International haircare brand Wen by Chaz Dean has come under fire in a posting by attorney Tina Sigurdson on the Environmental Working Group’s blog.
Guthy-Renker, the huge marketing and development company which works on the Wen by Chaz Dean hair care product line, and Dean were recently hit with a lawsuit after hundreds of women across America complained that their hair had been damaged as a result of using the brand’s signature cleansing conditioner. Some complained of hair loss, posting photos on social media of areas where their hair had reportedly fallen out or images of the shed strands, while others said using the products had caused injuries to their scalp.
Writer, Sigurdson – who holds a law degree from Georgetown University in Washington DC but whose pharmaceutical or haircare credentials are unknown – suggests that the brand’s products are perhaps not as natural as their creator originally intended.
Calls for better industry regulation
“According to his promotional video, Dean claims he found inspiration (and supposedly the ingredients) for the product line in his yard,” writes Sigurdson, who explains how the Hollywood hairstylist said he saw, sage, lavender, eucalyptus, apples, bananas and pears in his garden and made a kind of elixir from them.
“Somewhere between his first inspirational harvest of herbs and fruits and the formulation of the finished product,” she writes, “Dean switched to a mixture full of synthetic chemicals, including known allergens.”
In Sigurdson’s blog posting, she claims that there have actually been 17,000 complaints against the company and rails against the apparent lack of supervision within the US system that allows makers of personal care products certain liberties they don’t have in other countries. She writes that two US Senators introduced legislation last April which aims to change this, and would “shift the burden for proving that cosmetic products are safe to manufacturers.”
The writer points out that in Europe, for example, Guthy-Renker list seven known allergens on Wen packaging. There is apparently no obligation for the company to do so in the States – though it is possible that a different formula is used in different territories for this brand.
The UK is perhaps better protected than the US when it comes to regulation, with Ms Sigurdson pointing out that the FDA, the American agency which governs the safety of personal care products, currently has no power to order recalls of products it deems problematic. The British equivalent of the FDA, the MHRA, has the power to withdraw a product from the market and indeed does so from time to time.
Hair loss from allergic reactions
Whilst the claimants continue to pursue their case, Guthy-Renker has denied that Wen is at fault with regards claims that it has caused hair loss and scalp problems, stating “there is no scientific evidence that our hair care products caused anyone to lose their hair.” Until anything is proven to the contrary, it is a case of one side versus the other.
It is certainly true that some hair care products can cause bad-to-severe reactions in certain individuals – something that tends to be more commonly found in users of home hair dye kits – and, should this happen, the advice of hair care experts is to rinse your hair and scalp straight away with water and a mild shampoo to remove the cause of the irritation.
Stop using any new product immediately if you notice inflammation of the scalp, unusual or unpleasant sensations anywhere on the skin or any sudden increase in hair shedding. If the swelling or any other symptoms are extreme, seek medical attention immediately.
Anyone who experiences thinning hair as a result of an allergic reaction – a fairly rare occurrence – can take comfort in knowing that this is almost always a temporary issue.
It can prompt a condition called Allergic Telogen Effluvium which causes general thinning of the hair from all over the scalp. It often first appears around three months after the trigger incident and can clear up of its own accord, with regrowth beginning again within six months of the hair loss starting. Treatment featuring topical applications of high strength minoxidil can also help to accelerate regrowth and a hair loss specialist nurse can assess your condition and suitability if your shedding is a concern.
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.