In the winter months, many men and women are plagued by dandruff. As the weather gets cold, we close our windows and turn on the heater, causing our skin to become dry and flaky. There are lots of products on the market today that promise to get rid of flakes, but reading their list of ingredients should make you think twice about putting them to use.
Look out for these dangerous ingredients according to Livestrong.com:
You may not intend to wash your hair in toxic fabric softener, but you may be doing that if you use a shampoo formulated with the conditioning agent known as stearalkonium chloride. First created as a softener for laundry, the Organic Consumers Association warns that it may cause toxic allergic reactions, such as rashes, on your skin. The Environmental Working Group also notes broad skin irritation, and potential negative effects on the nervous system of animals, though such results have not been tested on humans.
Salicylic acid is commonly added to anti-dandruff shampoo products. The National Institutes of Health warns of potentially dangerous, albeit rare, side effects that may include difficulty breathing and dizziness. More mild side effects, like a stinging feeling on your scalp, are more common and less dangerous.
Methylparaben may help preserve your shampoo’s quality to keep it lasting longer on the shelf, but its side effects may be anything but preservative to your health. It may be toxic to your skin, as it acts as an endocrine disruptor and may negatively affect your nervous system, warns the Environmental Working Group. A 2002 study published in the “Food and Chemical Toxicology” medical journal noted that this chemical is easily absorbed through the skin and can cause various skin sensitivity problems, especially when used on broken skin, as well as allergic reactions that may include rashes.
There’s a reason why countries like Canada have restricted or banned the use of coal tar in over-the-counter shampoo products. Though it’s widely used in anti-dandruff shampoos in the United States as an effective treatment for dandruff, the Environmental Working Group calls it “hazardous” because it is a known carcinogenic.
That pleasant smell emanating from your shampoo bottle is likely not natural. The shampoo company probably added a wide array of synthetic fragrances to your shampoo to hide its original chemical smell and lend it a more attractive scent. Various synthetic fragrances can cause side effects ranging from vomiting to rashes, says the Organic Consumers Association. For this reason, the Environmental Working Group gives fragrances an 8 on its scale of 0 to 10, with 10 being the most hazardous and 0 being safe.
Shampoo manufacturers may add octinoxate to shampoos to help protect your hair from the damaging effects of ultraviolet rays. Unfortunately, it may accumulate in your skin over time, acting as an endocrine disruptor, according to the Environmental Working Group.
HOME REMEDIES FOR DANDRUFF
Here are the two most popular home remedies for dandruff that I have researched.
1. TEA TREE OIL: This natural and easy solution has been used for centuries because it is antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiseptic, so it’s a great cure for dandruff. There are several shampoos with tea tree oil available to purchase, but the easiest thing is to buy tea tree oil and mix eight drops with your regular clear shampoo, then rub it in the scalp. I purchase Mason Vitamins Tea Tree Oil, but you can find one at any health food store.
2. APPLE CIDER VINEGAR: Dandruff is often caused by yeast grown on the scalp, and apple cider vinegar’s acidity can help to clear dandruff by changing the pH of the scalp, making it an unfriendly place for yeast.
I purchase Heinz Apple Cider Vinegar and rub three tablespoons in the hair before shampooing. You can also try rinsing with two cups of the product after the shampoo, or rubbing it in your hair and leaving it on for 15 minutes before rinsing.
After a few weeks, you should see a clear scalp. If you don’t, you should see a doctor because you may have a serious skin infection.
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