Updated: Feb 3
Yes it’s probably true and no I’m not scare mongering; Dermatologists saw a growth spurt (pardon the pun) in scalp complaints with sufferers experiencing sores, redness, inflammation and swelling, all classic signs of an allergic reaction namely Dermatitis. So would you be surprised if I told you regular shampoo and conditioner could be causing these reactions?
Methaylisothiazolinome or M.I for short is a powerful biocide and preservative added to many household products such as shampoo and hair colorants. M.I extends the shelf life of products and stops the likes of bacteria and yeast forming. This unwanted preservative features in many household products such as washing up liquid, face wipes, bubble bath, hand cream, sun cream moisturiser and even oil based paints!
MI was used with MCI/MI (another preservative) for many years, and in 2005 the European Commission approved manufacturers to use it as a single-agent, which ironically was supposed to have less impact on allergy suffers but has had the opposite effect with an influx of reported cases due to this higher single dose.
I’ve certainly seen the evidence first hand. Some of my own clients have complained over the years of aggravated, red, sore scalps (it was initially one of my own clients that made me aware of M.I ) and on investigating their bathroom cabinet, M.I was featured as an ingredient in their shampoo.
And whilst there is some good news with the European Cosmetics Trade Association advising its members to remove M.I from products left on the skin such as baby wipes and moisturisers and to lower M.I Concentration levels in other products, checking the labels on all your products is the by far the best option. If you think M.I is the reason for your newly acquired sensitive scalp, stop using the products immediately and symptoms should clear up after a week.
Finally it’s worth mentioning that at the beginning of this blog I said I wasn’t scare mongering and I’m not. To put it into context, if you haven’t yet reacted to M.I, you are unlikely to now. It’s not a demon substance that should be added to a long list of things to avoid and M.I is not even featured in the top ten but if your scalp has recently been having side effects from your new shampoo, it’s worth checking the label. After all being aware and choosing the right products for your hair (and scalp) can’t hurt.
Here are some of my favourite M.I free products to healthy hair and scalp.
Wella Professionals Elements Range offer a sulphate-free shampoo that works to rehydrate, nourish and protect dry and damaged hair. Nourishing and preserving from root to tip, the shampoo gently cleanses away impurities while helping to renew moisture. You'll find zero parabens and zero sulphates. Available from my online shop (£15.20, 250mls)
Wella Professionals INVIGO Balance with Balance-Blend™: Takes care of your individual scalp and hair needs, infused with caring and refreshing ingredients.
INVIGO Balance Senso Calm Shampoo is great for scalps. The lightweight and gentle cleanser lifts away any dirt, excess oil and product build-up whilst using a blend of Lotus Extract, Allantoin and Menthol to replenish vital hydration to irritated skin. Responding to specific hair and scalp needs, the nourishing shampoo will leave behind clean, healthy and invigorated results. Invigo Balance Senso Calm Shampoo £12.30 (250mls)
For a real treat, book yourself in for a Nioxin scalp dermabrasion treatment. The No.1 Scalp treatment range. Think of it as a facial for your scalp! Click here for more details.