Nikki and I have decided to do a series on product ingredient classes so that the readers of CurlyNikki can better start to identify and understand common ingredients listed on product labels.
Last week, we covered humectants; this week, we are going to talk about petrochemicals.
Petrochemicals are by-products of crude oil and are reportedly added to hair care
products as moisturizers and protectants. Like non-water soluble silicones, however, they
coat the hair shaft, preventing moisture from penetrating into the hair, and can suffocate
the hair shaft, leading to damage and breakage over time.
Common petrochemicals found in hair care products include mineral oil, paraffin and petrolatum.
Some authorities believe petrochemicals invade the hair follicles of your scalp and, once in the follicle, can also get into your blood and accumulate in your body tissue over time. A growing number of health care professionals believe the potential toxins in petrochemicals can result in brain, nervous system, kidney and liver damage.
Numerous petrochemicals have also been proven to cause various types of cancers in both males and females.
Although petrochemicals can give the appearance of healthy hair by forming a barrier to make the hair shaft look “smooth,” they are best avoided in favor of more natural ingredients due to the potential dangers of their use.
Next week: essential oils
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