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By Arwa Lodhi
It’s one of the most ubiquitous ingredients in shampoos, conditioners, toothpastes and shower gels. But here’s a dirty little secret: sulfates are basically the cheapest and nastiest of chemicals.
The most notable sulfates are probably Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) – go ahead and check your shampoo labels right now, bet you find these ingredients somewhere! And that’s not good. Why? Well, I’m about to enlighten you on 5 good reasons to toss out sulfate containing shampoos & conditioners. After which, a bathroom cabinet clean out may well ensue…
Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) – Whitewashing Organ Toxicity
Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) isn’t only found in shampoos, conditioners and skin care products, but it can even be discovered in mouthwashes, soaps and toothpastes. This rather terrifying Sulfate is thought to sink into our bodies and reside in the brain, lungs, liver, and heart, resulting in organ toxicity that can lead to hormone imbalances and lowered fertility in both males and females. Not good at all.
Sodium Laureth Sulfate + Dioxane – Partners in Itchy Crimes
Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), in some instances, can become contaminated with Dioxane. When this happens (during the manufacturing process) the Dioxane sticks to our skin, and as a suspected carcinogen, that’s never good news. It’s also considered a skin irritant, is linked to organ toxicity and has even been banned for use in cosmetics in Canada and Europe. Sadly, for the rest of the world, Dioxane has been found in as many as 22% of our cosmetic products, according to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) – Sudsy Skin & Scalp
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate gives our shampoo that nice, creamy foaminess. But in terms of skin damage, it can be considered the worse of the two sulfates (and given how scary Sodium Laureth Sulfates are, that’s really saying something!). So, if you’re sitting comfortably, then we’ll begin our list as to why SLSs should be absolutely avoided: it’s a skin irritant; pollutant; a pesticide and herbicide; has corrosive properties; can be contaminated with nitrate; it assists other chemicals in getting under your skin and into your system. Safe to say that SLSs should be avoided.
SLS – Think About The Children!
Although it’s present in most ‘baby’ shampoo formulae, SLS can result in itchy, red raw eyes, as well as a more serious issue – poor eye development in kids, all of which can be delivered even where low levels of SLS are concerned. Concerning? Absolutely! Banned from kiddies’ products? Nope, not at all. In fact, there’s no regulation at all that’s proven effective. It’s up to you, the consumer, to steer clear.
The Ugly Truth About Sulfates
Not only do sulfates bring about a potential shopping list of health problems, they also dry out your skin and hair – leaving you looking duller and more sallow than the shampoo adverts would have you believe. Skincare experts make the case for avoiding sulfates in skincare products, and they also note that they’re commonly included in lotions and potions for the “anti-aging” market (Yeah, because dry and dull skin and hair will take years off, right?)
How Can I Find A Better Product?
Reduce your exposure to toxins, your health is always worth it. Check out Enovvia, for example: they sell shampoo, conditioner, lotion, facial moisturizer and hair spray that are completely free from sulfates. They also use 100% natural essential oil for the scent, instead of those nasty, unnatural “perfumes” or “fragrances”. Their products are gentle to the skin and contain natural and organic ingredients. For more info, visit their website at: www.enovvia.com
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