Surfactants, formaldehyde, parabens, silicones and hormonally active chemicals (EDC). All of this is found in beauty products that we use daily. The effects are manifold. Helmut Burtscher, Global 2000: "The disorders that can cause EDC range from a variety of hormone-associated cancers, to cardiovascular and infertility, to obesity, premature puberty, and learning and memory difficulties."
The surfactants, which are also contained in shampoos, dissolve dirt, are responsible for foaming and ensure that water and oil remain mixed. Often in industrial products for PEG's (polyethylene glycols) and their derivatives are used. These are usually aggressive, can cause irritation to the scalp and also make the skin more permeable to pollutants. Synthetic preservatives such as formaldehyde or parabens are needed to make shampoos, which are mostly water-based, last longer. However, the formaldehyde irritates the mucous membranes and eyes, in a higher concentration, according to a WHO study, a carcinogenic effect attributed to him.
The use of parabens in shampoos is also repeatedly associated with undesirable side effects. Silicones keep hair looking smooth and healthy. So far, no harmful effects have been found for them, but they are in turn problematic for the environment and also for the hair itself: the silicone covers the hair like a film when it is washed. Too frequent use leads to a "sealing effect", the hair becomes heavy and dries out unnoticed under the silicone coating.
Who wants to wash his head "chemistry-free", can today draw from the full. Natural cosmetics from plants and herbs are booming. In real natural shampoos, the chemical components, as the name suggests, are replaced by natural substances and the use of hormones is prohibited. Many manufacturers also take a holistic approach, often such products are organic and not only health, but also ecological and animal welfare aspects are considered.
Natural cosmetics expert Elfriede Dambacher: "Plants have enormous power. They need to protect themselves from enemies or adapt to their natural environment. This creates active ingredients that make use of natural cosmetics. In general, manufacturers refrain from mineral oil-based raw materials and use natural substances that can be recycled back into the natural cycle. Instead of paraffin and silicone, vegetable oils and waxes are used as raw materials. Instead of synthetic auxiliaries, a skilled mix of natural substances is used. Instead of high-tech substances from the laboratory, modern, natural plant active ingredients are used. The individual ingredients enhance each other's effects - thus creating a product that is more than the sum of the individual components. "
Thorough & gentle
The natural shampoos of the new generation have been steadily improving since they are on the market in terms of foaming power, combability, fullness and shine. In addition to cleaning, the manufacturers also focus on the care and health of hair and scalp. Experts advise you to massage the scalp well while washing with a natural shampoo. So it can be cleaned thoroughly but also gently.
Natural shampoos usually lather slightly less than conventional products, but do not dry out the scalp. After discontinuing conventional care, the hair may initially appear duller and drier. After a period of one to three months, the hair and scalp should have regained their balance.
In conversation with dermatologist Dr. med. Barbara Konrad
Natural shampoos: top or flop?
Konrad: In my opinion, a natural shampoo is better for the scalp and also the hair. Provided you can tolerate the vegetable ingredients.
Is it possible that chemicals in conventional shampoos cause impairments or allergies?
Konrad: In recent years there has been an increase in the contact allergic reactions to lyral, a synthetic fragrance, and methylisothiazolone, a preservative. Also, sodium laureth sulfate, which is often used as an additive because of its foaming effect, is irritating and dehydrating. I would definitely avoid this ingredient, if I tend to dry scalp, which also likes to scuff once.
Are there any active substances in conventional shampoos that you find questionable?
Konrad: Yes. For example, parabens, which are used as preservatives in many cosmetic products.
Oils for skin and hair
Essential oils are optimal partners in hair care and an important part of natural shampoos. Each has its own sphere of influence.
Tea tree oil is antibacterial, works against dandruff and cleanses clogged sebaceous glands.
Chamomile oil soothes the scalp, also combats dandruff and makes blond hair shine.
Sandalwood oil is anti-inflammatory and soothes dry and irritated scalp.
Peppermint oil stimulates the circulation of the scalp and hair growth.
Rosemary oil cleanses the scalp particularly thoroughly, strengthens the hair and is also a good remedy for dry scalp.
Lemon oil works especially well on oily hair and dandruff.
Greenwashing is a common problem. Because: Not everywhere where "nature" on it is also nature in it. The competition is huge and many vendors promote natural ingredients, although only a fraction of them are included in the product. Rather confusing than enlightening act thereby the many different quality seals. In principle, every manufacturer can develop their own guidelines and have their products certified. Who wants to know exactly what is contained in his shampoo must read through the list of ingredients.
Photo / Video: Shutterstock.