Can Shampoo Cause Hair Loss?

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Specialty: Dermatologist ,Hair, Skin, and Nail Disorders

Dr. Shruti Chavan is a consulting dermatologist at Dr.Sheth's Skin and Hair Clinic since 6 years. She is a co-committee member of CDSI (Cosmetic dermatologist Society of India). She is highly skilled in non-surgical facial skin rejuvenation... more

  • Ingredients You Should Avoid
  • Common Myths About Shampoo And Your Hair
  • How Often Should You Shampoo Your Hair?
  • Points To Remember

Ingredients You Should Avoid

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Several ingredients in shampoos can contribute to hair loss. Some of them can be irritants and cause scalp inflammation, making your hair thin and brittle. High alcohol percentage in the shampoos can dehydrate your hair. Ingredients, such as mineral oil and petroleum, which are used as lubricants, might weigh the hair down. Hence, look for shampoos that are devoid of such ingredients.

Here’s what you need to avoid:

Ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS) and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) are the two most common sulfates used in shampoos. They are strong detergents that have good cleansing and foaming properties that create a rich lather. But the downside is that they can make your hair dull, frizzy, rough, and prone to tangling (1). These sulfates are potential irritants, even at low concentrations, and cause hair damage.

Sodium chloride, also known as table salt, is used as a thickener in shampoos. It might dry out your hair and scalp and cause eye irritation and itchy scalp. High concentrations of sodium chloride can also cause hair loss (2).

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Formaldehyde is an antibiotic that helps keep your shampoo safe and shelf- stable. But high concentrations of formaldehyde can cause contact allergy and rashes (3). It is also considered a carcinogen (4). Formaldehyde and other preservatives penetrate the hair and damage it, leading to hair loss.

Propylene glycol acts as a humectant and helps nutrients penetrate your scalp. However, it can can irritate your scalp (5). If you cannot find shampoos without this ingredient, go for products with a low concentration of propylene glycol.

Stearyl, cetearyl, and cetyl alcohols are found in many shampoos. These alcohols are very drying and might strip the natural oils of your hair. Thus, use shampoos with less concentration of alcohol.

If you have sensitive skin or hair, avoid artificial fragrances and colors in your shampoos. They can cause scalp irritation. Switch to fragrance-free shampoos.

Common Myths About Shampoo And Your Hair

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Myth 1: If You Use Same Shampoo For Long Time, Your Hair Stops Responding.

You have probably heard that changing your shampoo every once in a while is necessary because your hair gets used to it and does not respond to the formula any longer. However, the truth is far from this.

If your shampoo is not as effective as it used to be, it might be due to changes in your lifestyle, food habits, or medications. It might also be due to a change in the formula or the wrong formula for your hair type. Too many surfactants in the shampoo can leave your hair dry, or too many ingredients can coat the hair and weigh it down. Hence, the solution is not to switch up shampoos but to choose one suitable for your hair type and issues.

Myth 2: Your Hair Will Clean Itself Without Using Any Shampoo.

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If you do not wash your hair, it will gather dust, dirt, and be coated in the sebum and oils releases from the sebaceous glands. Shampooing once a week is a must. Heard of the no-poo method? This involves washing your hair with a gentler alternative to traditional shampoos – like vinegar, baking soda, or just water. The no-poo method helps prevent scalp irritation and dryness caused by harmful ingredients in your shampoo. It also helps reduce the overproduction of greasy oils on your scalp. By avoiding shampoos, you are limiting your hair’s exposure to irritants.

Myth 3: Frequent Shampooing Damages Your Hair.

A shampoo not meant for your hair type or with harmful ingredients can damage your hair. Frequent shampooing strips the natural oils of your scalp and causes dryness. Thus, use a shampoo as per your hair type, and follow up with a leave- in conditioner. Remember, overusing any hair care products might hamper your hair health.

So, do you have to shampoo your hair at specific intervals? Find out in the next section.

How Often Should You Shampoo Your Hair?

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It depends on your hair type and scalp condition. If you have dry hair, shampoo not more than twice a week. On the other hand, oily hair types may require daily washing. If you have a normal hair type, shampoo your hair whenever you feel like you need it.

How Much Shampoo Is Enough?

10 ml shampoo is enough to clean your hair thoroughly. Also, the amount of shampoo required depends on your hair type and volume.

To reap maximum benefits from shampooing, remember these points.

Final Thoughts

Shampoos eliminate dirt and extra oils from your scalp and hair. They also help soften your hair and add shine. Ensure to pick a shampoo as per your hair type to prevent damage. Scan the ingredients list and avoid the elements that might dry out your hair. A good quality shampoo that is best suited for you will help prevent hair loss and make it healthy.

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