Dangers of Chemicals in Most Conditioners
Just as there are harmful chemicals in many of our shampoos, there are several ingredients in our conditioners we should stay away from. Many of the same ingredients are found in both shampoos and conditioners, as well as several other bath and body personal care products. Here we will discuss some of the most dangerous chemicals and the effects they can have on your hair and body.
Harmful Ingredients in Hair Conditioner
We discussed previously in the article about dangerous chemicals in shampoo the ingredients we need to really be aware of and stay away from. These same culprits are found lurking in many conditioners and have the same effects. These include sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, the most toxic chemicals on the list. When used in combination with certain other chemicals they form deadly carcinogens called nitrosamines. Despite their toxicity they are commonly found in an array of products that also include makeup and toothpaste. In addition to causing cancer, it has been found to cause eczema and other skin irritations, and it can also be a neuro-toxin. Also be on the look out for 1, 4 dioxane, which is a by-product of these toxic sulfates. Other common toxins are monoethanolamine (MEA), diethanolamine (DEA), and triethanolamine (TEA), which can cause liver and kidney damage and cancer. In short, stay away from these chemicals!
Also mentioned in the previous article, formaldehyde is another known toxin that is continually used in many personal care products. What’s interesting about this chemical is that its purpose in things like conditioners are to prevent the formation of carcinogens but it is, itself, carcinogenic. Formaldehyde can be absorbed through the skin and lead to allergic reactions, chronic headaches, and long-term organ damage. (read more about formaldehyde and cancer at NCI)
Used for the purpose of locking in moisture and enriching hair, side effects include liver, kidney and brain damage. This chemical, too, is absorbed by the skin and workers in industrial settings are required to wear full protective clothing when being exposed to propylene glycol.
This microbial agent is used to prevent contamination. That sounds like a good thing, right? The problem with this is that it’s used in many national brand conditioners even though there have been very serious links found to central nervous system damage and disruption. Animal testing showed how the chemical actually delays communication in brain neurons and in the central nervous system, as well. This means it can retard brain function in adults and cause abnormal brain development or brain damage on a fetus.
Are you seeing a pattern yet? We haven’t even discussed all the chemicals used but just in these few, we see everything from skin irritation to organ damage, nervous system interruption and cancer. Some of these chemicals are known toxins and are widely used anyway, despite the effects they have on both adults and babies. Hopefully between this article and the last one you are compelled to switch to something completely natural or even homemade. If not, we implore you to do some research on your own and see what you find out for yourself.
For a list of Natural Conditioners with minimal “man-made” ingredients, click here.