How Commercial Hair Care Products Can Aggravate Your Hair Loss

When it comes to hair loss, we find that many of our NJ hair loss clients don’t realize that chemicals used in today’s commercial hair care products can aggravate hair loss and, in some cases, actually cause it. Cosmetics and hair care products are loosely regulated and have very little oversight. And even for those products that do offer a comprehensive list of ingredients, there are many of these chemical ingredients that do as much harm as they clean your hair.

Not everyone is aware that ingredients in shampoos and conditioners can be both harmful to you but also to the hair that they are supposed to be cleaning and conditioning. Here is a list of ingredients you may wish to watch for in your hair care products and make a concerted effort to avoid.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Sulfates are chemical detergents that are used in many commercial shampoos. The purpose is to remove dirt but sulfates are hardly gentle chemicals. Consider the fact that sodium lauryl sulfate is also a key ingredient in commercial household cleaning products and even paint remover and you may get an idea of its harshness when it comes to your hair and scalp.

In fact, there is research that shows that sodium lauryl sulfate has the ability to penetrate the skin where it can then cause degeneration of cells and scalp proteins. Proteins serve to preserve the hair follicle. Additionally, sodium lauryl sulfate can strip hair of natural oils that serve to moisturize hair. Excessive loss of these oils can cause dryness and subsequent hair breakage.

Diethanolamine or DEA

DEA is a substance that helps produce lather and acts as an emulsifier. It is used in detergents, solvents, cleaners, and throughout the textile, agriculture and metalworking industries. Research has shown that when applied to laboratory mice, it causes skin lesions and thickening of the skin called hyperkeratosis. It also showed damage to the liver. When trying to maintain a healthy scalp, DEA is something to avoid.

Propylene Glycol

Propylene glycol is used throughout the cosmetics and hair care product industry to help retain moisture and condition skin. Unfortunately, it is also listed as hazardous by the Environmental Working Group with particular concerns over skin irritation and toxicity to human organs. Is this something you want on your scalp?


You may have heard about parabens since many products now tout themselves to be “paraben free”. Parabens have been used throughout the cosmetic and hair care industry as a preservative to prolong shelf life. Research has shown that these chemicals can act as endocrine disruptors and are able to mimic estrogen. This also can lead to mood swings, tumor development, and hair loss in women.

Imidazolidinyl Urea

Another preservative used in hair care products is imidazolidinyl urea. It is what is known as a formaldehyde releaser and forms as formaldehyde in commercial hair care products. Not only can it be damaging to the scalp but it has been linked to certain cancers.

Chemical Fragrances

What most of us have come to know as that “clean” smell of our shampoo or conditioner is actually due to synthetic chemicals. These have been shown to be endocrine disruptors the same as parabens. They have also been linked to dermatitis and a skin rash known as urticaria.

Hair loss can be a highly sensitive problem for men and women alike. A healthy scalp is only one way to ensure that you don’t succumb to continual hair loss. Call our offices to understand how we can address your hair loss in NJ with new surgical replacement procedures.