07 September 2005

Chemicals in Personal Products

A lot of people ask what the fuss is with shampoos and skin care products in regards to Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Propylene Glycol, etc. so I thought it was worth a closer look. when you start researching it, you find 2 completely view points. It seems to be a black and white issue. There are those who say that they are totally safe and no need to be concerned.

Others will say keep away from them at all cost. I was speaking to someone about these types of products the other day and her view point, was with less chemicals, it has to at least be better for the environment. However you look at it, it is interesting to know why all the fuss.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is a common ingredient in personal care products, particularly shampoos and toothpaste. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is also used in industry as an engine degreaser, garage floor cleaner, car wash soaps etc.It is known to be a great cleanser, especially of grease, it's action is corrosive. Clinically it is used for testing as a primary skin irritant.Laboratories use it to irritate skin on test animals and humans so they can test the healing properties of products.
As Sodium Lauryl Sulfate strips away grease, using this is also drying to the skin. It strips away the protective lipids from the surface. Well, this hastens the ageing process of the skin and we don't want that do we?

A study conducted at the University of Georgia Medical College showed that SLS penetrated into the eyes as well as brain, liver, heart, etc, and showed long term retention in the tissues. Obviously this is not good. The long term effects can well be more than skin and eye irritation. Eye development in young children can well be hindered by SLS, as well as other problems such as cataracts in adults.

It is suggested by some reports that SLS is such a caustic cleanser that it actually corrodes the hair follicle and impairs its ability to grow hair.So this may contribute to some hair loss.
Another common ingredient is Propylene Glycol. Propylene Glycol is a petrochemical derivative, a primary irritant and can cause delayed hypersensitivity. If you are prone to allergies and hypersensitive then it would be wise to avoid this one. In industry it is used as an industrial anti-freeze and hydraulic brake fluids. It is used in many cosmetics and may give the skin a smooth feeling. In reality it draws the moisture to itself, not the skin. So may of the creams and lotions used, overtime, are doing the opposite of what we use them for. They are drying out our skin and contributing to wrinkles and ageing.

Some of the reports I have read suggest that these chemicals can cause much more than skin irritation. Once they penetrate the system and after being used continual the are said to be cancerogenic. The good news is it only takes 5 days to remove these products from the system.
There are many other ingredients on the 'suspect list' that are common in our personal care products. Some of these include Aluminium, DEA, Fluoride. Chlorinated organic compounds, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate and Formaldehyde.

From personal experience, I have always had sensitive skin and have to becareful of what cosmetics, lotions etc I use on my skin. I have been using the Alchemy range now for a couple years. My daughter and I both suffer from Psoriasis, mostly in the scalp, why using Alchemy Shampoo will not cure this, it certainly use lessened the irritation that my daughter was experiencing every time she washed her hair.

One particular experience I had was going to the hairdressers. Of course they used their shampoo. For the next 2 days my scalp was extremely irritated, with burning and itching, a total corrosive feeling. My daughter has very long blonde hair. She recently visited the hairdresser for a trim, of course, taking her Alchemy products. The hairdresser was very impressed. She said she rarely sees hair that healthy, especially when it is so long. Apparently most long hair is dry and damaged. The Alchemy products have allowed my daughter to have beautiful soft healthy long hair.

So regardless of whether the chemical scare is an overkill or not, when you can see the difference of beautiful healthy hair and skin, it speaks for itself.

SLS free products
include the Wild Herbs, Organic Selection, Emma Organics, Baby Organics, Alchemy, Weleda and Mihopharm.