Saturday, March 21, 2009

Oh Laurel? Where are you? Why are you here?

Ever notice these words on your shampoo bottle ingredient label or make up labels: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate?

This additive is a cheap detergent, commonly used in cosmetics, hair shampoos, bath/shower gels, bubble baths, etc. - It is probably the most dangerous ingredient used in skin and hair-care products, from what I can tell - and no, I am not even close to being a chemist. But, I can read and I do have a brain. In addition, I HAVE A CONSCIENCE TOO!

In the cleaning industry, SLS is used in garage floor cleaners, engine de-greasers, car-wash soaps, etc. It is very corrosive and efficiently attacks greasy surfaces. Fine for your dirty garage floor, but - what about your skin?!?

Many of the salons where I once worked, used TIGI (Tony & Guy) professional hair care products.
Guess what's on the ingredient label?

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. So, if you want irritated skin, use it.

A study at the University of Georgia Medical College, proved that SLS penetrated into the eyes as well as brain, heart, liver, etc., and showed long-term retention in the tissues. The study also showed that SLS did indeed penetrate young children's eyes and prevented them from developing properly and caused cataracts to develop in adults.

Ever wonder how Walgreen's can offer Garnier Fructis sproducts for only 99 cents?

I have also seen mentioned that SLS may cause hair loss by attacking the follicle. It is actually classified as a drug in bubble baths because it eats away skin protection and causes rashes and infection to occur.

I wish I could say something otherwise, but this has to be dangerous and harmful to skin and hair. Cleaning by corrosion? Dries skin by stripping the protective lipids from the surface so it can't effectively regulate moisture.

If all that isn't bad enough... there's more! I keep finding articles regarding SLS and nitrate contamination. SLS reacts with many types of ingredients used in skin products and forms nitrosomines (nitrates). Nitrates are potential cancer-causing carcinogenics. CARCINOGENIC! Good grief...

Because of the alarming penetrating power of SLS, large amounts of these known carcinogens are absorbed through the skin into the body. A variation of SLS is SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE (Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate- SLES). It exhibits many of the same characteristics and is a higher-foaming variation of SLS.

In its final report on the safety of sodium lauryl sulfate, the Journal of the American College of Toxicology notes that this ingredient has a "degenerative effect on the cell membranes because of its protein denaturing properties." What's more, the journal adds, "high levels of skin penetration may occur at even low use concentration."

Interestingly, sodium lauryl sulfate "is used around the world in clinical studies as a skin irritant," notes the journal. The publication expressed additional concerns:

  • Carcinogenic nitrosamines can form in the manufacturing of sodium lauryl sulfate or by its inter-reaction with other nitrogen-bearing ingredients within a formulation utilizing this ingredient.
  • Other studies have indicated that sodium lauryl sulfate enters and maintains residual levels in the heart, liver, lungs and brain from skin contact. This poses the question whether it could be a serious potential health threat from its use in shampoos, cleansers, and toothpastes.

  • Still other research has indicated sodium lauryl sulfate may be damaging to the immune system, especially within the skin. Skin layers may separate and inflame due to its protein denaturing properties.

  • Additional studies have found that sodium lauryl sulfate is heavily deposited on the skin surface and in the hair follicles. Damage to the hair follicle could result from such deposition.
  • This point alone should raise your eyebrows, at the very often the presence of sodium lauryl sulfate in a shampoo formulation is a "marker" for the use of other undesirable ingredients, a "red flag", including formaldehyde-containing preservatives (e.g., imidazolidinyl urea); possible cancer-causing wetting agents (e.g., cocamide DEA); and nitrosamine-forming agents (e.g., triethanolamine).

It's disturbing and it angers me. Now I have to read more labels! I never knew my destiny would include spending so much time reading labels... ((sigh))

Apparently most of my friends are aware of Miss Nasty Sodium Laurel Sulfate. I never knew... that's why I am sharing this with you!

Now go read your shampoo bottle - ok?

Not only do I order Nick's vitamins from Kirkman, I am going to look at their Kirkman Clean area and I am willing to bet that I can get some SLS-free shampoo from them too. I now have a new appreciation for the phrase, "Who put the pooh in the shampoo?" Don't you?

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