The FDA - America's equivalent of the UK's medical licensing body, the MHRA - has taken the unusual step of issuing a safety alert in relation to a product after it received over 100 complaints of it causing hair loss.
Accusations made in the 127 reports submitted directly to the FDA - the most ever received for this type of product - state that the WEN by Chaz Dean Cleansing Conditioner caused users to experience "hair loss, hair breakage, balding, itching, and [a] rash". The FDA confirmed it is also investigating more than 21,000 additional complaints which were made to the brand Chaz Dean Inc and its distributor Guthy-Renker, about the same product.
The popular hair care line has been at the centre of a class action lawsuit in the USA involving more than 200 women across 40 states, since 2015. Their claims allege the brand's signature sulfate-free cleansing conditioner - a shampoo-free hair cleanser - caused users thinning hair, severe hair damage and a number of other unwanted side effects.
Given the volume of complaints, the FDA has provided the following advice recommendations for anyone who finds themselves experiencing adverse reactions to the product, as part of its safety alert:
'While the FDA continues its investigation, consumers should be aware of reactions reported in association with the use of WEN by Chaz Dean Cleansing Conditioner products. Consumers who experience a reaction after using WEN by Chaz Dean Cleansing Conditioner products should stop using the product and consult with their dermatologist or other health care provider.'
The popular WEN hair care line has been at the centre of a class action lawsuit in the USA involving more than 200 women across 40 states, since 2015. The claimants allege the brand's signature sulfate-free cleansing conditioner - a shampoo-free hair cleanser - caused users thinning hair, severe hair damage and a number of other unwanted side effects.
Interestingly, although the product is available in the UK - albeit on a much smaller scale than in the USA - there do not appear to be any reports of hair loss complaints from customers this side of the pond. One possible reason for this is that sometimes formulations vary between countries for the same product; this is a common practice in the beauty industry although whether or not this is something WEN does is unknown.
For now, the FDA has stated that it has 'not yet determined a possible cause for the adverse events that have been reported' but 'will provide additional updates as new information becomes available'.
A new statement addressing the growing controversy - which has prompted calls for better hair care product regulation - was recently released by Chaz Dean Inc. The company points out, quite rightly, that developing hair loss conditions is 'complex' and calls for more education about hair concerns. The statement reads as follows:
'The Wen by Chaz Dean family cares deeply about everyone's hair health. We encourage people who inquire about any hair issues to seek qualified medical assistance because it is a complex topic.
WEN® by Chaz Dean is safe, and millions of bottles have been sold over the last 16 years. We have consistently cooperated with the FDA and will continue to do so. We love our brand and our customers.
Through this experience, we have learned that there is an immediate need for more education about hair health and common hair concerns in the industry, unrelated to Wen. There is no evidence that WEN products cause hair loss and the ingredients and formulations meet or exceed safety and quality standards set by the cosmetics industry. We stand behind them.'
Hair loss is definitely a tricky area with many factors involved, from what you eat and drink to your genetic make-up -and in women hormones can play a significant role too, more so than with men. There is rarely one thing that causes shedding in isolation, with the exception of cases where baldness is a result of, for example, severe scalp burns. However, given the sheer number of complaints from women with hair loss after using the same product, it does seem likely that some link may exist.
Any women who are experiencing sudden or excessive shedding should seek expert hair loss advice as soon as possible. A specialist will be able to both diagnose your condition and talk you through the best options for a personalised hair loss treatment course designed to prevent further thinning and promote healthy regrowth. They can also offer lifestyle advice and hair growth boosters as well as their monitoring and support services on the journey back to optimum hair health.
The Belgravia Centre is a world-renowned group of a hair loss clinic in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation from anywhere in the world for home-use treatment.
View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world's largest gallery of hair growth photos and demonstrates the level of success that so many of Belgravia's patients achieve.