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  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate | Is it toxic?

    Sodium Lauryl Sulfate | Is it toxic?

    Ahh, the cosmetic industry with its slick, shiny packages and its promise of eternal youth. The cosmetic industry is not well regulated. The ingredients in our cosmetics are not regulated by the FDA or any other government agency. Many cosmetic ingredients are toxic to humans; I will review one in this article: sodium lauryl sulfate.

    What is sodium lauryl sulfate?

    According to wikipedia:
    Sodium dodecyl sulfate, synonymously sodium lauryl sulfate (or laurilsulfate; SDS or SLS, respectively), is a synthetic organic compound with the formula CH3(CH2)11SO4Na. It is an anionic surfactant used in many cleaning and hygiene products. The sodium salt is of an organosulfate class of organics. It consists of a 12-carbon tail attached to a sulfate group, that is, it is the sodium salt of dodecyl hydrogen sulfate, the ester of dodecyl alcohol and sulfuric acid. Its hydrocarbon tail combined with a polar “headgroup” give the compound amphiphilic properties and so make it useful as a detergent.

    Say what? In layman’s terms sodium lauryl sulfate is used in detergents as surfactants. These closely related compounds are found in car wash soaps, garage floor cleaners and engine degreasers. Sodium lauryl sulfate is most widely used as a major ingredient in cosmetics, toothpaste, shampoo; pretty much any product that foams.

    Research on Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)

    According to Journal of the American College of Toxicolgy
    Volume 2. Number 7, 1983
    Carcinogenic nitrates 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

    I made note of this point made the Journal of the American College of Toxicolgy
    • In absorption, metabolism and excretion studies, sosium lauryl sulfate had a degenerative effect on cell membranes. SLS has protein denaturing properties.

    This study mentioned that SLS caused ‘mild irritation’. Further, in products with 21% detergent, it was severely irritating with no rinsing and mildly irritating when rinsed off.
    That leads me to ask the questions: How much detergent is in shampoo? What about in body wash?
    In fact, three groups of 3 female rhesus monkeys were usesd to test the toxicity of SLS when ingested. Each of the three groups were fed varying amounts of a 15% SLS solution after an 8 hour fast. One of the monkeys in the highest feeding measure, died. All the monkeys were vomiting two hours after feeding.
    This makes me think that there should be warnings on baby shampoo bottles.
    Here’s another study:

    Georgia Medical College:
    Sodium Lauryl Sulfate kept young eyes from developing properly by possibly denaturing the proteins and not allowing for proper structural formation. This damage was permanent.


    Safe Personal Care Products

    There are many shampoos, body washes and other personal care products that safe and free of sodium lauryl sulfate. All the shampoos I use are SLS-free.
    Here are just a few for you to consider:
    Ecco Bella Vanilla Moisturizing Shampoo – I love all of Ecco Bella’s products beacause of the purity standards; their shampoo is no different. Aloe Vera is the first ingredient in this shampoo; it’s gentle and has a yummy and natural fragrance.
    Just Nutritive Color Care Shampoo – Another great shampoo with the first ingredient being aloe vera. This one has wonderful citrus oils and lots of gentle ingredients that good for your hair! I’ve used many different products from Just Nutritive…. I love their Nutritive Body Cream as well! It’s luscious! Aloe Vera Gel are the first to ingredients; it’s a super-moisturizer!
    All the conditioners from these two brands are yummy as well. Check them out in the Being Well Shop.
    When I travel, I take GIOVANNI- 2chic Repairing Shampoo & Conditioner Set. I like it for travel because it comes in a tube. I tape the top down, put it in a ziplock bag and toss it my suitcase.
    When I purchase a new product, I am an avid ingredient reader! What we put on our skin can be worse than ingetsing something toxic. Toxic build up takes time and is often difficult to purify. I recommend checking out the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetic Database if you are questioning an ingredient or ingredients in you personal care products.

    Final Thoughts on Sodium Lauryl Sulfate.

    Many studies have shown that this cometic ingredient is NOT the best for us. Better to stick with natural or organic brands, especially when it comes to shampoo, conditioners and body washes. The wrong ingredients can irritate and destroy the immune system of our skin.
    I you’d like to learn more about other dangerous cosmetic chemicals, check out my article: Parabens – What Are They & Are They Harmful



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