It is my humble opinion that if you wouldn't eat it - you shouldn't be putting it on your skin. Because what you put on your skin can get absorbed into your bloodstream. Now admittedly there is controversy over just how dangerous various chemicals actually are for you. Here's my take on it - WHY USE CHEMICALS IF YOU DON'T HAVE TO? Sure, maybe you're not going to drop dead after using a certain shampoo but it's something you do daily so why take a chance? JUST SAY NO to chemicals in your skincare. It's better for you and it's better for the earth. So with that I bring you the premier Evil Ingredient:
SODIUM LAUREL SULFATE/SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE
What are they? Well, technically a sulphate is a salt of sulphuric acid. In simpler terms, they are dangerous and highly irritating chemicals.
What do they do? Bascially, they make suds and lather. They are also grease strippers. So, you're likely to find this ingredient, often listed right after water ( which means it's the 2nd most prominent ingredient) in your shower gel, body wash, shampoo, hand soap, toothpaste and there's lots of it in Dawn dishwashing detergent. ( I can't even get near that stuff !) It's a very common ingredient because it's cheap and we, as consumers, like the suds.
Why are they bad for you? Sodium Laurel Sulfate is actually the more harsh of the two. Afterall, this ingredient was first used to remove grease from the floor of garages. It can be highly irritating to skin and mucosal membranes and is very drying. Obviously, very, very bad for sensitive skin. Sodium Laureth Sulfate was designed to be a little gentler but there are concerns about cancer risk with it. So neither one is a good idea. There are actually lots of pretty scary animal studies on these two bad guys that I won't mention here - but you can find them if you google.
What are the alternatives? Well, there are several. First of all - we need to get over our fascination with lather! Suds do not equal clean. Learn it. Secondly, there are more and more products that contain no sulfates. So read your labels and don't buy products that have these ingredients listed. A newer alternative to these is called sodium coco sulfate and the Environmental Working Group has given it the thumbs up for safety. But be aware that it is new so there aren't too many studies to actually prove safety yet. So ditch your shower gel and just scrub with Simple Sugars instead! You'll be clean AND smooth AND healthier AND softer AND kinder to the earth. Any questions?