When you read the ingredients on the products you use, do you ever see sodium lauryl sulfate? Sometimes, it’s listed as SLS but this ingredient is commonly found in many products in the home. You’ll see it in body washes, cleansers, shampoos and conditioners, shaving cream, toothpaste, sunscreen, and more.
The intent of SLS is to help provide a foamy and bubbly texture which serves to make us feel clean and refreshed. You may also find others in the family of sulfates like sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) and ammonium laurel sulfate (ALS). Bubbly as they may be, they may pose some dangers to your health. Read on to find out what those are!
The Dangers Of Sulfates
It might seem harmless with the bubbles, foaming, and clean refreshment, but SLS and the other sulfates can irritate skin. It strips skin from natural oils which leads to dry and irritated skin. If you’ve ever gotten it in your eyes by accident, you’ve probably yowled in pain.
The concerns mount with continuous use though. According to the Cosmetic Ingredient Review, these sulfates should not be used in concentrations of more than 1%. This will prevent it from irritating most people. However, there are greater problems than that. Mercola reported that SLS and SLES often contain 1,4 dioxane which is a byproduct that is created during manufacturing. It’s this byproduct that can be carcinogenic. It can also impact the kidneys, central nervous system, and liver in adverse ways.
In the small concentrations they are found in, they are purported to do no harm. But your body isn’t equipped with the type of enzymes needed to break down these kinds of chemicals. That means it stores them over time, which is why the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has spoken up about it, advising consumers to use anything with sulfates with extreme caution.
What You Can Do
The best way to avoid problems down the line is to clear your home of products that utilize SLS and the whole lot. This way, you’re not exposing yourself or your loved ones to dangerous, carcinogenic byproducts.
When shopping for personal care products, read the labels. Look for ones that state they are SLS-free. You can also look for sodium coco sulfate, derived from coconuts, which may be less irritating, though if you’re concerned about all sulfates, there are many products made with essential oils that are fully natural and won’t cause harm. Even baking soda can do in a pinch for cleansing hair, skin, and teeth.
Being aware of the health dangers of sulfates allows you to make better decisions for your personal care. Choose wisely!
Subscribe to our Trusted Health Club newsletter for more information about natural living tips, natural health, oral health and skincare. If you are looking for more health resources make sure to check out the Trusted Health Resources list.
Jennifer Raskin is a freelance writer, wife and mom that loves cold weather despite her location in Florida, cooking, reading, watching ‘80s movies, weight-lifting, and wine tasting.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.