Women Claim Popular Beauty Product Triggers Hair Loss: What You Need to Know

female hair lossImagine a shampoo that not only promises to be sulfate-free, but also assures it can take the place of your daily conditioner, deep conditioner, and detangler. Sweet, right? Now let's say you splurge and buy a bottle, take it home, and use it -- and your hair starts falling out.

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That's what 200 women are claiming about WEN hair products -- and they've joined together in a class action lawsuit against the beauty line.

Haven't heard of WEN? It's the brainchild of celebrity stylist Chaz Dean, known for tending to the magnificent manes of stars like Brooke Shields and Alyssa Milano. Apparently, WEN products have a cult following. And reportedly pulled in a cool $100 million last year alone.

But, apparently, some women are saying the product line is responsible for severe damage to their hair. We're not exaggerating when we say "severe." According to the lawsuit -- which includes 200 women from 40 states -- WEN products caused visible bald spots, scalp irritation, rashes, and hair breakage.

Writers at The Daily Beast got ahold of the actual legal docs and say that lawyers for the women allege that tens of thousands more women could be affected.

Exactly what is going on and why these poor women lost their hair is a mystery, though. Attorneys for the plaintiffs have allegedly sent samples of WEN to a lab to be tested. (We hope not on animals!) But no results are back yet.

More from The Stir: Risks of Using Dry Shampoo Will Make You Want to Wash Your Hair

Until then, the lawsuit is somewhat vague, alleging that WEN products contain "a caustic ingredient that causes a chemical reaction and damages hair and follicles." Plus "numerous harsh chemicals and known human allergens."

The plaintiffs' lead counsel has her theories. In a TV interview, she explained, "It's like using lotion to wash your hair ... Instead of removing the product ... it just becomes impacted in your hair follicle."

Which sounds gross. But harmful enough to cause such extreme hair damage?

Delphine J. Lee, MD, PhD, FAAD, director of the Dermatological Center for Skin Health at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California, is skeptical. "I'm not aware of this product or any over-the-counter product that causes hair loss," she told The Stir. "There are many causes of hair loss, such as infections, autoimmune diseases, stress, medications, and genetic diseases."

WEN's parent company, Guthy-Renker, has entered into mediation with the women who filed the lawsuit. (In other words, they're trying to "work out their differences" without going to court.) Does that connote guilt on their part, though? Or just concern that they're being misjudged?

We don't know. But if you are experiencing any hair loss -- whether you're a WEN user or not -- "see a board-certified dermatologist so you can find out what's going on," advises Dr. Lee.

 

Image via iStock.com/travenian

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