Nioxin speak to women about their experiences with hair loss
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You should choose your shampoo and conditioner with great care because many products contain a potentially dangerous chemical known as methylisothiazolinone (MIT) that can cause hair loss. Express.co.uk chatted to Dr Deborah Lee from Dr Fox online Pharmacy to find out why YOUR shampoo could be causing hair loss.
Shampoo is used to wash out excess grease, dirt and pollutants out of your hair and conditioner replaces any healthy oils that are lost in the process to keep your hair healthy.
Never pick the first shampoo and conditioner you spot in the shops – the cheaper option isn’t always the best option, you have to be really careful when it comes to selecting hair products.
MIT is a preservative often added to cosmetic products and household cleaning agents to prevent the overgrowth of bacteria, viruses, yeasts and moulds, and up to 10 percent of the UK population are thought to be suffering from allergic reactions due to MIT allergy.
MIT is a cause of allergic contact dermatitis – an inflammatory skin reaction that takes place in the skin or scalp and can cause hair loss.
MIT reactions in shampoo and condition are rare, but they do still happen.
Dr Lee said: “MIT is often present in shampoo and conditioner, but because these products are rinse-off, they are not in direct contact with the skin for very long, so serious scalp allergies are rare.
“It is not uncommon, however, for MIT containing products to cause irritation of mucous membranes such as the eyes, nose or mouth.”
If your body recognises MIT as a foreign substance, it makes specific (IgE) antibodies to the MIT allergen, at the site of skin contact.
Dr Lee explained: “In acute dermatitis, the skin look reds, swollen and often blistered, it can feel hot, itchy and burning and sometimes the blisters burst.
“If dermatitis becomes chronic, there may be recurrent bouts of dry, itchy skin, or soreness.
“MIT allergy has been reported to cause acute scalp dermatitis, acute eyelid dermatitis, and dermatitis of the face, neck and upper back.
“If it is used in the genital area, MIT may cause skin rashes on the genital area, buttocks and around the anus – including nappy rash in babies. Allergy to MIT is likely to be detectable by skin patch testing.”
Scalp health has a major role in hair growth and quality.
Hair that emerges from an unhealthy scalp has been shown to have damage to the cuticle – the outermost portion of the hair – along with alterations to the protein and lipid components of the hair. If the scalp is in poor condition, this can also disrupt the hair growth cycle.
Atopic dermatitis and seborrheic dermatitis, both of which affect the scalp, are therefore associated with hair loss.
Dr Lee said: “The scalp and hair follicles are also subjected to oxidative stress – a harmful metabolic process that takes place every day throughout our bodies.
“Cellular reactions are required to release oxygen, and this results in the formation of electrically charged molecules called reactive oxygen species (ROS).
“These have the ability to damage DNA and further disrupt cellular activity. Oxidative stress in the scalp affects the ability of the hair follicle to grow more hair.
“Oxidative stress is fuelled by smoking, atmospheric pollutants, a poor diet, stress, U/V radiation, and scalp irritants.
“Hair thinning is common with ageing, and although this is often genetic, the health of the scalp and the degree of oxidative stress can affect the rate of hair loss.
“MIT allergy is a type of irritant scalp dermatitis. Irritant scalp dermatitis can lead to hair loss. It can be caused by a variety of different chemicals added to shampoo and conditioner (see below).”
Read the label and find out the product ingredients to see whether your shampoo or conditioner contains MIT.
Don’t be thrown off by the big words on the back of the packaging, Dr Lee has broken down exactly which nasty ingredients to be wary of.
Dr Lee said Isothiazolones, which includes MIT, are a group of chemicals, may be labelled as any of the following:
- Methylchloroisothiazolinone (MCI or MCIT)
- Benzisothiazolinone (BIT)
- Chloromethylisothiazolinone (CMIT)
- Octylisothiazolinone (OIT, OI)
- Amerstat 250
- Euxyl K 100
- Fennosan IT 21
- Grotan TK2
- Kathon CG
- Mergal K7
- Metatin GT
- Mitco CC 32 L
Avoid shampoo, conditioner and other cosmetic products which contain MIT. Look for MIT-free products.
Opt for MIT-free hair products, such as the following shampoos and conditioners:
- Green People Daily Aloe Shampoo
- Lush shampoo bars
- Radox Refresh Shower Gel & Shampoo
- Timotei Pure Shampoo
- Dr Organic range
- Moroccan Oil Shampoo
- Eubos Sensitive Shampoo
- Matrix Bioloage Normalising Clean Reset Shampoo
- Timotei Pure Conditioner
- Moroccan Oil Conditioner
- Australian Organics Nourishing Restorative Conditioner
- Charles Worthington Brilliant Brunette Travel Mini
Dr Lee concluded: “MIT is also found in makeup, baby wipes, moisturisers and sunscreens, so you should always read the label of a product.”
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