Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Dry Shampoo, a Possible Cancer Risk?

Today I received a notification on my cell phone. Lately, I receive so many, I barely pay attention to them, but this one caught my eye. The header on the notification said, “FDA recall due to cancer risk.” Whenever I see anything related to cancer, I pay close attention.

The voluntary government recall was for dry shampoos manufactured by Unilever. The products in question contained a chemical called Benzene, a known human carcinogen. Benzene can be inhaled, ingested, or be absorbed by the skin. It can cause deadly blood cancers like leukemia or bone marrow cancer.

As soon as I read the recall information, I ran to my bathroom cabinets and began pulling out products. I had several dry shampoos on hand, all by different companies. As I looked at the canisters and tried to read the small print containing ingredients, I became frustrated. The font was so small I could barely read it. Digging through a kitchen drawer, I pulled out my grandmother’s old magnifying glass. I was thankful I’d inherited it and knew it would come in handy one day! I was dumbfounded by the number of ingredients in each dry shampoo. Thankfully, mine were not any listed on the recall, but I decided then and there that I would find an alternative method of refreshing my hair between washings.

Scouring the internet, I looked for other products I could use instead of dry shampoo. My hair is oily at the roots and if I don’t wash it daily it tends to look greasy, so I needed a good solution.

Dry shampoo became popular in the 1940s when a product called Minipoo was created. The product was invented to help women who were unable to shower and promised to remove excess oil. It came with a handy application mitt.

Dry shampoos today are easier to apply – just spray into the hair, rub vigorously and go. It’s a great product for those who may want to skip a day or two between washings or to protect recently colored hair. It’s also an easy product to use with children because there’s no danger of burning soap getting into their eyes. Dry shampoos are excellent for the elderly. I used it often on my mother when she lived in an assisted living home and was bedridden.

I didn’t find a lot of practical alternatives to using dry shampoo. There were only 2 I would consider safe and effective: cornstarch or baby powder. Of those two, cornstarch would be my first choice and only talc free baby powder as a second. Baby powders with talc can also contribute to or cause lung cancer when inhaled.

It seems many beauty products have potential health risks associated with them. That’s why it’s so important to pay close attention to product recalls but even more important than that, to the list of ingredients on each package. The less ingredients the better.

I usually opt for natural cosmetics, but they’re hard to find and often more expensive than their chemically laden counterparts.

Please pay attention to the products you buy- look at the labels, ask questions, and pay particular attention to product recalls. Looking good always comes at a price, but it should never cost our health.

 

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