What Scientific Studies Have Revealed About Commercial Shampoos
There are many commercial shampoos on the market today, most claiming to offer solutions to hair issues including thinning, hair loss, hair breakage and even split ends. Some people are ardent advocates of shampoos while others have adopted the “no poo” (short form of no shampoo) trend, citing several health side effects associated with shampoo usage.
Ordinary users are increasingly finding themselves having to make the decision whether to use shampoos or to avoid them altogether. This article seeks to give an in-depth view of commercial shampoos and whether you should consider using them.
Most commercial shampoos contain between 10 and 30 different ingredients depending on individual hair types. The ingredients can be divided into several major categories including surfactants, thickeners, moisturizers, conditioning agents, and additives.
It is important to stress that not all the ingredients are dangerous. It’s only a few elements that have been associated with side effects ranging from skin rashes, breathing problems, while others have been linked to hair loss.
What Scientific Studies Have Revealed About Commercial Shampoos
There is overwhelming evidence that seems to suggest that shampoos are actually very good for your hair. For example, a shampoo containing 2% of ketoconazole has been found to be very effective in the treatment of fungal scalp infections like tinea capitis and piedra.
Other shampoos containing 1% of zinc pyrithione have been found to be effective in the treatment of Seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff.
The fact that shampoos are the most frequently prescribed treatment for most hair maladies further lends credibility to their usage.
On the contrary, some studies suggest the exact opposite! In one such study, researchers concluded that the Shampoo PH does have an effect on hair, with alkaline levels associated with negative effects. However, they stopped short of recommending a specific PH level.
Alkaline pH may increase the negative electrical charge of the hair fiber surface and, therefore, increase friction between the fibers. This may lead to cuticle damage and fiber breakage.
Quoting the study
Further research has revealed that there are shampoos that may be allergic to users. Although these studies do not provide us with conclusive evidence either in favor or against the use of commercial shampoos, one thing is certain: People all over the world are becoming increasingly concerned with the negative effects linked to the use of shampoos.
What Factors Should You Consider Before Deciding Whether to Use Commercial Shampoos or Not?
There are two major factors that you should consider:
- State of Your Hair: If you have healthy hair, this means that adding a shampoo to your daily hair maintenance routine will only serve as an additional protective measure. As such, an ordinary shampoo might do. However, if you are actively looking to find a solution to a certain hair/scalp condition, it is advisable to go for medicated shampoosthat contain active ingredients that are known to combat the condition’s causal agent.
- Ingredients Contained in the Shampoo: Some ingredients have been found to be bad for the hair
Chemicals to Be Avoided:
While using commercial shampoos, what we actually do is lather the hair and scalp with chemicals. For example, Johnson & Johnson’s baby shampoo was found to contain some toxic chemicals like 1, 4-dioxane and formaldehyde just a few years back. After intense public campaigns, the manufacturer agreed to remove some of the harmful elements from the products in 2015.
Other chemicals to be avoided include:
- Sodium lauryl sulphate: This is a surfactant or foaming agent found in nearly all shampoos. The chemical causes allergies even in concentrations as low as 0.5%.
- Isopropyl alcohol: This is a highly flammable solvent found in most cosmetics. The chemical makes the scalp very dry paving the way for cracks that can be very irritating. It’s also is also linked to headaches, nausea and mental depression in the long term.
- Propylene Glycol (PG): It is used as the active ingredient in antifreeze and has the ability to break down proteins and cells. This means it can attack and destroy the skin and the scalp in particular.
- Phthalates: These are plasticizing ingredients that have been associated with birth defects and low sperm fertility among men. In most cases, they appear under the name “fragrance” in most shampoos
- Parabens: These are chemicals that mimic the working of estrogen, a hormone found in women that is linked to development of cancerous breast cells
A 2012 study provided further proof that strongly links parabens to breast cancer. The researchers found that breast tumors were located in areas with high concentrations of parabens.
How to Make Your Own Shampoo Using 100% Natural Ingredients
Instead of struggling with the use of commercial shampoos, you can make your own homemade shampoo using natural ingredients. Besides being less expensive, a homemade shampoo for hair loss does not contain any toxic elements that can be a detriment to your hair or general body health.
- 1/2 cup homemade coconut milk
- 30 drops essential oils – rosemary, lavender or peppermint
- 1/2 cup liquid castille soap
- Combine the ingredients in a jar
- Shake thoroughly to mix
- Use about 2 teaspoons every time you shampoo. If you are battling a scalp condition, the amount can be increased to 3 teaspoons
- Use a fine cloth to apply the shampoo into the scalp. Be sure to rub the shampoo into the skin gently to avoid injury or damage to individual hairs. Alternatively, you can use your fingers with your nails well-trimmed.
- Keep the shampoo on for up to 30 minutes and then rinse the hair with plenty of cold water.
If your hair is very dry, you may add a teaspoon olive oil, which is a good moisturizer. A few drops of natural honey can also help. Some people may prefer using a mixture of water and apple cider vinegar (50:50 ratio) as a rinse. The mixture gets hair cleaner and makes it shine brighter.
You should not avoid shampooing your hair. However, watch out for any of toxic substances that we have listed. Most shampoos have a list of ingredients. Be sure to look at it at the time of purchase. However, the best shampoo is perhaps the one you make at home using natural ingredients.