Something To Get in a Lather About

Something To Get in a Lather About

Many people examine the labels on their food, but how many of us are wise enough to check the labels on our personal body-care products? 

In America, a survey by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health found that 884 chemicals used in personal care products and cosmetics are known to be toxic. In fact, many of the ingredients used in general toiletries are the very same harsh chemical toxins used in the industry. A recent case cited in the media revealed that 500 dangerous man-made chemicals were present in a single fat cell of a seemingly healthy 30-year-old female living in Britain today. 

By comparison, a single cell of an Egyptian mummy contained none. Despite the many scientific breakthroughs over the last five decades, we have seen a steady increase in killer diseases such as cancers, heart disease and diabetes. Could this increase be related to the constant chemical cocktail that has become a routine part of modern life? The number of products used by adults and children that contain potential carcinogens and other dangerous chemicals alike has become alarming. 

Sodium Laureth Sulphate is a dangerous substance which the majority of us have bathed, showered, washed our hair and even cleaned our teeth with, never realising just what a considerable risk we are putting our bodies through in the process. Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLS) is added to products to cause them to “foam up” and lather and dissolve grease and oil, it also makes a shampoo or shower gel thicker and therefore seem richer. However, it’s most common appearance is in the car cleaning industry where the substance is used to remove grease when cleaning vehicles in garages! Not convinced? Then read through the list below and perhaps it will help change your opinion. 

1. A solution of 2% SLS in any product can increase skin thickness, causing irritation and inflammation. Some shampoos can contain more than 50% SLS. 2. SLS can cause an increase in enzyme levels in the skin, resulting in redness and swelling. 

3. SLS can lead to dryness, roughness and even flaking of the skin. 4. SLS is easily absorbed by the body; it builds up in the heart, liver and brain and can cause major problems in these areas. 

5. SLS can damage the delicate mucosal membranes in the mouth, causing the separation of epithelial layers from the mucosa. 6. Toothpaste containing SLS can lead to an increase in the occurrence of mouth ulcers if you are particularly prone.  

7. SLS can penetrate the cornea of the eye (even if absorbed through the skin) destroying delicate tissue. This can permanently impair the normal functioning of the eyes and can be implicated in the formation of cataracts in adults. Is it any wonder that so many children wear spectacles these days? 8. A single drop of SLS can remain in the body for 5 days, so if you wash your child’s hair more than once a week with SLS containing shampoo, they will have a constant level of SLS present in their system. 

9. SLS is such a caustic cleanser that it actually corrodes the hair follicle and impairs the ability to grow hair. 10. SLS can cause scalp irritations, dry out and damage the hair follicles and cause hair loss. Many sufferers of scalp complaints have eased their conditions by using SLS-free shampoo. I did a routine check of the products in my bathroom cabinet and discovered that over 80% had SLS as the main ingredient. I then took a quick tour of my local supermarket and was hard-pressed to find any product which was SLS free, although the “Naked” range from Boots, did seem to be the best of a very rare bunch. 

Poppy Watt 

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