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Silicones, Parabens & Co.: Why they harm us and what does it have to do with a healthy lifestyle?

What does a healthy lifestyle have to do with hair and scalp care? A lot, actually. Body awareness and the consciousness of leading a healthy life have steadily increased in recent years. Healthy eating, exercise, self-care, and mental health have become synonymous with a healthy lifestyle. But have you ever considered a healthy scalp?

You probably know it - we've all struggled with scalp and hair problems at some point. Dry, itchy, and sensitive scalp, dandruff, hair loss, etc.

Many believe that this is mainly due to an unbalanced, vitamin- and nutrient-poor diet or hormones and stress. While that may be true, it's not the only factor.

Have you ever thought about how hair care could have a significant impact on the health of your scalp and, consequently, your hair?

Beautiful hair begins with a healthy scalp.

For over 20 years, I have been researching ingredients in hair and scalp care products that impact scalp health. The fact is: beautiful hair begins with a healthy scalp.

Few people consider that hair care products can have the opposite effect, making the scalp unhealthy and, as a result, affecting the hair. There are products that may suggest a good and healthy feeling, using terms like "free of," "vegan," "natural," "organic," etc., but these do not necessarily mean they are genuinely good and healthy for our scalp and hair. These terms are not protected and can be used carelessly.

Rules for genuine natural cosmetics.

If you want to be sure, look for certifications (Natcert, Ecocert, Natrue, Cosmos Organic, Cosmos Natural) in natural products. These certifications adhere to strict guidelines and controls. Generally, genuine natural cosmetics:

  • Prohibit more ingredients than the EU Cosmetic Regulation, excluding many controversial synthetic chemicals.

  • Avoid synthetic preservatives.

  • Do not allow oils and waxes derived from mineral oil, such as silicone or paraffin.

  • Forbid polyethylene glycols (PEGs) and synthetic color and fragrance.

  • Disallow genetic engineering, and the surfactants must be biodegradable.

  • Exclude microplastics and film formers (e.g., Polyquaternium) from natural cosmetics, especially in the environment.

These ingredients can make us sick.

I want to show and raise awareness of problematic ingredients in hair care products and their potential effects on our scalp and hair:

  • Silicones: Make hair soft and smooth, but they form a film on the hair that can make it brittle with regular use. Silicones only impress on the surface, enclosing the hair without providing internal care. Importantly, this film also accumulates on the scalp, clogging pores. This can lead to scalp itching, oily scalp and hair, dandruff, and hair loss. Silicones are also problematic for the environment as they are not easily biodegradable. Recognize silicones in cosmetic products by their names ending in "-cone" or "-xane."

  • Polyquaternium/Polyester: Often seen as a silicone substitute, it can make hair smoother, antistatic, and easy to comb. However, like silicones, synthetic polymers deposit a film not only on the hair but also on the scalp, damaging the scalp's protective acid mantle and causing similar issues. Natural and healthy alternatives, like plant-based oils, can achieve the desired properties of smooth, manageable hair.

  • Parabens: Preservatives used in shampoos to protect them from bacteria and fungi and extend their shelf life. However, parabens are harmful to hair and the body. They can cause allergic reactions and may disrupt hormonal balance when absorbed through the body. Recent research suggests a link between parabens and increasing cases of thyroid, prostate, and breast cancer. Pregnant women, in particular, need to be cautious, as parabens may have negative effects on the fetus. Many products without parabens are now available. Recognize parabens in ingredients lists by names ending in "-paraben," such as Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, or Methylparaben.

Cheap ingredients for a superficial appearance.

These ingredients are often used because they are inexpensive and provide an immediate effect on the hair, such as smooth, silky, and soft hair. However, this feeling of well-groomed hair is only superficial, negatively affecting the health of the hair and scalp.

It's worth taking a closer look.

Examine the INCI or ingredients list, usually on the back of products. If you find one or more of these ingredients listed, it is not a natural product, and its health aspects are questionable. For your health's sake, it's worth a look!

I hope this post provides you with informative insights and helps you choose genuinely good, safe, and healthy hair and scalp care products. Feel free to reach out with any questions on this topic.

Warm regards, Nadine

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