Girl, 11, Loses Her Hair After Using Wen Conditioner Just Three Times, FDA Issues Alert

An 11-year-old girl from Colorado lost all of her long, red hair after using celebrity hairstylist Chaz Dean’s line of Wen hair products. The girl, Eliana Lawrence, used the Wen cleansing conditioner line a total of three times before she began noticing large bald spots on her head. The hair would continue to fall out until she was nearly bald. The girl is one of 21,000 Wen users who has filed complaints with the FDA over the hair products.

The Daily Mail reports that 11-year-old Eliana Lawrence nearly went bald after using the Wen cleansing conditioner line. The little girl reportedly began using the product shortly before her 9th birthday. However, after just three uses, Eliana’s mother says the child was losing a considerable amount of hair. Therefore, the family discontinued using the Wen products.

Sadly, the little girl would lose almost all of her hair and suffer extreme emotional distress at school. Eliana was tormented by her peers as the bald spots appeared, and she was eventually homeschooled as the taunting became too much to handle.

The little girl says that after her hair fell out, she was worried she may have cancer or some other serious illness.

“I was a little scared. I was scared that I had cancer or something.”

Though it has been over a year since using the Wen products and experiencing her sudden hair loss, Eliana’s mother Miriam Lawrence says her daughter’s hair still hasn’t’ fully grown back in. Therefore, Eliana has joined 200 other Wen users who say they suffered severe hair loss from the products. The group is joining together in a class action lawsuit against Wen creator Chaz Dean.

In total, more than 21,000 people have filed complaints with the FDA regarding Wen hair products. However, the FDA says that they do not have the authority to force Wen to recall the products. Instead, they are limited to assigning “alerts” for products with numerous complaints such as Wen.

The FDA alert details “hair loss, hair breakage, balding, itching and rash” as reported reactions to the Wen products.

“The FDA is investigating reports of hair loss, hair breakage, balding, itching, and rash associated with the use of WEN by Chaz Dean Cleansing Conditioner 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. 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.”

Miriam Lawrence says that the products need to be recalled and has written to two Colorado senators hoping that changes will be made. Lawrence notes that the Personal Care Safety Act would give the FDA the ability to recall potentially hazardous hair and skin care products, a measure that Miriam says must be taken to ensure other children like Eliana are not subjected to hair loss and the emotional trauma associated with it.

Though Chaz Dean continues to stand by his products, he did settle a class action lawsuit in late June. In that lawsuit, Guthy-Renker, Wen’s distributor, agreed to pay out $26.25 million in damages to people who purchased Wen products. The settlement offered $25 to anyone who used Wen products along with as much as $20,000 to those claiming they experienced hair loss or injury from the products.

A Guthy-Renker spokesperson said that the settlement was not an admittance of any wrongdoing but rather a “business decision.” The company continues to stand by the Wen products, noting they are “safe” and saying that claims of hair loss are unfounded.

What do you think about the girl’s claim that Wen hair products caused her to go bald? If the products are causing hair loss in some consumers, should the products be recalled?

[Image via iStockPhoto]