The truth about Sodium Lauryl Sulphate and what is in our cosmetics.

It’s no secret that I loves ma organic ‘erbal products.
I’m a bit of a hippy but I really enjoy learning about natural foods and cosmetics, because I’m a big believer that what you put ON your body is just as important as what you put INTO it.
When it comes to cosmetics, I think most of us are pretty la dee da about the ingredients used. We choose something that we like the look and feel of, something that smells good and works for us, something that is affordable. Would many of us ever guess that the majority of cosmetics, soaps, toothpastes and shower gels we use on a daily basis are actually formed from toxic ingredients known for their use in the cleaning industry?Sodium lauryl sulphate- an ingredient commonly used in garage floor cleaners, engine degreasers and car wash soaps, is an extremely harsh irritant that breaks down cells and actually AGES your skin. Now I know that when I go out to buy my makeup I don’t go up to the sales assistant and say, ‘Hey, you know what, I’d really like a product that can strip away my skin cells and make me look older thanks’. Or, ‘Can you sell me something that will penetrate so far into my skin that it reaches my internal organs, brain, liver and lungs? Yes? Awesome!’

Sounds dramatic doesn’t it? Yet, this is exactly what these products are doing to us.
The main reason that I can gather as to why such a harsh ingredient is used in our everyday cosmetic products is that it is cheap, and it helps to strip oil away (which of course we want when washing our hair or when prone to oily skin), but the level to which it absorbs into our skin and systems is extreme, and the effects can be very dangerous.

Below is some information I have gathered on the ingredient, and in my following blog I’ll list some of my favourite natural alternatives for those interested.

 “Sodium lauryl sulfate is used throughout the world for clinical testing as a primary skin irritant. Laboratories use it to irritate skin on test animals and humans so that they may then test healing agents to see how effective they are on the irritated skin.
A study at the University of Georgia Medical College, indicated that SLS penetrated into the eyes as well as brain, heart, liver, etc., and showed long-term retention in the tissues. The study also indicated that SLS penetrated young children’s eyes and prevented them from developing properly and caused cataracts to develop in adults.
May cause hair loss by attacking the follicle. Classified as a drug in bubble baths because it eats away skin protection and causes rashes and infection to occur.
Is potentially harmful to skin and hair. Cleans by corrosion. Dries skin by stripping the protective lipids from the surface so it can’t effectively regulate moisture.
-Healthy Communications. (N.d). Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate.

“Perhaps most worryingly, SLS is also absorbed into the body from skin application. Once it has been absorbed, one of the main effects of sodium lauryl sulfate is to mimic the activity of the hormone Oestrogen. This has many health implications and may be responsible for a variety of health problems from PMS and Menopausal symptoms to dropping male fertility and increasing female cancers such as breast cancer, where oestrogen levels are known to be involved.” – Natural Health information centre. (2002-2008). Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS ) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES). The Killers in your bathroom?

Now I’m not saying throw everything from a supermarket out and never touch another product with a chemical in it. Organic/ natural products are, unfortunately, not always the cheapest, and I know personally how difficult it can be to afford the basics these days. BUT I do encourage everyone to become conscious of what you are putting on/in your body. Read the labels, Google the ingredients. If you can, try to at least buy products that are SLS or paraben free (parabens are another very toxic preservative that is potentially irritating and can affect testosterone secretion and the male reproductive system).
We live in a consumer driven world that is becoming less and less concerned with the natural beauty around us, and when it comes to making money they are even less concerned with giving us products that will promote our health and wellbeing. I personally would rather give my money to little businesses or people who are researching how to make beneficial products from the natural earth (ingredients that have been around since the world was formed), than to fund massive companies who are only out to make money.

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