Beautiful hair starts with healthy haircare, but many commercial haircare products contain harsh ingredients that can damage your hair. Knowing which elements you should avoid will help you to make better decisions when buying your hair products. Here are four haircare ingredients you should avoid.
SLS AND SLES
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) are detergents and surfactants commonly used in industrial cleaners, engine degreasers and other powerful cleaning products. SLS and SLES are also used as the base for many commercial shampoos, as they are cheap to produce, effective in removing grease, and contain foaming agents that create a rich lather.
Both SLS and SLES can irritate the scalp and cause skin reactions, including itching, flaking skin, redness, and soreness. SLS and SLES can also cause dry hair, and frequent use can lead to hair loss. Some researchers even claim that regular use of products containing SLS and SLES can contribute to the development of cancer.
Polyethylene glycol (PEG) is another ingredient commonly used in industrial cleaning products. PEG is also used in many shampoos, as it dissolves grease, oil, and dirt on hair and the scalp. However, this harsh chemical can make hair more brittle and prone to breakage.
PEG can also irritate the skin and cause it to become more sensitive to other chemicals. Irritation is likely if you have damaged or broken skin. There are many different types of PEG, each with a separate number (e.g., PEG-2), some of which are more irritating to skin than others.
Propylene glycol (PG) is an irritant found in many different haircare products, including hair dye, shampoo, conditioner, hair gel, and products designed to make hair look shiny and smooth.
Regular use of products containing PG can break down the proteins needed for healthy hair, damaging its structure. PG can also irritate the scalp and aggravate existing skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
Isopropyl alcohol, also known as isopropanol or rubbing alcohol, is used in antifreeze as well as in a wide range of haircare products, including hairsprays, volumizers, hair gels, conditioners, and many other styling products. Isopropyl alcohol strips hair of moisture, leaving it more prone to breakage, and can even be toxic when inhaled. Inhalation of isopropyl alcohol can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, and even depression in some people.
Sulfates, polyethylene glycol, propylene glycol, and isopropyl alcohol are common ingredients in haircare products, but they can dry out your hair, damage the hair follicle, and cause skin irritations. Look for alternatives to these harmful ingredients when buying haircare products, especially if you have sensitive skin, eczema, psoriasis or other skin problems.