In the minds of most preteens, worry revolves around popularity, grades and having enough money to buy candy. But 11-year-old Eliana Lawrence from Denver has a more mature problem on her mind – hair loss.
Once upon a time, Eliana had a beautiful crown of red hair. She even played the title character in her school’s adaptation of the musical Annie. But then, just before her 10th birthday, she began using hair products from Wen by Chaz Dean’s cleansing and conditioner line. After just three uses, her hair began coming out in clumps.
“The first time I combed out her hair and it was about a third of her hair,” Eliana’s mother Miriam told The Daily Mail.
This alarming hair loss continued until Eliana was just about bald.
NOT JUST ELIANA
You can imagine how upset Eliana and her mother must have been when they contacted the FDA and were told that their report was just one of 127 filed against Wen by Chaz Dean. According to the FDA’s official warning, that’s the highest number of complaints they’ve ever received for a single cosmetic hair cleansing product.
To make matters worse, Chaz Dean, Inc. has admitted to receiving complaints of hair loss from21,000 customers. A class-action lawsuit has been launched against the company by more than 200 women, all of whom say they’ve suffered serious – possibly permanent – hair loss.
And yet, Wen by Chaz Dean is conducting business as usual. The products to blame are still on sale. Based on how popular they are, you may even have a bottle in your bathroom cupboard!
You see, even though the FDA has issued a warning against the line, they don’t have the ability to mandate recalls for personal care products.
Eliana Lawrence hopes to change that.
She’s reached out to Colorado’s senators, requesting that they support the Personal Care Safety Act. This act would grant the FDA control over the largely unregulated cosmetics industry.
HOW WEN BY CHAZ DEAN PRODUCTS CAUSE HAIR LOSS
The FDA and a private firm are still conducting investigations into what ingredients are to blame for the reported effects.
It could be the cetyl and cetearyl alcohols, which are known to dry out hair. It could also be hydroxycitronellal – a chemical banned in the European Union because of its toxic properties.
Whatever the ingredient is, the design of Wen by Chaz Dean’s products makes it difficult to wash out.
“What we understand about the product and how it causes hair loss is it contains virtually no cleanser,” lawyer Amy Davis, lead counsel for the plaintiffs, said. “It’s like using lotion to wash your hair, so instead of removing the product, when you rinse it off, it just becomes impacted in your hair follicle.”