Harmful Ingredients?

Dangers of Salon Products

The body’s digestive system has an extraordinary ability to filter out chemicals and toxins
that other systems in the body simply do not have. Most notably, toxins most commonly
entered through the skin pose a much more direct and therefore higher risk. Any product
that is applied to our skin is soaked directly into our bloodstream. Skin, the bodies largest
organ and the bodies largest and most direct path to our bloodstream, simply does not
have the gastric acids of the stomach, the pancreatic enzymes of the small intestines, or
the microbes of the large intestines that filter out chemicals, sodiums or any other
dangerous waste. In fact, topical medication application has been proven to be a highly
effective and direct way to administer medicine into the blood system by simply applying a
cream to your skin. This has been particularly useful for medicines that have a need to
bypass the digestive system and enter directly into the blood stream to avoid being filtered
out by the stomach and intestines.

Ongoing research has found that the scalp is the single best place on the body to
administer topical medication because it presents the area where the skin has the most
dense amount of follicles and pores, which is the means by which the medication enters
our bloodstream from the skin.

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine entitled “Keratinous Fiber
Wicking and Follicular Penetration” examines how 25 common hair care chemicals are
absorbed by hair fibers like “microscopic straws” that draw the chemicals into the follicle
where they can be dissolved in the bloodstream. Chemicals that were historically thought
to be harmless because they are unable to penetrate skin have a much higher degree of
bio-availablity when “sucked” into the scalp through porous hair fibers. The dangers of
salon products are only compounded by their ease of access into the blood stream.

Link to Cancer

Since 2004, leading researchers have been proving a link between common ingredients in
most shampoos and conditioners like parabens to breast cancer and other cancers.
Recent research released this week from the Journal of Applied Toxicology indicated that
medical researchers discovered that nearly all women with breast cancer have parabens
in their breast tissue. The link between other chemical toxins commonly found in
shampoos and conditioners such as sodium laurel sulfates used a “sudsing” agent has
also been closely linked to cancer.


Many people are under the false perception that the United States Food and Drug
Administration (“FDA”) regulates the ingredients of cosmetics and guard consumers
against the dangers of salon products. This is completely untrue. In fact, unlike most other
countries, there is no government body at all that regulates the ingredients of cosmetics in
the United States! The FDA only regulates foods and drugs, of which hair care products
and cosmetics are not. While the DFA does have rules requiring cosmetics and hair care
products be safe and properly labeled, the rules are passive and to some extent relies on
self-regulation as products are neither pre-approved or regularly reviewed.

Personal care products (soaps, shampoos, cosmetics, etc.) may contain some of over 125
ingredients that have been linked to carcinogenic (cancer causing) activities. Not all of
these chemicals are labeled for us to see. Cosmetic companies can get away with hiding
these ingredients under the protection of their “proprietary information”. There are many
loop holes that allow these wealthy companies to deceive us with their labeling strategies.
Since World War 2, approximately 80,000 chemicals have been introduced to us. Before
1979 there was no regulatory testing for safety, so NONE were tested for toxic effects. ALL
of these chemicals have been grand-fathered in and are still used today in our food and
products. 1,500 new chemicals are added each year and BY LAW only 10 need to be
tested for neuro-toxic effects.

The 6 Most Common Offenders:

Phthalate Family: (DI-N-Butyl Phthalate (DPB) and di (2-ehtylhexyl) Phthalate (DEHP
Endocrine (hormone) disruptor linked to cancer, premature breast development, damage
to reproductive organs and linked to lung, liver, and kidney cancer. Used to make plastic
soft and malleable. Found in: make up, nail polish, hair straighteners and sprays, body
lotions and deodorants.

Laureth Sulfate: (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
Suspected carcinogen linked to kidney and liver damage, nervous system disruption,
cataracts, eczema and dermatitis, used as a foaming agent and emulsifier. Found in:
toothpaste, shampoos, bath salts, body and shower gels.

Paraben Preservatives: ALKYL-P-HYDROXY BENZOATES (methyl, Propyl, butyl, and
Linked to cancer, headaches, joint and chest pain, depression, fatigue and immune
disfunction. Used as a disinfectant, germicide, fungicide, de-foamer and preservative.
Found in: shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, liquid antiseptic hand wash, skin lotions,
bubble bath, hair care products, antiperspirants, nail polish, talc, mascara, mouthwash,
makeup remover.

Formaldehyde Family: Diazolidinyl Urea, 3-diol-imidazilidinyl Urea, DMDM Hydantoin,
Quaternium-15, Nitropropane-1, Formalin, Mathanal, Methyl-Aldehyde Oxide, Morbicid
Acid, Oxymylene
Linked to cancer, headaches, joint and chest pain, depression, fatigue, and immune
dysfunction. Used as a disinfectant, germicide, fungicide, de-foamer, and preservative.
Found in: shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, liquid antiseptic hand wash, skin lotions,
bubble bath, hair care products, antiperspirants, nail polish, talc, mascara, mouthwash,
makeup remover.

Amine Family: Diethanolamine (DEA) Triethanolamine (TEA) Amonoethanolamine (MEA)
Causes Hormone Disruption, carcinogen, linked to liver and kidney cancer, irritant to hair
and skin: corrosive to eyes, dermatitis, reacts with other chemicals to form carcinogenic
nitrosamines. Used as an emulsifier, PH adjuster, preservative and foaming agent. Found
in shampoos, soaps, hairspray, sunscreens, foundations, concealers, eyeliner, talc, face
powders, shaving cream, hair coloring products (women and men) hairspray.

Propylene/butylene Glycol (PG):
Linked to brain, liver and kidney abnormalities, respiratory and throat irritation, central
nervous system depression, pulmonary edema, brain damage, hypoglycemia, skin rashes
and dermatitis. It is a neurotoxin that weakens protein and cellular structure. Found in:
deodorants, body lotions, body wash, hair conditioner, hair gel, creams, hand wipes,

If you have products you love and want to see if they are toxic, check out skindeep.com for
their rating of your favorite product or company!

What I am doing about it?

As a licensed salon professional I understand that clients are relying on me to provide
them with safe, high quality, well informed, and creative salon services to help you realize
the closest approximation to your ideal image. I understand that the mere fact that products
in the salon industry are not regulated by a government authority does not exonerate my
professional duty to service clients and maximize their overall beauty without sacrificing
their health, safety or wellbeing.

I have demonstrated an ongoing emphasis on health, safety, environmental stewardship,
the use of more natural and organic ingredients, and commitment against using animals for
testing. I specialize in organic alternatives to the dangers of salon products and have a
heightened knowledge of ingredients and how they effect our health and wellness.

Join us in the
Campaign for Safe Cosmetics!
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Household Products Database