The Smoke Signal, MSJ's Official Newspaper


Sinister Shampoos

By Ditha Balaji           

 Scrub. Scrub. Scrub. The craving for that feeling of the ultimate pleasure of being clean is something that everyone wishes for. Especially after a grueling day of school, we really want to get all that AP Chemistry grime out of hair, literally. But what you might not know is the amount of chemistry, I mean, chemicals that go into your shampoo.

Your typical Head and Shoulders or Pantene has more than 20 different types of chemicals per bottle. The potentially hazardous chemicals that are used are made synthetically and result in adverse health effects.

One of the most notorious is sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate. Both chemicals are also certified pesticides and the foaming agents in most shampoos.  Sodium lauryl sulfate has actually been linked to the drying of hair, allergic reactions, and even hair loss. Do you really want a shampoo that causes you to lose hair? I think not.

The chemicals alone aren’t considered carcinogenic, but when combined with DEA (diethanolamine), TEA (triethanolamine), or MEA (monnoethanolamine), all of which are toxic chemicals that create the carcigenic complexes nitrosames. These nitrosamines penetrate your scalp and ultimately enter your body through the bloodstream. These carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) run amok in many commonly used shampoos. Basically, every time you squeeze out that smooth slush into your hair and massage it into your hair, take note of what is actually present in it.

So how do you avoid these health complications and ultimately save your hair? Go green. Many companies now provide organic or at least natural versions of common shampoos. Organic shampoos don’t contain drying agents and allow the natural oils in your hair to nourish your scalp. Avalon Organics and Aubrey Organics, which run from $7 to $27, are strongly recommended due to their low concentration of hazardous substances, which harm the environment when washed down the drain into the bay.

The next time you’re aching for that long shower, think twice about that list on the back of your shampoo bottle.  Save yourself and the planet: go green and organic.

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