WTF is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate?
Did you know that the average woman puts on 200 different chemicals onto her skin daily, 60% of which penetrate her skin and go directly into the blood stream. Add to that the profusionn of chemicals she adds to her hair through to the scalp and the intake is mind boggling. The most common of these culprits is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). It can be found in most body washes, shampoos and toothpaste.
SLS is a chemical detergent that essentially breaks and separates molecules in order to allow them to create a lather and a gel that aids in the efficacy and appearance of soaps, shampoos and toothpaste. It is so effective and so inexpensive that is also used in industrial cleaning agents such as engine de-greaser and industrial strength detergents. It is so damaging that it is used as a skin irritant when testing products used to heal the skin. Studies have shown that residual levels of SLS end up in the brain, lungs, liver and heart. Links have been made between SLS and hormone imbalance and lower rates of male fertility, especially in western countries, where SLS is so prevalent in so many products. Like parabens, although considered “safe” when 1% or less of the ingredients, over time the amounts absorbed into the bloodstream result in residual levels high enough to cause cancer.
Soaps and shampoos without SLS tend to be lighter, with less viscosity, because that gelling agent isn’t there. That said, our black soap lathers noticeably better than any SLS soap and it cleans better too. This is because we use even more powerful, natural ingredients (like potash) that SLS was invented to imitate. It’s old fashioned, takes more time and must be used within 2 years from production date, but that’s a fair trade to abort the build-up of chemicals in your system.
Discerning consumers are reading the labels and demanding natural.