An American hair care company whose products have been claimed by some users to lead to hair loss appear to be nudging towards a settlement.
Chaz Dean Inc’s Wen Cleansing Conditioners, which are marketed by Guthy-Renker, have been embroiled in controversy since 2015 when 200 women joined forces in a class-action lawsuit, claiming that the shampoo-less cleansing products had damaged their hair. Some claimants say using them led to bald patches whilst others complained of scalp burns.
Last year Guthy-Renker issued a statement which read: “There is no scientific evidence to support any claim that our hair care products caused anyone to lose their hair. There are many reasons why individuals may lose their hair, all unrelated to WEN. We intend to vigorously contest the allegations made.”
Since then, the FDA has taken the unusual step of issuing a warning about the brand’s signature cleansing conditioner. This came after after the US regulatory body received 127 direct and over 21,000 indirect complaints about the product which, despite being taken off sale internationally, is still available to buy in America.
Now, however, CBS local news reports that a federal judge in Los Angeles has given preliminary approval for a $26.3 million settlement for the lawsuit, which next has to go to the US District Court for approval.
This doesn’t mean that Guthy-Renker is admitting the products are faulty; in a statement the company advised: “Wen by Chaz Dean is safe and we continue to provide our hundreds of thousands of customers with the Wen by Chaz Dean products that they know and love. Since the process of litigation is time consuming and costly, we made a business decision to pursue a settlement and put this behind us so that we can focus on delivering quality products.”
What this means for the plaintiffs is that they could be due a settlement worth up to $20,000 each, with smaller sums apparently available to many more buyers of the company’s products.
Speaking to the CBS news channel, attorney Amy Davis said that “from what we understand about the product and how it causes hair loss is it contains virtually no cleanser. It’s like using lotion to wash your hair. So instead of removing the product when you rinse it off, it just becomes impacted in your hair follicle.”
Other hair loss lawsuits
Having a clean and healthy scalp is intrinsically linked to healthy hair growth so ensuring you use the right shampoo and conditioner products is essential. If you experience any irritation, burning sensations or notice any unusual hair shedding after using products it is important to stop using them, and take professional advice as soon as possible. Whilst mild irritation or an allergic reaction may cause temporary hair loss in the form of telogen effluvium, it is possible – especially for chemical-based products – to cause permanent hair loss through scarring alopecia.
Wen By Chaz Dean is certainly not the first haircare brand to become embroiled in a scandal: Unilever recently settled a lawsuit which followed claims from US consumers that their Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion 30-Day Smoothing Kit (which was available between late 2011 and May of the following year) could lead to scalp burns and hair loss.
More recently, haircare giants L’Oreal were named in a class-action suit which involved more than 100,000 plaintiffs who said that a product named Optimum Amla Legend No-Mix, No-Lye Relaxer, marketed in the USA under the SoftSheen-Carson brand, could lead to hairloss, hair breakage, scalp irritation and blisters.
Whilst what Guthy-Renker says is certainly true about there being many possible causes of hair loss – the most common of which is genetics – there are also various outside factors that can influence this. Anything that causes stress to the body – either emotionally or physically – can often speed up or trigger excessive shedding. If you start to notice you are losing more hair than usual, take advice from a specialist as soon as possible. They can provide you with a diagnosis of your condition, as well as provide advice and hair loss treatment recommendations for how to deal with it.
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.