Posts Tagged ‘Sodium lauryl sulfate’

Is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate safe?

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is a very common ingredient in nearly all shampoos, soaps, and even many toothpastes. You can even find it in Angel Food cake mixes. This is the ingredient responsible for the foaming action of the product. But, is it safe?

Until about a year ago, I thought the answer to this was yes. I had not yet done research on this chemical, but just in reading a few comments online, it seemed some people were OK with it and others were not.

When I finally had time to research SLS, I was surprised to learn it was contaminated with 1,4 dioxane.  This is a cancer causing by-product of the ethoxylation process, a process that makes otherwise harsh ingredient gentle. However, because it is not an original ingredient, this by-product is not listed on the ingredient list.

In this article by Dr. Mercola, he further explains the health risk with using SLS, and its cousins Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES, and Ammonium Laurel Sulfate (ALS), citing some of the over 16,000 studies showing toxicity. The Environmental Working Group gives SLS a moderate hazard rating for cancer, organ system toxicity and others. So it’s not the worst, but not the best.

Should you avoid SLS?
Anything you put on your skin is absorbed directly into your bloodstream and goes directly to your organs. It’s also important to note that 1 incidence of using SLS is likely OK, but the cumulative effect is what is worry-some.  While the amount in your shampoo, toothpaste, body wash, hand soap, etc. may be ‘safe’ amounts when used alone, using them all at one time could cause your exposure to jump into the unsafe level zone. But the cumulative effect has never been studied.

We do our best to avoid it in our house due to the cancer link. If you can’t avoid it entirely, limit your exposure by using less of the product containing it. Most people use twice as much soap product as needed.

How to avoid SLS
Read labels! Know what to avoid, as SLS can have other names, including Sodium dodecyl sulfate, Sulfuric acid, Sodium salt sulfuric acid. I use Dr. Bronner’s  bar soap in the shower and make my own foaming hand soap, which also makes a great foaming body wash. For shampoo I am currently using Kiss My Face, Frequent Use which is SLS and paraben free and I love it.

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Do your cosmetic and beauty products contain toxic ingredients?

The answer is probably “yes.” I have a very difficult time finding a product I can purchase off the shelves that does not contain toxic ingredients. Even products from Arbonne, Mary Kay, Avon, etc. are not free of toxins. Makes me mad that Arbonne touts the whole “Pure. Safe. Beneficial.” slogan, because it’s simply not true.

One lady has set out to educate the public on toxins in beauty products and has created her own website called OrganicDivas.com.

Another organization has started a Campaign for Safer Cosmetics www.safecosmetics.org, where cosmetic and beauty care companies sign a compact that their products do not contain certain toxic ingredients. They are a coalition working to protect the public health by calling for the elimination of chemicals used in the cosmetics industry linked to cancer, birth defects and other health problems.

They look at several factors when evaluating companies including global compliance with the EU cosmetics directive (strictest standards in the world for cosmetics), fully disclosing all ingredients, have a safe rating in the EWG’s cosmeticsdatabase.com, among other things.

You can download their PDF of campaign signers. Unless you already have eliminated such toxins from you home, it’s unlikely you will recognize many, if any, of these companies. Many of these are small companies who were started by mothers, women and other consumers who wanted safer products and were not able to find them. Some people had medical conditions that were aggravated by traditional skincare products, thus they created their own.

Organic Diva’s Fave Brands

Suki facial cleansers and foundations
UV Natural sunscreens (they have a baby version too)
Zum soaps and lotions
• Afterglow lipstick and blush
• Wee soaps, lotions and sunscreens for babies

Diva’s Dirty Dozen

Here’s a list of synthetic cosmetic ingredients known to cause or strongly suspected of causing cancer, birth defects or endocrine (hormone) disruption, as compiled by nutritionist and author Ann Louise Gittleman for the Organic Diva website.
• Methyl, propyl, butyl and ethyl paraben
• Imidazolindyl urea
• Diazolindyl urea
• Petrolatum
• Propylene glycol
• PVP/V copolymer
• Sodium lauryl sulfate
• Stearalkonium chloride
• Synthetic colors
• Synthetic fragrances
• Phthalates
• Triethanolamine

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