Greenwashing of hair care products is rampant….hair loss issues

by Dr. Alan Kadish NMD

If your tuned in to the cosmetics industry you’ll find a host of  problems ranging from mild irritations of skin to actual permanent medical disorders and in this case hair loss. This weeks news is no different.

One of the newest upset is a huge settlement by Wen Hair Care where their product caused hair loss and skin irritation with over 21,000 complaints. The outcome a settlement……. some proposed new legislation that may or may not address the issues. And yes the industry trade group is already striking back in opposition.

Most people assume that the ingredients are fully stated on the label of cosmetic products. Not quite….as the listings continue to be anything but transparent. Also one should be aware that the FDA does not require safety testing of the products and only reacts when complaint are brought forward.

Or there is the other issue, it said it’s natural. Meaningless terms that will never be defended as consider the obvious. Petrochemicals are natural they are harvested from products underground. And you thought it couldn’t get more obtuse. 

I have the opportunity to engage with multiple brands of cosmetic products and find that of those submitted for review only ~40% meet a high threshold of indeed being non-toxic. Mind you this is of those who are already making the claims. Not a good situation for the average consumer.

The solution: Buy curated fully vetted organic cosmetic products. The good news there are plenty of legitimate firms with great lines.

Need more information ? Call us at the Center of Health 541.773.3191

Wen Hair Care baldness suit signals need for toxin testing in beauty products

Curated from the Guardian

$26m settlement between Wen Hair Care and consumers who suffered hair loss calls attention to a regulatory gap in personal care products

 A new lawsuit involving a “sulfate-free” shampoo line has raised new concerns over the lack of independent testing of ingredients in beauty products in the US. 

While cases like Wen put people on high alert, it is difficult to steer clear of potentially toxic products. Every day the average person uses nine personal care products, according to a survey by the Environmental Working Group. With most personal product ingredient lists taking up an unpronounceable paragraph, it can be a daunting area for consumers to navigate. Especially when something like the Wen lawsuit provides a reminder that personal care products are barely regulated in the US.

There currently is no independent testing of ingredients in beauty products. However, if a particular cosmetic product is causing serious health issues, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will step in with a consumer warning, as was the case with Wen. The FDA issued a public warning last month, saying that the company failed to address safety concerns. Wen, however, has persisted in saying that its products are safe, despite the FDA’s objections and the company’s own decision to settle the class action suit.

In a statement, the FDA said that it could do little else to compel the company:“We do not have the legal authority to require a cosmetics firm to provide product safety information.”

The only FDA regulation of the cosmetic industry dates back to a few rules adopted in 1938 that have remained largely unchanged, leaving the cosmetic industry effectively self regulating. That self regulation allows cosmetic companies to voluntarily report adverse effects from their products to the FDA.

In Wen’s case, 127 instances of adverse effects were reported to the FDA, a fraction of the around 21,000 complaints made to the company.

While cosmetic ingredients have not changed dramatically in the past 50 years, various additives in personal care products have received scrutiny in recent years. When there is a lot of attention around a cosmetic ingredient, companies will sometimes look to replace it with an alternative to avoid controversy. That can create new issues, as replacement ingredients have often been studied less than what they’re designed to supplant.

In the case of Wen, its products were advertised specifically as not having sulfates or detergents, as there have been public objections to their safety.

The FDA doesn’t require full ingredients lists to be made public, so it is still unclear what chemicals might have prompted consumers’ hair loss, but it’s possible that one of the substitutes was the issue.

Another way the beauty industry has responded to a lot of the concerns around its ingredients is by marketing “natural” cosmetic and hair care lines. But because the term “natural” is not regulated, it doesn’t mean anything.

“Natural is a marketing trick to get people to pay more,” says Perry Romanowski, a cosmetic chemist and a co-founder of The Beauty Brains, a blog about the ingredients in cosmetics. “Cosmetics are not natural: there is nothing natural about them.”

New legislation might help address the regulatory gap. Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein and Republican Senator Susan Collins have proposed legislation that would give the FDA the power to issue recalls and conduct their own safety tests of ingredients found in cosmetics.


While lobbyists fight it out in Washington, Nneka Leiba, deputy director of research at the Environmental Working Group, has a few words of advice for consumers. It’s best if you can use single-ingredient alternatives, says Leiba, but she allows that not everyone can use something like coconut oil for all their skincare needs. She says reducing the number of products used everyday or using products with fewer ingredients, like those without artificial fragrances, can be another strategy.

If a person is worried about the ingredients in their makeup, says Romanowski, not using products is another way to alleviate that worry. After all, he points out, there is “no health benefit in using cosmetics”.

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Dr. Kadish is an unusual physician often referred to as a "doctor detective". His expertise is the evaluation and treatment of complex disorders, typically after other physicians have been stumped, is renowned. He provides care for all family members and has additional training in autistic spectrum disorders and chronic complex diseases.