An 11-year-old Denver girl suffered through a lot of unnecessary grief after her hair started coming out in clumps, all due to a popular beauty treatment. Eliana Lawrence sported a beautiful crown of curly red hair, that is, until she suffered through the worst "bad hair day" of her life.
Surprisingly, her experience is not unique, and this product may even be hiding in your own bathroom!
Almost two years ago, right before her 10th birthday, Eliana had a disastrous encounter with a very well-known celebrity endorsed product. She wanted to try something new and different, and never could have imagined that a "safe" and "all-natural" product would lead to terrible complications in her personal life. So when her hair started falling out, she was scared that she had cancer! Thankfully for Eliana, her health was fine. However, Mom was smoking mad when she discovered the true culprit!
Eliana's mother Miriam was also frightened! She said the first time she combed out Eliana's hair, about a third of it came out. Mom is convinced the ingredients in Wen Hair Care cleansing conditioner are to blame. It was clear that Eliana's hair started to fall out after coming in contact with the product. In fact, it actually caused all of her daughter's gorgeous red locks to fall out after only three uses!
Yet, the FDA can't recall this product, or any personal care product they deem to be unsafe.
It turns out that Eliana's hair loss is not unique. Thousands of other consumers have also stepped forward with complaints of hair loss after using Wen Hair Care products. The FDA has received 127 consumer complaints against Wen. As Fox 31 Denver reports:
"More troubling? Wen's parent company admits to the FDA it's received over 21,000 customer complaints."
In response, the FDA put out an alert after receiving reports that this celebrity endorsed hair care product caused hair loss, balding and rashes.
Under public pressure, the FDA decided last month to open an investigation into the hair loss claims stemming from the use of Wen Hair Care products. However, this government agency actually has little control over the $62 billion dollar cosmetics industry.
"It turns out, even if the FDA concludes Wen Hair products are responsible for this girl's hair loss and the record number of complaints the FDA has received, the agency lacks the legal authority to even issue a recall."
It's hard to believe, but recalls for personal care products are entirely voluntary. Cosmetic industry companies are not required to pull their product from the shelf, even if it is proven to be unsafe.
The Personal Care Safety Act seeks to update old FDA regulations on makeup, skincare and personal care products. The act would finally give the agency recall authority on unsafe products. In the hopes that her own experience could help sway the votes of her state's elected officials, Eliana wrote them a heartfelt letter, asking for their support with this new legislation. She doesn't want anyone else to have to go through what she did.
Even though it's been almost two years, not all of Eliana's hair has grown back. It's a lot thinner, and there are still bald patches. Unfortunately, her traumatic experience with hair loss was compounded even further by the cruel taunts of a few bullies at school. As a result, she had to be home-schooled last year. She's certainly a brave and pretty young lady who has hopefully weathered the worst of this preventable experience!
Watch as Eliana tells the story in her own words.
As of now, there is no regulation that protects consumers against personal care products. Many personal care products are not as safe and natural as they seem, so be sure to reading up on the safety of individual ingredients on Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep cosmetic ingredient database.