Many shampoos contain ingredients that may cause allergic reactions for some people, and hypoallergenic shampoo manufacturers strive to remove the most common harmful ingredients from their products. Some hypoallergenic shampoos are simply fragrance-free and have no added color, as these are two common culprits of allergic reactions. Other agents that could cause allergies may include herbs, botanicals, some foaming agents, and parabens used as preservatives in hair and skin care products. It is essential to check the labels carefully because some hypoallergenic shampoos avoid all irritants, while others may remove only the fragrance and color.
To prevent possible skin issues for people who have sensitive skin, hypoallergenic shampoo often contains no added color. Regular shampoo manufacturers may use either natural or chemical dyes to make their cleansers more attractive. Artificial colors sometimes cause rashes, hives, or other unpleasant skin reactions. Natural dyes made from herbs and botanicals also may cause problems because of properties that cause drying or irritation.
Hypoallergenic shampoo generally does not contain added synthetic fragrances. Manufacturers sometimes include fragrance in their products to cover chemical smells. There are many types of synthetic fragrances contained in shampoos, but they may be easy to avoid by carefully reading labels, keeping in mind that fragrances generally appear at the bottom of ingredient lists. Additionally, artificial fragrances commonly utilize alcohol, which can cause skin dryness and irritation.
In addition to a lack of chemical fragrances, hypoallergenic shampoos generally avoid unnecessary herbs and botanicals that could cause skin irritation. For example, some people are allergic to cinnamon, cloves, and different types of mint, which sometimes are used as fragrances in shampoo. Oxidized linalool, found naturally in mint and lavender, is one of the most common fragrance ingredients that causes skin problems. Additionally, herbal and botanical ingredients often require harsh preservatives to increase their shelf lives, and these preservatives can cause skin irritation.
A hypoallergenic shampoo almost always has no added fragrance or color, but preservatives could cause problems as well. Parabens and mercury-based preservatives can cause allergic reactions for people with sensitive skin. Despite the allergic reactions caused by preservatives, they still may be included in a hypoallergenic shampoo to prolong the product’s shelf life. For people with extreme allergies, it is important to check the ingredient labels carefully.
Preservatives are not the only additive that could cause irritation yet still finds its way into hypoallergenic shampoos. Sodium lauryl sulfate is one of the most commonly used agents that causes skin irritation. The substance is used in many shampoos because it allows the products to foam when rubbed, and although the agent has been reported to cause cancer and damage endocrine systems, it is still a common ingredient in shampoo and may be found in some hypoallergenic shampoos.