October 21, 2011
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is a chemical lathering agent that has come under scrutiny for safety and potential toxicity issues. It is found in a large amount of the products we use every day for personal hygiene and body care. Among them are toothpaste, shampoo, lotions, soap, liquid body and facial cleansers, and more.
Sodium lauryl sulfate did not start off as a detergent that was meant for use in consumer products. It was initially sold as an industrial strength detergent primarily used for heavy duty cleaners and degreasers. It is now found in products which are in close and frequent contact with human skin.
The reason it is used in so many products today is that consumers have come to expect abundant lather in products that are supposed to cleanse in some way. It is one of the most largely manufactured chemicals in the United States since many companies use it as a cheap lathering agent.
SLS Irritates Skin and Compromises Natural Moisture Balance
SLS strips the hair and skin of moisture because of its strong detergent properties. You can actually get your skin, mouth and hair just as clean using gentler, more skin and membrane-friendly substances. There are several fatty acids that work to cleanse the skin without disrupting the delicate acid mantle that protects it from outside elements and toxins.
Sodium lauryl sulfate has been identified as one of the primary skin irritants that are used in body care products today. It has the ability to easily penetrate the dermal layers and enter the blood stream. The caustic lathering agent easily destroys the lipid layers that keep the skin smooth and supple.
SLS Allows Toxins to Penetrate and is a Toxin Itself
It is often used as an absorbing agent to allow other ingredients like vitamins, moisturizers and minerals to be more easily deposited below the skin’s surface. However, most soaps, shampoos and moisturizers that contain SLS also contain a host of chemicals.
This is another huge cause for concern since this is typically what is more likely to breach the protective layers of the skin. When you use products with both SLS and other chemical toxins and preservatives, you are inviting these other toxins to more easily penetrate the skin and enter the blood stream.
SLS has shown up in the tissues of the brain, liver, heart and other vital organs. This strongly suggests it is retained long term in several bodily tissues.
SLS Irritates and Erodes Eyes, Gums and Hair Follicles
The chemical is not allowed as an ingredient in baby shampoo because of its irritating qualities to the eyes and other sensitive membranes. Prolonged exposure can cause blurred vision and burning. It has even been linked to blindness in a few cases.
Studies have shown that SLS can cause gum irritation as well. The majority of commercially available toothpastes contain it as a foaming agent. Those that suffer from major gum disease or irritation have been shown to recover at a much faster pace when discontinuing the use of SLS in their oral care products.
It has been implicated in hair loss as well since it can irritate and possibly damage the hair follicles. When used in shampoos, it can dry out the hair shaft and dull the hair by taking away its natural luster.
Avoiding products with this volatile lathering agent is getting easier. There are now soaps, shampoos, toothpastes, and other personal care products that offer healthier and more skin-friendly SLS free options.
This article was posted: Friday, October 21, 2011 at 2:21 am