FDA Issues Product Warning After Girl Loses Hair

| by Sarah Zimmerman
11-year-old Eliana Lawrence11-year-old Eliana Lawrence

An 11-year-old girl from Denver had the shock of her life when her hair unexpectedly started falling out in clumps.

Eliana Lawrence once had a full head of red, curly hair. But over the course of three weeks, she lost it all, according to Health Eternally. 

The mother, afraid that her daughter had cancer, took her straight to the doctor to find a clean bill of health. It turns out the hair loss came from using Wen hair products, which were touted as "all natural" and promised to give users "stronger, fuller hair after just one use," according to its website. 

Instead of getting stronger hair, Eliana lost one-third of her locks just after the first use. After three uses, Eliana went completely bald.

She's not alone. Glamour magazine reports that the Chaz Dean products have received "the largest number of [safety] reports ever associated with any cosmetic hair cleansing product." 

As of July, more than 127 complaints were sent directly to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, while over 21,000 were sent to Wen headquarters. ​The FDA has launched an official investigation into the company, and has issued a warning, telling consumers to beware.

Consumers have also filed a class action lawsuit against the manufacturers of the Wen line of products.

"While the FDA continues its investigation, consumers should be aware of reactions reported in association with the use of WEN by Chaz Dean Cleansing Conditioner products," said the FDA in an official statement. "Consumers who experience a reaction after using Wen by Chaz Dean Cleansing Conditioner products should stop using the product and consult with their dermatologist or other health care provider."

Unfortunately, the FDA has no power to issue a recall of a personal care product, even if it deems that Wen unsafe. According to Health Eternally, recalls are entirely voluntarily and decided by the company, not a governmental body. 

It has been two years since Eliana lost all of her hair, and it has not fully grown back. She still has thin hair and bald spots. Unfortunately, that doesn't compare to the psychological effects of the incident. She reportedly faced bullying to the point that her mother had to pull her out of school. She has been home-schooled for the last year, according to Health Eternally.

Sources: Health Eternally, Glamour / Photo credit: Miriam Lawrence/Facebook

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