and skin, and could be toxic if absorbed into the body over a long period of time.
These chemicals are already restricted in Europe due to known carcinogenic effects. Dr. Samuel Epstein (Professor of Environmental Health at the University of Illinois) says that repeated skin applications of DEA-based detergents resulted in a major increase in the incidence of liver and kidney cancer.
Imidazolidinyl urea and DMDM hydantoin - These formaldehyde-forming preservatives can cause joint pain, allergies, depression, headaches, chest pain, chronic fatigue, dizziness, insomnia and asthma. Can also weaken the immune system and can even cause cancer. Found in skin, body and hair products, antiperspirants and nail polish. Contains heavy metal salts that deposit toxins onto the skin, causing skin sensitivity and irritation. Animal studies have shown almost all of them to be carcinogenic.