Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) are virtually the same chemical with SLES being a higher foaming version. Both are commonly used in shampoos, bath and shower washes, bubble bath, facial cleansers, dish soap, mascara, toothpaste, laundry detergent…the list goes on and on. They are so widely used in fact that if you were to Google the products that you currently use today, chances are most on your list would contain these chemicals in their ingredients listings.
SLS and SLES are very inexpensive detergents, highly corrosive and work by stripping your skin of the protective lipids it uses for moisture regulation. It is so corrosive that the cleaning industry uses it in engine degreasers, car wash soaps, floor cleaners etc… Can you imagine using something that can degrease an engine on your face! Common sense tells us that is probably not a good idea.
Common sense or not, there is plenty of research out there on the dangers of SLS and SLES. Many have found that it penetrates through the skin and can work its way into the eyes, brain, heart and liver. As if that isn’t bad enough, it has also been shown to be retained in body tissues on a long term basis. SLS is very reactive with other chemicals found in every day products and can form nitrates-potential cancer causing carcinogens. SLS has also been found to mimic the activity of the hormone Oestrogen which has been linked to PMS, female cancers and decreases in male fertility to name a few. These are just a few examples of the dangers of this chemical.
The most disturbing piece of information that we came across when doing our research was that SLS is used as the “standard” in skin irritant testing. That’s right; they apply it on the animal’s skin as a “known irritant” and then can test the effectiveness of “healing” products. So why are we putting a known irritant on our skin? Because it is cheap, that’s why!
Don’t believe it? Just check out the MSDS Sheet for SLS, here is a link to one http://www.healthy-communications.com/msdssodiumlaurylsulfate.html. Might I point out that it says “Chronic tests on lab animals indicate material may cause mutagenic effects” not just once but several times. This is just one of the statements that should disturb you.
So what can you do? Take a pledge to eliminate products containing this chemical and the other top 10 on our list and always make sure you read ingredients labels. SLS and SLES can be found in many products you use daily and you may not even realize it. It is always best to choose all natural products with all natural ingredients but ensure you check the label because even some so called natural products have these chemicals in them because the industry as I pointed out before is not regulated.