ingredients in shampoo that cause hair loss
By Tamim Hamid Updated on 04/11/2024

7 Harmful Ingredients in Shampoo That Cause Hair Loss

Maintaining healthy and lustrous hair is a priority for everyone, so we must be aware of the dangers hiding in our everyday hair care products. Using the right shampoo is important when following your daily hair care routine. But did you know that some shampoos can actually cause hair loss? Yes, it's true. There are certain harmful ingredients in shampoo that cause hair loss. These ingredients can weaken our hair follicles, disrupt the natural hair growth cycle, and lead to thinning or even loss of hair over time.

In this article, we will explore the harmful chemicals that you need to avoid in your shampoo. By understanding the effects of these substances, you can make smarter choices when selecting shampoos and take better care of your hair to keep it healthy and strong. 

Can All Shampoo Cause Hair Loss?

Not all shampoos can cause hair loss. Many shampoos are specifically designed to promote hair health and do not harm your hair. The key is to avoid shampoos that contain harmful chemicals or ingredients that can contribute to hair loss. Some of these ingredients include sulfates, such as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS), which are known to strip the hair of its natural oils and can cause dryness and breakage.

What are the ingredients in shampoo that cause hair loss?

However, some ingredients can irritate the scalp or damage hair, potentially leading to increased hair breakage or thinning, which may appear as hair loss. Here are some chemicals or ingredients ingredients that cause hair loss:

1. Sulfates

Sulfates are ingredients commonly found in many shampoos. They are responsible for creating the foam and lather that we often associate with shampooing our hair. However, sulfates, such as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS), can potentially cause hair loss or damage.

Sulfates have strong cleansing properties, and while they effectively detoxify the hair, they can also strip away the natural oils that keep our scalp and hair healthy. This can lead to dryness and make the hair more prone to breakage. When the hair becomes weak and brittle, it can eventually result in thinning or hair loss. So, avoid shampoo with harmful ingredients like sulfates.

2. Parabens

Parabens are ingredients commonly found in shampoos and other personal care products that have been associated with potential hair loss. Parabens, such as methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben, are used as preservatives to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi in these hair products. Parabens also can disrupt hormonal balance in the body. Hormonal imbalance can affect the health of hair follicles and possibly contribute to hair loss. Parabens have been found to mimic estrogen, a hormone that plays a role in hair growth and maintenance. When the hormone balance is disrupted, it can lead to hair thinning, weakened hair follicles, and eventual hair loss.

3. Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is another harmful chemical found in some shampoos and may contribute to hair loss. Formaldehyde is an ingredient in hair products used as a preservative or to help prevent bacterial growth. It is also released by preservatives like Dimethyl-dimethyl (DMDM) hydantoin and imidazolidinyl urea when they come into contact with water. The presence of formaldehyde in shampoos is harmful because it is a known irritant and can damage the hair and scalp. Continuous exposure to formaldehyde can weaken the hair follicles, leading to hair breakage and even hair loss. It can cause scalp irritation, dryness, and inflammation, further contributing to hair problems.

4. Diethanolamine (DEA)

DEA is an ingredient used in shampoos to create a rich lather and adjust the pH level of the product. However, it can have negative effects on the hair and scalp. DEA can cause scalp irritation and dryness, leading to hair problems. It can disrupt the natural balance of oils on the scalp, making the hair more vulnerable to breakage and loss. When the scalp is irritated and the hair becomes weak, it can result in thinning hair or even noticeable hair loss over time.

5. Propylene Glycol

Propylene glycol is an ingredient used in shampoos as a thickening agent and as a humectant, which helps to retain moisture in the hair. However, it can have negative effects on the scalp and hair. Propylene glycol has been known to cause scalp irritation and dryness. When the scalp is irritated, it can disrupt the natural balance of oils and moisture, leading to hair problems. A dry and irritated scalp can make the hair more prone to breakage and hair loss over time.

6. Silicones

Silicones are a type of ingredient commonly found in shampoos and hair products. They are added to provide smoothness, shine, and manageability to the hair. While silicones do not directly cause hair loss, they can mask the appearance of hair loss in some cases.  Silicones coat the hair strands, making the hair feel smoother and appear shinier. However, this coating can also weigh the hair down and lead to product buildup over time. The accumulation of silicones and other product residues can clog the hair follicles and prevent proper scalp and hair health. When the follicles are clogged, it can hamper hair growth and potentially contribute to thinning or hair loss.

7. Alcohol

Various shampoos, especially cheaper ones, are stuffed with alcohol. This harmful shampoo ingredient can dry out hair and gradually destroy hair follicles. Ingredients like ethanol, isopropyl alcohol, or denatured alcohol are types of alcohol used in shampoos. They are used for different reasons, such as helping to dissolve other ingredients and acting as a preservative.  However, excessive use of alcohol-based shampoos can have negative effects on the hair and scalp.

Alcohol has a drying effect and can strip the hair and scalp of their natural oils, leading to dryness and irritation. This can weaken the hair shaft and make it more prone to breakage and hair loss. Additionally, alcohol can disrupt the balance of the scalp's natural moisture, which is important for maintaining healthy hair growth. So, it's important to be aware of alcohol-containing shampoos and choose products that are alcohol-free or have low alcohol content to keep your hair healthy and nourished.

Learn More: Does Creatine Cause Hair Loss?

How Do You Know If Shampoo Ingredients Are Causing Hair Loss?

how to know bad shampoo ingredients

If you're experiencing hair loss and suspect it might be due to bad shampoo ingredients, there are some signs to look out for. One common indicator is excessive hair shedding (more than 50-100 strands per day) during or after shampooing. It could be a red flag if you notice a significant increase in the amount of hair you lose while washing your hair.

Additionally, if your scalp becomes dry, itchy, or irritated after using a particular shampoo, it might be a sign that the ingredients are harsh and causing damage. Pay attention to any changes in the texture of your hair as well. If it becomes brittle, weak, or prone to breakage, it could result from using shampoos with harmful chemicals. These signs can help you determine if your hair loss is a result of bad shampoo ingredients.

How to Identify and Avoid Shampoos That Cause Hair Loss

avoid bad shampoo ingredients

When choosing a shampoo that won't cause hair loss, knowing which ingredients to watch out for is essential. Firstly, look on their ingredient panel for shampoos free of harmful chemicals like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) or ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS). These sulfates can strip away the natural oils from your scalp, leading to dryness and hair breakage. Furthermore, keep an eye out for shampoos containing drying alcohols such as ethanol, isopropyl alcohol, or denatured alcohol. These alcohols can dry out your hair and scalp, making your locks more prone to damage and hair loss. Instead, look for shampoos with moisturizing alcohols like cetyl alcohol or stearyl alcohol, which can help keep your hair healthy and hydrated.

To avoid shampoos that cause hair loss, choose gentle and nourishing formulas. Look for shampoos that are labeled as "gentle," "mild," or "for sensitive scalp." These formulations are typically milder and less likely to cause irritation or dryness. Additionally, prioritize shampoos containing natural ingredients like aloe vera, chamomile, or coconut oil, as they can nourish and hydrate your hair and scalp. Also, you should avoid shampoos with excessive fragrances or artificial colors, as they can sometimes contain harsh chemicals that may harm your hair. By selecting shampoos with gentle and nourishing formulas, you can help promote a healthy scalp and reduce the risk of hair loss.

Theradome for Hair Loss Treatment from Shampoo Chemicals

If you're experiencing hair loss due to using shampoos with harmful ingredients, Theradome is your treatment option. If you have been using such shampoos and notice hair loss, Theradome can help reverse the damage and promote hair regrowth. Theradome, with its low-level laser therapy (LLLT) technology, can stimulate the hair follicles and counteract the effects of bad shampoo ingredients.  The Theradome hair helmet, by exposing the scalp to its red laser light, activates the cells within the hair follicles. This increases blood circulation, promotes a healthier scalp environment, and encourages hair growth. If you suspect that your hair loss is caused by shampoos with damaging chemicals, incorporating Theradome into your hair care routine and switching to milder and more nourishing shampoos will be a beneficial approach to address the issue.


It's important to be aware of the harmful effects of certain ingredients in shampoos that cause hair loss. Seven ingredients commonly found in shampoos, such as sulfates, parabens, and drying alcohols, have been linked to damage and dryness of the hair and scalp, leading to hair loss over time. Choose shampoos free of these harmful ingredients and instead look for products with natural, nourishing ingredients. If you're already experiencing hair loss due to bad shampoo ingredients, try Theradome laser hair growth helmet. Theradome has become popular, helping thousands of users in treating hair loss.

Furthermore, if you are suffering from the pain of losing your hair, you will benefit from this ground-breaking, comprehensive book “Grow It Back.” You'll finally understand how you can stop it and regrow your own natural hair using FDA-cleared, safe laser phototherapy.


Is my shampoo causing hair loss?

Your shampoo could be causing hair loss if it contains harsh ingredients or irritates your scalp. Switching to a milder shampoo may determine if the hair loss improves.

What ingredient in shampoo makes hair fall out?

Certain ingredients like sulfates, drying alcohols, and harsh chemicals in shampoos can contribute to hair fall and damage. Opting for shampoos without these ingredients can help reduce hair loss.

Why do drying alcohols in shampoos cause hair loss?

Drying alcohols in shampoos can cause hair loss by drying out the hair and scalp, leading to increased dryness, scalp irritation, and brittle hair prone to breakage and shedding.

How much hair loss is normal after shampoo?

It's normal to experience some hair shedding after shampooing, typically around 50-100 strands. However, if you notice excessive hair loss or large clumps of hair coming out, it may be a cause for concern and worth consulting a professional.

How do sulfates in shampoo contribute to hair loss?

Sulfates in shampoo cause hair loss by stripping natural oils away from the hair and scalp, leading to dryness, irritation, and weakened hair strands.


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Tamim Hamid

Tamim Hamid

Inventor and CEO of Theradome

Sayyid Tamim Hamid, Ph.D, is the inventor of the world’s first FDA-cleared, wearable phototherapy device to prevent hair loss and thicken and regrow hair. Tamim, a former biomedical engineer at NASA and the inventor of Theradome, brings with him more than 38 years of expertise in product development, laser technology, and biomedical science. Tamim used his laser knowledge, fine-tuned at NASA, and combined it with his driving passion for helping others pursue a lifelong mission in hair loss and restoration. He is now one of the world’s leading experts.