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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a safety alert about a line of cleansing hair conditioners after receiving a slew of complaints about hair loss, bald spots, itching and rashes.  Some 21,000 people have lodged complaints with the manufacturers of WEN by Chaz Dean Cleansing Conditioner products.  The WEN cleansing conditioner is the subject of an ongoing class action lawsuit filed in 2014 but the sheer number of complaints prompted the FDA to issue an alert on July 19th.  This new warning backs up the class action lawsuit in which more than 200 women in 40 states allege that the WEN formula caused “severe and possibly permanent damage” to their hair.

Advertised as a natural, less harsh alternative to traditional shampoos, the product formulations actually contain a slew of synthetic chemicals, including common allergens.  Consumers began complaining to Guthy-Renker, LLC, one of the products’ distributors, as early as 2008.

The FDA will now begin investigating the claims against WEN, which has continued to maintain the safety of its products.  The agency stated in a press release “The FDA has not yet determined a possible cause for the adverse events that have been reported and have called upon the company to provide any data that might help us to better understand the reports of hair loss associated with the use of WEN.  The FDA also has reached out to physicians and other health care providers asking them to notify their patients of hair loss and other complaints associated with the use of these products and to report adverse events to the agency.”

While the FDA continues its investigation, they recommend that consumers should be aware of reactions in association with the use of WEN.  Consumers who experience a reaction after using WEN products should stop using the product and consults with their dermatologist or other health care provider.

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