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Is your shampoo causing hair loss? Watch out for these ingredients

Wondering why you lose a lot of hair after a head wash? It's Hair Loss Awareness Month, so let's find out if the chemicals in your shampoo are causing hair loss.
Does shampoo cause hair fall
Know if your shampoo can lead to hair fall. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 15 Aug 2023, 04:30 pm IST
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Hair loss is a problem that can affect anyone irrespective of age and gender. Some blame stress, others say unhealthy diet causes hair loss. There are many reasons why you are probably losing a lot of hair every day. But do you see more hair strands in the shower drain after a head wash? It may be because the ingredients in your shampoo are causing hair loss. August is Hair Loss Awareness Month, and so, we did a little bit of digging to find out if shampoo ingredients can cause hair loss.

Hair loss after washing hair

Ask any expert, they will tell you not to wash your hair every day. But even after reducing the times of head wash, do you still spot hair strands in the drain? Dr Ritika Shanmugam, Consultant – Dermatology and Cosmetology, Manipal Hospital, Malleshwaram, Bengaluru, says hair loss is inevitable, and noticing a collection of hair in the shower drain is a natural aspect of your hair’s growth process.

The act of wetting and lathering is just a way to eliminate strands that are already in the shedding phase. If we look at typical hair shedding, it involves naturally renewing with 50 to 100 strands lost each day. On a normal scalp, about 90 to 95 percent of hair follicles undergo years of active growth (anagen), and undamaged strands don’t shed or fall. The expert says around 5 to 10 percent of the hair are currently in the telogen phase, and it is during this stage that approximately 100 strands tend to fall out, frequently while you are shampooing or combing your hair. Well, it’s not possible to sit and count the number of strands, but you’ll get an idea by seeing how big the ball of hair is.

hair loss
Your shampoo may cause hair loss. Image Courtesy: Adobe Stock.

Shampoo ingredients that can lead to hair loss

Excessive hair loss after head wash means you need to check the ingredients of your shampoo. Here are some of the ingredients you should stay away from:

1. Sulfates

Sulfates are synthetic compounds that are utilised as surfactants or cleaning agents within shampoos. You can identify by the names sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) on the lists of ingredients. These substances effectively cleanse the hair and scalp, eliminating accumulated dirt and oil. They help to generate substantial foam, which doesn’t significantly enhance the cleaning process but does offer a psychological sense of effectiveness, the expert tells Health Shots. But then sulfates exhibit strong harshness, eradicating the natural protective oils from the scalp. Consequently, hair strands become parched, weakened and fragile, ultimately, contributing to both hair loss and breakage.

2. Parabens

Parabens constitute a class of preservatives commonly included in hair care items like shampoos, to stop the proliferation of bacteria and fungi. Despite their protective function, these substances can be readily assimilated by the skin, permeating deeply and triggering allergic responses, skin inflammation, itching and peeling. These adverse effects can potentially cause hair loss.

3. Silicones

Silicones are incorporated into hair products with the purpose of enveloping hair strands and sealing in moisture. They are supposed to take care of frizz problem. But the presence of silicone in shampoo can also result in accumulation of residue on your scalp, potentially obstructing hair follicles and impeding the delivery of nourishing components to your hair. This can give rise to diminished hair volume and eventual hair loss, says Dr Shanmugam.

4. Diethanolamine and triethanolamine

Diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA) are harmful chemicals in shampoos you should avoid. These substances cause scalp irritation, break down the keratin present in hair, and have a negative impact on the general well-being of your hair. Keratin, a natural protein safeguarding hair follicles, becomes compromised. In situations where your hair lacks an adequate amount of keratin, you will experience hair loss and a reduction in hair thickness.

hair loss
Some chemicals in shampoo are bad for hair. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

5. Isopropyl alcohol

Isopropyl alcohol, though not directly associated with hair loss, can induce dryness, brittleness and coarseness. It can make hair maintenance quite a bit of a challenge. And so, this could potentially lead to hair fall due to heightened hair breakage.

While you know what to avoid in shampoos, you should search for hair products containing moisturising elements. Ingredients like aloe vera, glycerin and coconut oil help in renewing moisture, reestablishing hydration, and providing nourishment for your hair. Keratin, collagen, and silk amino acids are protein-rich sources that your hair needs.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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