by Mary Wolff

We all want healthy, beautiful curls. One of the best ways to make sure hair stays this way is by protecting it from harmful ingredients in the products you use every day. One of the biggest offenders is added fragrances in shampoo. When looking for an easy way to help make hair healthier, avoiding fragrances in shampoos is a pretty quick fix. Still need some convincing? Here are a few reasons you should be avoiding fragrances in shampoos.

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1. The fragrances added to shampoos are often artificial, meaning they are created using chemicals in a lab. For example, there are fragrances made to smell like lavender and they don’t actually have any trace of lavender in the formula. Some of these “fragrances” can have literally thousands of chemical ingredients just to create the desired smell.

2. Artificial fragrances penetrate beyond the surface of skin and the skin on the scalp in particular. These chemicals are only supposed to be used topically, but studies have shown that many penetrate that barrier in large amounts. When you consider the fact that up to 60% of what you put on your skin actually penetrates beyond the skin surface according to Pour le Monde, you have to wonder what that does to your body and where that buildup of toxins ends up. To read more about the way skin absorbs fragrance, check out this article.

3. Added fragrances that are artificial are often harmful. While natural fragrances are unlikely to cause any damage, chemical fragrances may have a negative impact on health. There are some suggestions that a buildup of artificial chemicals in the body can create the right environment for cancer. While there is still research to confirm or deny this, why take that risk? There are a few already confirmed results about the dangers of added fragrances which can be found in this Huffington Post article.

It is important to remember that many fragrances are listed by the EPA as harmful and the fragrance industry is known to find loopholes that make it possible to continue using them even with the harmful health effects. You should also note that cancer is caused by several factors combined and not just the use of chemicals. This unique relationship is why it is hard to say a chemical definitely causes cancer in most cases, but there are many chemicals that are known to cause cancer when used in high concentrations, regardless of any outside influences that also contribute to cancer, such as stress, poor diet, or lack of exercise.  For a more detailed explanation of this concept, read this helpful article from Physicians For Social Responsibility.

4. Some people experience irritation or excessive dryness when using shampoos with added fragrance. The scalp is a sensitive part of the body and bombarding it with chemicals can only lead to trouble and discomfort.

So, what does this mean for buying your next bottle of shampoo? You should check your labels! When choosing a shampoo, there are many options that are fragrance-free to make it even easier. These products will not be completely without scent in most cases, but the scent will be natural instead of chemical. You should also check to see if a fragrance is in the top five. If  a fragrance is listed in the first five ingredients, you may want to skip that one. If a product has an ingredient listing of fragrance, parfum, or perfume, skip it because that is most likely synthetic fragrance instead of naturally occurring fragrance.

When it comes to taking care of yourself, it is important to know about the ingredients in your hair care products. Knowing the why and how of protecting yourself from harmful additives is easy!

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