Dr Carlos Wesley
1050 Fifth Avenue * New York, NY 10028 * 844-745-6362
3rd Apr


New York Times Asks Dr. Wesley to Weigh in On DevaCurl

With at least 10 class-action lawsuits pending, including four in New York, in which customers say DevaCurl damaged their scalps and made their hair fall out in clumps, The New York Times asked Dr. Wesley to weigh in on the controversy.

It’s still not clear what caused the Deva-Curl problem. On its “facts” website, DevaCurl states: “Our products do not cause hair loss” — that phrase in bold italic — “because they do not penetrate the scalp or affect the hair bulb. Hair loss is often related to excessive scalp irritation, medical conditions and other stressors.”

Asked by The New York Times to fact-check this statement, two doctors — not affiliated with either DevaCurl or the lawsuit — refuted it. “That’s like saying Amazon does not directly influence customers’ holiday spirit because their delivery people do not fully enter buyers’ homes,” said Carlos Wesley, a hair restoration surgeon in Manhattan.

Dr. Wesley, who also reviewed the list of some 200 ingredients posted on the website, said that some of them, including aminomethyl propanol, a product stabilizer, do penetrate the skin’s uppermost layers. And depending on where a hair is in the growing cycle, it can be open or closed to product penetration, making it likely that some cleanser or cream has infiltrated the stem cell region of the follicle, Dr. Wesley said.

Dr. Wesley also pointed to a solvent called propylene glycol, which causes redness, and said that with such a lengthy list of ingredients, some instances of scalp sensitivity “are not surprising.”

Where does all this leave you when choosing a hair product? Practically needing a degree in cosmetic chemistry, unfortunately.

Both Dr. Wesley and Dr. Senna, who teaches at Harvard Medical School, avoided naming brands to use, saying it was impossible to keep up with the sheer number of products and their ever-changing formulations. Dr. Wesley recommends washing the scalp at least three times a week to remove sebum, which contains cortisol and DHT, both hormones that contribute to shedding and gradual hair loss. Plain old water — no label reading required there — can work perfectly fine for the task, he said.

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