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The Ugly Side of Beauty


Some cosmetics can have damaging side effects.


Bald patches, breaking hair and scalp rashes aren’t exactly beauty buzzwords. But those conditions are exactly what some consumers are accusing a line of haircare products of causing.

According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, complaints of adverse reactions from beauty products more than doubled from 2015 to 2016. And many of these targeted a well-known haircare product line. The FDA is investigating Wen Cleansing Conditioner products by Chaz Dean due to reports of hair loss, breakage, itching and rash.

In fact, the FDA discovered that Chaz Dean, Inc. reported a hair-raising 21,000 complaints about its popular hair products.

Unlike the pharmaceutical industry, cosmetics manufacturers are not required by law to reveal ingredients or report complaints about their products to the agency, so some scientists think those numbers are low. The JAMA study researchers are urging legislation that would give the FDA more oversight on cosmetics.

But don’t purge your products just yet. Even lead study author, Dr. Shuai Xu, says he thinks most cosmetics and hair care products are safe to use. “When it comes to cosmetics on the shelves that are dangerous, it’s very hard to prove,” he says. “In general, cosmetics are a very safe product class.”

Still, if you’d rather be safe than sorry, this might be a great time to try more natural and
organic cosmetics. Here are a few local choices:

Southern Rhoades Apothecary
Products that are organic, handmade and homegrown

Native Polish
Nail polish that is vegan, cruelty-free and 7-free (meaning that the polish does not contain seven harmful chemicals)

Voodoo Makeup
Cosmetics that are gluten, corn and soy-free