FDA issues safety alert for hair conditioner after record number of complaints

Posted at 9:57 PM, Jul 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-27 21:57:58-04

DALLAS – 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.

The Wen cleansing conditioner line by celebrity stylist Chaz Dean 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.

“As I was shampooing my hair with it, I was noticing handfuls of hair,” former customer Cindy Peterson told WFAA in 2015. “Because my hair was so thick I didn’t notice it right away.”

(Aired January 14, 2016)

The FDA says it has received 127 direct complaints from consumers, the most ever about a cosmetic hair cleansing product, including cleansing conditioners. The FDA is also investigating more than 21,000 reported complaints alleged in the lawsuit against Guthy-Renker, the company that makes and markets the products.

"Consumers who experience a reaction ... should stop using the product and consult with their dermatologist or other health care provider," the FDA said in its recommendation. The cause of the alleged side effects is not yet known, and the FDA is urging anyone who experiences them to contact them.

Chaz Dean Inc. issued the following statement:

The Wen by Chaz Dean family cares deeply about everyone's hair health. We encourage people who inquire about any hair issues to seek qualified medical assistance because it is a complex topic.
WEN® by Chaz Dean is safe, and millions of bottles have been sold over the last 16 years. We have consistently cooperated with the FDA and will continue to do so. We love our brand and our customers.

Through this experience, we have learned that there is an immediate need for more education about hair health and common hair concerns in the industry, unrelated to Wen. There is no evidence that WEN products cause hair loss and the ingredients and formulations meet or exceed safety and quality standards set by the cosmetics industry. We stand behind them.