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Which parts of our body do we ignore at our own peril?

The scalp, usually hidden behind one of our precious possessions, our hair, is exposed to the same stressors than the rest of our skin, like UV radiation, reactive oxygen species (ROS*), heat, physical stress and more. On top of the usual suspects, add the long list of chemicals, usually unwanted, that are present in the hair “care” products we use. Hair coloring, perms, straighteners, plus hair dryers, chemical and physical stress endured by those wearing “extensions”, and who knows what else. It is not surprising that most people, starting at a relatively young age, have hair problems which are actually scalp problems, because hair is dead protein and all the hard work is done by live cells in the scalp.

We also forget that the scalp is a point of entry of chemicals into our body, and I was not surprised to learn that a higher breast cancer risk associated with hair dye use. I am not saying not to use hair dyes, but please remember that there should be a balance between our perception of beauty and what we do to our bodies in aiming for the ideal fabricated by the twin devils, Photoshop and advertising.

In top of that, once we start having problems with our scalp, we are offered products that can make the situation worse like Nioxin System 2. Let’s look at the ingredients.

Cleanser: Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Citrate, Citric Acid, Sodium Xylenesulfonate, Sodium Chloride, Cocamide MEA, Sodium Benzoate, Salicylic Acid, Peppermint Oil, Menthol, Mint Leaf Oil, Tetrasodium EDTA, Methylparaben, Propylene Glycol, tea Extract, Cystine Bis-PG-Propyl Silanetriol, Lecithin, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract, Serenoa Serrulata Fruit Extract, Hops Extract, Grapefruit Peel Extract, Saccharomyces/Magnesium Ferment, Biotin/Folic Acid/Cyanocobalamin/Niacinamide/Pantothenic Acid/Pyridoxine/Riboflavin/Thiamine/Yeast Polypeptides, Yeast Extract, Saccharomyces/Iron Ferment, Saccharomyces/Copper Ferment, Yellow 5, Saccharomyces/Silicon Ferment, Saccharomyces/Zinc Ferment, Phenoxyethanol, Blue 1, Red 33.
Scalp Therapy: Water, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Stearyl Alcohol, Quaternium-18, Benzyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Hydroxypropyl Guar, Glyceryl Stearate, Oleyl Alcohol, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Mentha Arvensis Leaf Oil, Menthol, Citric Acid, Polysorbate 60, Bis-Aminopropyl Dimethicone, EDTA, Propylene Glycol, Methylisothiazolinone, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Cystine Bis-PG-Propyl Silanetriol, Lecithin, Hops Extract, Serenoa Serrulata Fruit Extract, Grapefruit Peel Extract, Nettle Extract, Saccharomyces/Magnesium Ferment, Biotin/Folic Acid/Cyanocobalamin/Niacinamide/Pantothenic Acid/Pyridoxine/Riboflavin/Thiamine/Yeast Polypeptides, Yeast Extract, Saccharomyces/Iron Ferment, Saccharomyces/Copper Ferment, Saccharomyces/Silicon Ferment, Saccharomyces/Zinc Ferment, Phenoxyethanol, Blue 1.
Scalp Treatment: Active Ingredients: Ensulizole, Sulisobenzone
Inactive Ingredients : Water, Phenylbenzimidazole Sulfonic Acid, Benzophenone-4, Polysorbate 20, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Citric Acid, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Acetamide Mea, Isopropyl C12-15-Pareth-9 Carboxylate, Methylparaben, Tetrasodium EDTA, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Propylene Glycol, Propylparaben, Methyl Nicotinate, Fragrance, Polysorbate 80, Polysorbate 60, Peppermint Oil, Menthol, Mint Leaf Oil, PEG-23M, Methylisothiazolinone, teaExtract, Cystine Bis-PG-Propyl Silanetriol, Lecithin, Nettle Extract, Serenoa Serrulata Fruit Extract, Hops Extract, Grapefruit Peel Extract, Saccharomyces/Magnesium Ferment, Biotin/Folic Acid/Cyanocobalamin/Niacinamide/Pantothenic Acid/Pyridoxine/Riboflavin/Thiamine/Yeast Polypeptides, Yeast Extract, Saccharomyces/Iron Ferment, Saccharomyces/Copper Ferment, Saccharomyces/Silicon Ferment, Saccharomyces/Zinc Ferment

My objections: the shampoo contains irritating ingredients aimed at obtaining lots of bubbles (sodium lauryl sulfate) when what we need is mild surfactants.  Just use a shampoo that is mild and not the one that gives you satisfying, Instagram-ready bubbles. Other irritating ingredients like grapefruit peel extract should not in present in any good skin or hair product. Why irritate when there are already lots of irritants in our environment?

The other products contain some good ingredients,  but the chemicals effective in hair retention are not present at “active” concentrations. And there are ingredients that were included to make you think that the products are working, like menthol. Don’t confuse “tingling” with benefit. That is just a way to fool you (if you are not well informed as you should). Hydrolyzed keratin will do nothing for your scalp, it’s in there for label value.

What I don’t see in these formulations: ingredients known to stimulate hair growth. Some of them are inexpensive, like caffeine, so there is no excuse to omit them.

No antioxidants at active concentrations. Taking into account that ROS* are everywhere, especially for people who color their hair, there should be effective antioxidants and they are not in there!

For a model in hair care products, please look at Skin Actives.  You will find keratinocyte growth factor (KGF), antioxidant proteins, including some that will replenish your natural antioxidant system, nutrition (amino acids, vitamins, etc.), caffeine, low molecular weight antioxidants and lots more. Everything in our formulations has a scientifically proven reason to be there. We should always think long-term, in an era where we get to live longer lives and we want to live them of healthy bodies and healthy hair.

DISCLAIMER: These claims have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease

 

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