These are the most common chemicals used in foaming products and chemically are known as surfactants. Unfortunately, both compounds can also be dangerous, irritating chemicals. Far from giving "healthy shining hair" and "beautiful skin", soaps and shampoos containing sodium laureth sulfate can lead to direct damage to the hair follicle, skin damage, permanent eye damage in children and even liver toxicity.
Although Sodium Laureth Sulfate is somewhat less irritating than SLS, it cannot be metabolised by the liver and its effects are therefore much longer-lasting.
A report published in the Journal of The American College of Toxicology in 1983 showed that concentrations of SLS as low as 0.5% could cause irritation and concentrations of 10-30% caused skin corrosion and severe irritation. The National Institute of Health’s "Household Products Directory" of chemical ingredients lists over 80 products that contain SLS and SLES. Some soaps have concentrations of up to 30%, which the ACT report called “highly irritating and dangerous.” Shampoos are among the most frequently reported products to the Food and Drug Agency (FDA). Reports include eye irritation, scalp irritation, tangled hair, swelling of the hands, face and arms and split and fuzzy hair. It is widely used because it is cheap. The sodium laureth sulfate found in our soaps is exactly the same as you would find in a car wash or even a garage, where it is used to degrease car engines.
In the same way as it dissolves the grease on car engines, SLES also dissolves the oils on your skin, which can cause a drying effect. Sodium laureth sulfate is also absorbed into the body from skin application, and one of the main effects of SLS is to mimic the activity of the hormone oestrogen. This has many health implications and may be responsible for a variety of health problems from PMS and menopausal symptoms to dropping male fertility and increasing female cancers such as breast cancer, where oestrogen levels are known to be involved.
Many companies do produce perfectly good products that are SLS-free and new shop Biocasa in Fuengirola is a good place to take your existing products to find out what harmful ingredients they may contain as well as stock up on less harmful ones.
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