All of our products here are 100% sulfate free. Our soaps contain natural fatty acids that assist in the gentle lather process to get your skin clean while still maintaining a moisture balance.
Many commercial soaps today rely on the harsh surfactant called sodium lauryl sulfate (also known as SLS) and it’s other off-shoots(laureth) to get a good lather.
There are more natural options for cleansing the skin that are good for the skin, mild enough for babies and adults alike, and also happen to not be environmental pollutants like sulfates are. These are better alternatives.
Sodium lauryl sulfate and some of its chemical cousins are classified as skin irritants. They have a high penetration ability when they come into contact with the skin, mouth, scalp, and any membranous areas of the body. Traces of sulfates have been found in human tissues, suggesting they remain in the body long after usage.
The manufacturing process of these lathering agents is a concern as well. The process can produce byproducts that are carcinogenic such as nitrosamines, although sodium lauryl sulfate itself is not yet classified as a carcinogen.
It also has the ability to absorb straight into the hair follicles. This is cause for concern as well since most of the common shampoos on the market contain the surfactant. It is clear that this lathering ingredients also has a high degree of ability when it comes to penetration and absorption.
The reason it is not used in children’s and baby shampoo is that it also is a strong eye irritant. It can enter the body through the eye, which is a membrane, very easily. There have been reports of children suffering eye damage from using products with this ingredient.
Sulfates are often used as wetting, dispersing and foaming agents in many of these products. This list includes toothpaste, shampoo, soaps, cleansers, lotions, medical preparations, insecticides, paint and varnish, and even in some foods. This is not by any means a complete list as SLS is used in many other products.
Sodium lauryl sulfate found its initial use as a de-greaser and powerful surfactant chemical in a wide variety of industrial purposes, and slowly found its placement in household products by way of its strong foaming characteristics, which make it appealing for feelings of cleanliness. The same property of SLS to bind to, and chemically alter, lipids, is the main reason why it causes many of the illnesses it has been associated with.
Lipids, which are natural fats found in our skin are protective barriers against theelements. Products with SLS harm this barrier, and break it down. This is why they are drying to the skin and the hair – they break down fatty acids and the natural “acid mantle” that protects the skin from dryness and penetration by harmful substances to a degree.
SLS has been linked to illnesses directly related to the area of the body that products containing SLS were used, and has also been shown to cause secondary complications which arise because of the inability of the liver to metabolize SLS.
Localized effects of SLS exposure in the mouth include canker sores and cracked, dry mouth corners, while shampoos have been known to cause split ends, itchy, dry scalp, and the swelling of applied areas.
Shampoos containing SLS, of which there are many, are also questionable as SLS can cause irreversible eye damage, which can lead to lifelong eye problems for children, and cataracts for adults. This ingredient is left out of baby shampoos for this reason. Children’s eyes are especially susceptible to harsh surfactants like this.
SLS is not broken down through the body’s primary means of toxin removal, the liver, and as such, can buildup quite rapidly in bodily tissues. Many of the secondary issues that pertain to SLS are strongly correlated with this proposed toxicity buildup, and include autoimmune diseases, eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, and other diseases of chronic skin inflammation.
Nitrate contamination is also a strong possibility when SLS begins to accumulate in tissues, as SLS binds to many of the other ingredients of skin care products, leading to nitrosomines-an isomer of nitrates-to form. Nitrates have been strongly linked toincreasing risks of many cancers, and are typically avoided by health conscious individuals.
While it is true that many commercial products include SLS, more and more manufacturers of healthy products are recognizing the dangers of SLS, and are providing healthy alternatives. Discontinuing use of an SLS containing product not only stops the acute symptoms of SLS use, such as canker sores, dry skin, or damaged hair, but also begins the process of reversing toxicity buildup.
Reversing SLS toxicity can mean the difference between developing an inflammatory condition down the line or being healthy, and lowered SLS buildup can even prevent nitrosomine induced cancer.
Being able to to properly identify SLS containing products is often as simple as scanning the back of a product and its ingredient list. Sodium lauryl sulfate should be clearly listed, but other chemically related compounds to avoid include sodium laureth sulfate, sodium myreth sulfate, and sodium pareth sulfate. SLS free products will not contain sodium lauryl sulfate and ideally should not also contain any of sulfate family ingredients.
Sulfate free soaps, cleansers, toothpastes, shampoos and other personal and beauty care products are available though. If you have any concerns about using products that contain this chemical, than go for products that have “SLS or Sulfate Free” on their labels. Also, you can read the ingredient label and tell if there are any in the product.