Dangerous Chemicals to Avoid in Shampoos

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Commercial shampoos promise soft, shiny, lustrous tresses, but some of these products contain chemicals that are toxic to the health. Unfortunately, almost all shampoo brands are guilty of using dangerous compounds in their bath products. When shopping for a shampoo, make sure to avoid any of these toxic compounds:

Cocamide DEA

Foamy shampoos are often preferred by most people, but this is a good indication that the product contains a cocktail of chemicals! Cocamide DEA is a cancer-causing compound that gives shampoo a rich, luxurious foam. This chemical is derived from coconut oil. But because it’s processed several times, the final product no longer contains beneficial nutrients. Quite the contrary, the byproduct is toxic enough to be listed as one of the chemicals known to cause cancer in California. This led to several class action lawsuits to prevent Cocamide DEA from being added to commercial shampoos.


Parabens refer to a group of preservatives to lengthen the shelf life of shampoos. Virtually all commercial shampoos contain parabens. These compounds are linked to adverse health disorders, including cancer.

Research shows that parabens mimic estrogen in the body. The surge of the estrogen-like hormone in the body disrupts normal hormonal processes. This may lead to metabolic and weight-related problems such as obesity. Worse, parabens will pollute the rivers and streams. The chemicals kill crops and affect plants and animals.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or SLS

Almost all commercial shampoos contain sulfates, one of which is SLS. SLS is not real soap, but a cleansing agent that acts as soap. Just like Cocamide DEA, SLS gives shampoos a luxurious lather. SLS will strip the hair of natural oils, making it prone to breakage, damage and split ends. This is why excessive shampooing leads to dull, damaged hair. When the hair is stripped of its natural oils, the scalp will start overproducing oils. This disrupts the delicate balance within the scalp, leading to dandruff, greasy hair, damaged hair.

Dimethicone or Polymethylsiloxane

Dimethicone is a popular chemical used in cosmetics and bath products. This compound gives the hair a shiny, silky texture. Unfortunately, dimethicone is essentially silicone in liquid form. Silicone is a type of plastic, which can irritate the skin and scalp. Some people are sensitive to dimethicone. Shampoos with this compound can cause backne, acne, and other skin disorders.

Because dimethicone is made of plastic, it’s not biodegradable either. This compound ends up in rivers and streams, causing ecological and agricultural problems.

Synthetic Dyes and Fragrances

Shampoos contain a toxic cocktail of synthetic colors and fragrances. These compounds can cause cancer and other diseases. Why? Dyes are often made with coal tar. This compound is so toxic that the FDA tested them, something that the agency never do.

Synthetic fragrances are often formulated with styrene. This compound is used in making foam cups and food containers. It’s a cancer-causing chemical that can be absorbed by the skin. This leads to diseases including liver disorders. The chemicals also found their way into our water supply, endangering the health of children.

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