The Dangers of Phthalates in Shampoo Explained

Published on Oct 01, 2013 in Facts

Pronounced thal-ate, phthalates have become a growing concern in the health community due to its inclusion in so many different products; from shower curtains to medicinal supplements.

Phthalates are linked to many different health problems, including cancer endpoints and adult infertility(1). The Breast Cancer Fund itself recognizes it as a red flag(2), and toxicologists all put hazard tape around it.

What Exactly Are Phthalates?

It seems clear that phthalates are an ingredient we should probably be wary of but what exactly is it? After all, if we are going to be educated consumers shouldn’t we know where these ingredients come from and why we fear them? The dictionary definition of a phthalate is simply a salt or ester of phthalic acid. It works as a plasticizer which essential lend durability, flexibility, and longevity to PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) based products. For example, phthalates are added to your shower curtain so that it lasts longer. They can be literally in everything you use on a daily basis form toys and glue to paint and food products.  Up until very recently, most products continued to have some amount of phthalates in them. This is all changing. More and more studies are coming out showing the risks of long-term exposure to this chemical. Due to this knowledge phthalates are slowly being phased out of the manufacturing process.

If Phtalates Are So Dangerous, How Are They Legal?

Phthalates chemical structure

Phthalates chemical structure

Well, the FDA stated that as long as it’s branded as an ingredient on the product label, phthalates can be added(3). Cosmetics include phthalates to enhance the texture or include in the fragrance, of the product. They’re actually illegal in California and some parts of Europe.

“Women who use hairspray with phthalates have more sons with genital mutations. They decrease testosterone and the decrease sperm counts.”

Many synthetic fragrances contain phthalates as one of their ingredients. The problem is, if a cosmetic label says FRAGRANCE, even though that fragrance has phthalates, they don’t have to list it separately. Cosmetics, including shampoos and body washes, can include a fragrance which contains a plethora of phthalates. The chances are probably because they can get away with it.

That’s why it’s vital to stick to products that are phthalate-free. The only way to know for sure is to purchase a cosmetic which:

A) Does not list any phthalates in the ingredients

B) Obtains its aroma through all natural ingredients, instead of synthetic fragrance.

This is one of the primary health concerns that trigger the urge to switch from synthetically-laced fragrance cosmetics to those with genuine scents. 

Your body doesn’t deserve to take in harsh and hazardous synthetics. Health is the most valuable asset because time and everything else depend upon it – stay true to good health and stay away from anything that has phthalates, or fragrance (which may contain phthalates).

Natural Ingredients To Look For In Shampoo

After reading about all the risks of exposure to phthalates I am sure you are looking into natural ingredient-based cosmetics. It just so happens to be that we know a thing or two about natural cosmetics. Maple Holistics offers a wide variety of essential oil based shampoos and conditioners. Here are the three natural ingredients we feel you should look for in a shampoo.

Argan Oil

If you are into natural cosmetics odds are you have heard of argan oil. This oil has been used for centuries and is native to Morocco. The residents of Morocco have used argan oil to moisturize their skin and hair and even to cook with. The oil is rich in vitamin E and other fatty acids that a hydrated hand to your skin and hair. If you are having issues with dry skin or brittle hair argan oil may be exactly what the doctor ordered.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is another oil sourced from a faraway land, this time Australia. The Aboriginal people of Australia have used tea tree oil for a plethora of applications. The oil is well known for its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. It has been used as an antiseptic as well. All these properties make tea tree oil one of the more versatile essential oils on the market. When used in shampoo or conditioner  it can clear away dandruff. This is ideal if you have sensitive skin and want to stay away from those nasty smelling tar based dandruff shampoos.

Lavender Oil

Lavender essential oil is my favorite oil. This is because it not only shares many of the moisturizing and therapeutic properties of the other essential oils on this list. Its scent is magical. Lavender oil is used in everything from candles to soaps and detergents because of its scent. The scent is famous for inducing a sense of calm and relaxation. When used in shampoo it leaves your hair smelling amazing and moisturized. If you haven’t tried this oil what are you waiting for!