Irritated skin sufferers beware. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (“SLS”), a foaming agent found in many popular soaps and shampoos, could be harming your health and the environment.
Many of us are unfamiliar with SLS and do not even realize it exists in a majority of shampoos and bath products. Next time you reach for your favorite bath product, you may want to check its ingredient list first: science has shown that SLS could be dangerous to your skin and your organs.
Here are five reasons you may want to avoid products containing SLS:
1. SLS is a known skin irritant. In fact, when researchers conduct tests on lotions and creams and need to irritate the skin first, they often rely on SLS. According to the Material Safety Data Sheet, SLS can cause dermatitis and skin sensitization. Needless to say, eczema and psoriasis sufferers should try to avoid SLS whenever possible to prevent further dryness and irritation.
2. SLS permeates the body’s tissues and organs. SLS has the power to permeate the eyes, brain, heart, and liver through the skin and can accumulate in these organs.
3. SLS helps your body absorb harmful chemicals. SLS is a penetration enhancer, which means it decreases your skin’s resistance and increases its ability to absorb harmful chemicals. Thus, SLS makes your body’s cells more vulnerable to other toxic chemicals, such as parabens and artificial fragrances.
4. SLS emits toxins when heated. Toxic Sodium Oxides and Sulfur Oxides are released when SLS is heated (something to consider this next time you are taking a hot shower or bath).
5. SLS is a known pollutant. SLS actually pollutes our groundwater. It is toxic to fish and can accumulate in the bodies of fish. It also can go undetected in municipal water supplies, getting into tap water.
Avoiding SLS in your personal care products is an easy way to help protect your health and the environment.