Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) And Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) are commonly used chemicals that are effective foaming agents (surfactants). The foam that all of us like in our shampoo, toothpaste and soap is created by these chemicals. Both these chemicals are derivatives of Sulfuric Acid and are known to affect the human liver, lungs and brain.
Check out this detailed list of Sulfate free shampoo.
How Do SLS & SLES affect the human body?
SLS is known have a long lasting effect on the human body and can remain in the human body for a significant amount of time as it cannot be metabolized by the human liver. Sodium Laureth Sulfate is commonly used by the cleaning industry in various products like car wash soaps, dish washer soaps and floor cleaners as it is highly effective in fighting grease and other oily substances. Imagine the negative effects of such a strong chemical to the human body when it is added to products of daily use. Laboratories involved in the research and development of medicines for skin healing use SLS as a skin irritant on animals. The newly developed medicines are then applied on this irritated skin to test their effectiveness.
Other dangers of SLS are skin irritation, hormonal imbalance, eye problems in children, and cancer.
SLES can modify the nature of skin proteins and cause irritation of the skin. The most worrying effect of SLES is that after denaturing the skin proteins, the lower layers of the skin are exposed and can be easily reached by other contaminants and toxins. SLES, just like SLS, can cause the early onset of menopause in women as its effects trick the human body to think that they are being produced by the estrogen hormone. Almost all diseases linked to the estrogen hormone, like breast cancer, can also be linked to SLES.
Read this report on the safety assessment of SLS from the journal of the American college of toxicology to learn more about the dangers of SLS and SLES.
If they are bad, why are SLS and SLES used?
If you are wondering why are they being used in spite of the bad effects it has on the human body, the answer is that these chemicals are very cheap and produce foaming effects that everyone likes. By using cheap chemicals, the cost of producing cosmetic products like soaps and shampoos is low and results in higher profits for the companies making them.
Commonly used products that contain SLS and SLES
- Shaving creams
- Washing Detergents
- Body Washes
- Children products like soaps and shampoos for children
- Skin Cleansers
- Sun Creams
Ok, What do i do now?
Just make sure to read the label of any cosmetic product you buy and make sure it SLS and SLES free.
Check out list SLS free toothpastes.