Are You Putting On Weight? It Could Be Your Shampoo!

Which product do you use to wash your hair? Perhaps a well-known brand such as Garnier Fructus, Pantene Pro-V, V05, Head & Shoulders or Kerastase. But on what basis did you make your choice? Perhaps “Because You’re Worth It” (the famous L’Oreal slogan), or it was recommended by your favourite celebrity, or simply you believed it was the right one to prepare you for the day ahead. Before buying it, though, did you read the often extremely small print on the back of the bottle to find out exactly what was inside? Probably not. Kerastase, for example  (which, according to “Celebrity Style”, is preferred by Gisele Bunchen, Brooke Shields and Jennifer Anniston) includes in its list of components: “Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS), Peg-55 Propylene Glycol Oleate & Polyquaternum-10 Nacinamide”, though of course there’s no explanation as to what these chemicals are doing there.

On “”, the writer Bill Budd has observed that “There are two types of ingredients in shampoo: One type cleans your hair. The other type strokes your emotions”. At least two-thirds of a bottle of Pantene Pro V, he asserts, “was put there just to make me feel good”. A classic “Dimension” shampoo advertisement in the 1980’s  proclaimed that its new product would “protect hair from the damage everyday styling can do” and informed potential customers that “Your hair can’t look soft, silky, shiny, sexy, bouncy or pretty until it looks healthy”.

There was no mention in it at all that “lathering up in the shower” could not only be “somewhat therapeutic” but also “quite dangerous”. This is the opinion of Angie Tarantino on “The Environmental” website. She also emphasises that whatever we apply to our skin “will absorb into our bloodstream like a dry sponge. Most cosmetic products won’t show obvious signs of toxicity on the skin but may be poisoning our bodies over time after repeated use”. For her, one of the alarming aspects of SLS is that you can also find it “at a mechanics shop in things like brake fluid, concrete cleaners & engine degreasers” and quotes an assessment by the American College of Toxicology that SLS can “build up in your heart, liver, lungs and brain even if you wash it off immediately”.

A contributor to “” (“Take Control of Your Health”) has pointed out that, in addition to SLS, your shampoo may also contain Dioxine (a “high hazard” by-product of ethylene oxide), Diethsnolamine (a “contaminant” that the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has detected “in 42% of all cosmetics”) and that Propylene Glycol is employed in (among others) antifreeze, paints, polyurethane cushions and airplane de-icers. The truth is (so declares) “while you wouldn’t actually eat your shampoo, you may in fact absorb fewer toxins when you digest something (because the enzymes in your saliva and stomach often break them down) than when you apply them to your skin”.

For people who are attempting to lose weight, there is an additional concern: Even if they are on a strict diet, eating healthily and exercising regularly, their bodies may still “stubbornly refuse to remove excess fat”. This is attributed by the “Mail Online” journalist, Peta Bee, to the “so-called ‘chemical calories’ lurking in everyday beauty products such as shampoo, body lotions and soap”. She cites a claim by doctors at theMount SinaiMedical Centre inNew York that “phthalates” (chemical elements present in “70% of cosmetics, as well as many household cleaning products”) have been shown to “throw the body’s natural weight control system, a delicate equilibrium of hormones, off balance”. The article also quotes the judgement of nutritionist Zoe Harcombe that “women who slather on moisturisers to rectify dry skin are unwittingly causing another problem by supplying chemical calories through the skin”. The advice of Malcolm Pow on “GenesisGym” is meanwhile straightforward: “Stay away from shampoos with toxic foaming agents – even if it says “organic” on the label.”

The Environmental News Service “EcoWatch” contends that shampoos are just one of many cosmetic products that put their customers at risk: Nail polish from brands such as Sation, Dare to Wear, Chelsea, New York Summer and Paris Spicy have allegedly been found to be contaminated with high levels of the potentially harmful chemical “dibutyl phthalate”.  This (says EcoWatch) is just “the latest in a series of scandals which have rocked the cosmetics industry, including formaldehyde in “Brazilian Blowout” hair straighteners, carcinogens in Johnson’s baby shampoo, mercury in skin-lightening creams and lead in L’Oreal lipstick.

“Fragrance” (as the “Campaign for Safe Cosmetics” has noted) is considered “a trade secret, so companies don’t have to tell us what’s in it” – but even your perfume may conceal unsuspected perils such as allergens which can trigger asthma attacks, phthalates (“linked to hormone disruption”) and neurotoxins, whose impact on human health is under increasingly intense investigation.

The UK’s “Cosmetic, Toiletry & Perfumery Association” (CTPA) has estimated (in its 2012 Report) that the industry (which comprises “skincare, hair-care and toiletries) earns over £8 billion per annum for the country’s economy. The Association has welcomed the new European Union Cosmetics Regulations which came into force on July 11th 2013 and which “apply to all products whether made in the EU or imported”. Animal testing will be banned and beauty companies “will have to follow more rigid guidelines on a product’s safety”. Extra criteria such as “legal compliance, truthfulness, fairness and evidential support” have been added to stop them from making “empty promises”.

Furthermore, “all “nanomaterials”  (those molecules or particles that sit on the skin) must feature in the list of ingredients with the word “nano” in brackets and be authorized by the new laws. “Cosmetics” are defined as “any substance or preparation intended to be placed in contact with the various external parts of the human body or with the teeth or mucous membranes of the oral cavity”. This includes, but is not limited to: “cosmetics, skin lotions, shampoos, sunscreens, lipsticks, soaps, deodorants, toothpastes, fragrances and perfumery products”.



Filed under: Healthcare | Posted on August 12th, 2013 by Colin D Gordon

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