Guthy-Renker, the direct marketing titan who sells Chaz Dean's Wen Hair Products has been hit with a lawsuit after hundreds of women complained of hair loss after using its products.
Of the 200 women named in the claim, some also claim severe injuries to their scalp and hair according to media reports.
The line is designed, manufactured and sold by Hollywood 'holistic hair stylist' Chaz Dean and American beauty infomercial titan, Guthy-Renker.
California-based Guthy-Renker was founded in 1988 and is one of the largest direct marketing companies in the world, also working on product development. Chaz Dean has worked with various celebrities, including Alanis Morissette, and makes frequent TV appearances. He often discusses hair health and how to improve the condition of the hair through the use of his Wen haircare line; he also claims to be the pioneer behind 'cleansing conditioner' - a way to wash the hair with conditioner, rather than using shampoo - which helped start the 'no-poo' trend.
Wen Hair Products promotes its use of 'nourishing botanical ingredients' that will restore 'even the most dry, damaged and frizzy hair', with the main differential being that the Wen line does not contain a shampoo. According to his website Dean believes shampoo to be extremely damaging and drying to the hair, and claims to have not used shampoo on himself or his clients since 1993.
Christiansen Davis, the Dallas law firm acting on behalf of the claimants, said the Wen products have caused severe and possibly permanent damage to their hair. This includes developing bald patches claimed to be from scalp burns, thinning hair and hair breakage.
When the initial six claimants called the brand's helpline for advice and to report these side-effects, they were each told that these signs were anomalous. However, according to the women's lawyers, others dating back to 2012 had reported similar side-effects before this on social media.
Now that the number of parties involved in the class-action filing has risen from just six to two hundred a full statement has been issued to People magazine by Guthy-Renker which states, “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.”
It is said to be the first US mass action to seek damages for personal injuries caused to consumers by the products.
Although the type of hair loss these women have experienced has not been named, if their shedding was caused by a reaction to the Wen products, there are two most likely forms.
The most common hair loss condition that can occur as a result of an allergic reaction is Allergic Telogen Effluvium. This causes diffusely thinning hair from all over the scalp and is temporary, generally lasting no longer than twelve months once the underlying cause has been dealt with.
Alternatively, and more viable in the case of the 'scalp burns' described, is cicatricial alopecia also known as 'scarring alopecia'. This is where the follicles themselves are damaged by fire, radiation or from chemical reactions leading to areas of hair loss. Where the extent of the reaction destroys the hair follicles, the loss is permanent as treatment will no longer work. In these cases, the only way to recover hair tends to be via a hair transplant although this is assessed on a case by case basis.
If you experience any unpleasant side-effects from your haircare products the first thing to do is to stop using them and ensure you rinse all traces from your hair and scalp. Depending on the severity of your response, you should then seek medical assistance and/or book an appointment with a hair loss specialist who can assess you. After providing a full diagnosis, where appropriate they can then tailor a personalised regrowth plan and provide on-going advice to help nurse your hair and scalp back to 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.