Head and Shoulders is one of the more well-known hair care brands. They specialize in shampoos that specifically target the problem of dandruff. Chronic dandruff can be a huge problem, even causing hair loss in some cases, which is why you are probably looking at their shampoos.
However, you don’t want to use a shampoo that solves one problem only to give you a different one. So, does Head and Shoulders cause hair loss? Looking at reviews from people who have had hair loss because of using this brand of shampoo, the answer is: it can, but it doesn’t always do so.
To better know if the Head and Shoulders shampoo might cause hair loss for you, let’s look at what people say and what is in it that might cause this reaction.
What Head And Shoulders Says
Head and Shoulders has a F&Q on their website that has the question: Does Head & Shoulders damage your scalp? Their answer to that is: “No – in fact, Head & Shoulders has been proven to take care of your scalp and keep it – and your hair – healthy.”
They go on to point out that dandruff is a sign your scalp isn’t healthy and that the flakes, and the itchiness that accompanies them, can cause damage to your scalp. Their shampoo is designed to remove these dandruff flakes and soothe any irritation so that your scalp doesn’t itch.
They go on to say that the Head and Shoulders shampoos provide your scalp with protection from daily stresses like pollution, heat, sweat, and other things that can make dandruff worse.
Head and Shoulders ends by recommending that those with a sensitive scalp should choose a shampoo from their Purely Gentle line of products. This line is the least likely to cause any type of reaction on your scalp.
What Other People Say
What people say about Head and Shoulders is widely varied. Some people have used this brand of shampoo for years. Far from having any side effects, they have been benefited tremendously by aid in controlling their dandruff.
Other people say that Head and Shoulders is risky to use, that they had some type of allergic reaction to it, or that it made them lose their hair. Still, others say that the hair loss these people suffered from is due to the dandruff, which does cause hair loss as well.
Most people agree that, though Head and Shoulders does work for most people, these shampoos can also directly or indirectly cause hair loss. In almost all the negative cases, the problem is due to the harshness of some of the ingredients.
What The Ingredients Say
Head and Shoulders has many different shampoos, each of which has its own ingredients. However, some of the ingredients are in a large number of the shampoos. Let’s examine Head and Shoulders’ more common ingredients that could be harmful.
Many of the ingredients in Head and Shoulders are very drying for your scalp and hair. Dry hair is brittle and breaks easily, making your hair thin. In small amounts, these ingredients are sometimes fine, but not always. Unfortunately, Head and Shoulders tend to have a number of these ingredients in all their shampoos.
Non-Water-Soluble Silicones – are in many Head and Shoulders products, often labeled as dimethicone. These are frequently put in hair products to form a protective layer over your hair and make it shinier.
While that is good in theory, these are hard to wash out. The result is a buildup that makes your hair dry out and become brittle due to preventing moisture from getting to your hair.
Sulfates – are in many shampoos from this brand for the purpose of removing dirt and debris from the hair and scalp. The two main ones of these Head and Shoulders uses are Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS).
This ingredient can dry out your hair, causing brittleness and breaking. What’s more, sulfates are also likely to be irritating, causing bumps and itching. This leads to scratching your scalp, causing damage to your follicles.
Some people are very sensitive to sulfates and have contact dermatitis with any sulfate. What’s worse is that SLES can have a negative reaction that lasts up to seven days, even after you stop using it.
Sodium Chloride – is a type of salt that is very drying for your hair. Unfortunately, it is in almost all their products.
Other Potentially Harmful ingredients
Though this is not due to one specific ingredient, Head and Shoulders shampoos are known for leaving residue. This is especially true for hair types that are course, being most pronounced on things like dreadlocks.
Not only does this residue look bad, it also has a negative impact on the health of your hair. Aside from that, Head and Shoulders is not cruelty-free. It is also not safe for septic tanks, which is supposedly due to the harsh chemicals in it. If it is considered harsh for your septic tank, do you think it isn’t harsh on your scalp?
Artificial Fragrances – are in most of these shampoos, often near the top of the list. This means there is a lot of fragrance in them, and it doesn’t say what the smell is made from. However, this ingredient is notorious for being petroleum-based. Petroleum-based products are proven to be harmful, and they can potentially cause hair loss.
Methylchloroisothiazolinone and Methylisothiazolinone – are, again, in most of the Head and Shoulder products, usually together. They are present to minimize bacterial growth, but they also cause contact dermatitis in some people. This causes both irritation and hair loss.
Methylisothiazolinone, in particular, is antimicrobial but has also been linked to nerve damage. In Korea, it is sometimes considered a potentially hazardous chemical due to the fact that it caused damage to various organs, including the lungs, kidneys, eyes, and skin when it was tested as a disinfectant humidifier.
Can Head And Shoulders Help With Hair Growth?
The main two active ingredients in almost all the Head and Shoulders shampoos are zinc pyrithione and selenium sulfide. These are both antifungal chemicals meant to eliminate the specific yeast bacteria responsible for causing dandruff.
Zinc pyrithione (ZPT) may also be antibacterial, though there isn’t any evidence to support this just yet. There have been some clinical studies done that prove Head and Shoulders shampoos do have a beneficial effect on dandruff, but these studies are hard to find.
However, many people using this brand of shampoo state how much it has helped with their dandruff. If the dandruff is bad enough to interfere with hair growth, it stands to reason that getting rid of it will allow your hair to grow again. In this way, Head and Shoulders can help with hair growth.
Head and Shoulders obviously has some ingredients that are capable of causing hair loss. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it will cause hair loss for you.
If you already know that one or more ingredients in these shampoos causes you to have a bad reaction, you shouldn’t consider this brand an option as a treatment for dandruff. This is also far from a good option if you want a natural remedy for dandruff.
Some people recommend that, if you have dandruff and Head and Shoulders seems to be the best option, you should only use it once a week. This lets you get some of its help with dandruff while hopefully not drying out your hair too much.
Have you used Head and Shoulders? What was your experience with this shampoo?