Archives for November 2012

4 Hair Product Ingredients That May Be Harming You

An overwhelming number of hair care products are thriving in the market today. If you take a trip to your favourite beauty store, you will probably notice rows and rows of shampoos, conditioners, and other hair treatment products displayed on shelves, all of which promise a quick fix for all kinds of hair problems. Be it for frizzy, dry, thinning or greying hair, there is always a product to turn every crowning glory from dull to dazzling. But beyond the catchy taglines, attractive packaging, and popular endorsers, how safe do you really think you are from potentially damaging hair care products?

You may not know this, but most products, even those you might regularly use to care for your skin, do more harm than good. In the attempt to make your locks smoother and shinier, some manufacturers include ingredients that can be detrimental to your health in the long run. Here are some of the common substances found in hair care products that may cause harmful effects:

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is considered a staple ingredient in nearly all cosmetic products. It is the foaming agent, or one that produces the froth and suds, in soaps, body washes, and shampoos. Although it is derived from coconut or palm kernel oil, this substance is not as natural as it seems. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate has been proven to have abrasive effects on the skin and hair with prolonged exposure. It can also cause eye irritation and diarrhoea when swallowed.

Parabens
Parabens are used as preservatives, which extend the shelf life of many types of hair care products. They can also be found in gels, tanning lotions, and makeup. The most controversial health risk they pose is its potential link to breast cancer. A research in the UK led by molecular biologist Philippa Darbre revealed that parabens were found in samples of breast tumours. Although there is still no conclusive evidence proving that products containing parabens directly cause breast cancer, a number of manufacturers have looked for paraben-free alternatives, including essential oils or natural oils, to serve consumers better.

Coal Tar
Coal tar is typically used in medicated shampoos to treat dandruff, psoriasis, and skin itching. It decreases scaling and dryness of the skin by slowing down the growth of skin cells. However, skin treated with coal tar can be irritated with excessive exposure to the sun.

Methylisothiazolinone (MIT)
Methylisothiazolinone belongs to a group of chemicals called isothiazolinones, which are preservatives used to control bacterial growth in solutions containing water, like shampoos, baby products, and other rinse-off products. However, some safety concerns have been raised against the use of MIT in hair care products. Studies show that MIT is toxic and allergenic, typically causing dermatitis. Although only low levels of MIT are used in hair care products, prolonged exposure may lead to several complications, including neurodegeneration.

The health hazards these product ingredients trigger have led a number of organisations to support companies promoting organic skin care products and natural hair products. Nevertheless, it is a sad fact that some consumers are not wary of these harmful ingredients. Some do not develop the habit of reading product labels because aside from the fact that average buyers can hardly pronounce the ingredients listed on the box or bottle, most of their choices are usually based on what’s hot in the market. However, such practice can only expose consumers to more risks.

Debra Wright blogs about a plethora of topics, including organic skin care products in Health and Beauty and other fields. Wright considers Crusoeden Body as one of the leaders in natural hair products.

The Benefits of Laser Hair Removal

Intense hair growth is embarrassing, especially if hair grows in unwanted facial and body areas. This brings forth the need for hair removal procedures, such as plucking, threading, shaving, waxing, and laser hair removal, the more recent method that is most preferred by both women and men. Women seek the services of a skin laser clinic to get rid of superfluous hairs in their face, arms, underarms, legs and bikini areas. Men, on the other hand, usually avail of the services of such clinics to manage the hair on their chest and back, and to get rid of the infamous uni-brow. Using laser to remove hair is fast becoming the most popular method of removing unwanted and unnecessary hair because of the following reasons:

It has fewer side effects. Laser hair removal has fewer side effects compared to other methods. Plucking, shaving, and waxing may cause ingrown hair, discolored or “chicken” skin due to damage done during the process. When using laser, the skin becomes more sensitive and prone to itching and redness, but these temporary side effects wear off within three days. When done at a reputable laser clinic and by an expert who has experience doing the treatment, the risks are minimised if not eliminated.

It is virtually pain free. Most laser clinics offer hair removal procedures that are relatively painless yet effective in eliminating unsightly hair. Hair removal through the use of a laser machine can be a more forgiving method compared to waxing and plucking.

It is time efficient. This method may require you to set an appointment within your city laser clinic and visit a few times for laser sessions. As long as you complete the required number of sessions, hair growth will significantly be reduced. The time in between sessions and the number of sessions vary depending on your hair type and speed of hair growth. But the trade-off is being free from everyday shaving or regular visits to waxing salons.

It yields permanent results. Hair removal through laser is a long-lasting solution for people who want to have smooth and hairless skin all year round. As you go through each session, you will notice that your hair grows thinner. Once you finish the sessions, you do not need to shave, pluck, thread, or wax ever again nor spend more money and time just to remove unsightly hair from your armpits, legs, or any problem area.

It can target unwanted hairs anywhere. Other methods of hair removal may leave you with bumps, cuts, and burns. Shaving your bikini area may lead to extreme discomfort once the hair starts growing back. Plucking may leave your armpits with ingrown hair and bumpy chicken skin. Waxing and threading are both painful procedures that make your skin red and leave a stinging sensation that lasts for quite a while. When not done properly, waxing can even cause bleeding in some cases. By using laser, you can get rid of unwanted hair from any part of your body without any of these problems.

It is cost effective. You may think that undergoing laser hair removal is pricey, and it is in the beginning. But it becomes a cost efficient way of removing hair because you only have to go for a finite number of sessions. After you finish the entire treatment, you do not have to worry ever again. You are free from repeatedly purchasing razors and frequent visits to salons.