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Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES).
What it is, where to find it and how to avoid it.

Both Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) and its close relative Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) are commonly used in many soaps, shampoos, detergents, toothpastes and other products that we expect to "foam up". Both chemicals are very effective foaming agents, chemically known as surfactants. (Please follow this link if you're looking for products free from SLES and other harmful chemicals)

Unfortunately, both sodium laureth sulphate and its cousin are also very dangerous, highly irritating chemicals. Far from giving "healthy shining hair" and "beautiful skin", soaps and shampoos containing sodium laureth sulphate can lead to direct damage to the hair follicle, skin damage, permanent eye damage in children and even liver toxicity.

Although sodium laureth sulphate is somewhat less irritating than SLS, it cannot be metabolised by the liver and its effects are therefore much longer-lasting. This not only means it stays in the body tissues for longer, but much more precious energy is used getting rid of it.

A report published in the Journal of The American College of Toxicology in 1983 showed that concentrations of SLS as low as 0.5% could cause irritation and concentrations of 10-30% caused skin corrosion and severe irritation. National Institutes of Health "Household Products Directory" of chemical ingredients lists over 80 products that contain SLS. Some soaps have concentrations of up to 30%, which the ACT report called "highly irritating and dangerous".

RemediesDirect.com

 

Shampoos are among the most frequently reported products to the FDA. Reports include eye irritation, scalp irritation, tangled hair, swelling of the hands, face and arms and split and fuzzy hair. This is highly characteristic of sodium laureth sulphate and almost definitely directly related to its use.

Click here to learn of the possible health effects of sodium laureth sulphate

So why is a dangerous chemical like this used in our soaps and shampoos?

The answer is simple - it is cheap. The sodium laureth sulphate found in our soaps is exactly the same as you would find in a car wash or even a garage, where it is used to degrease car engines.

In the same way as it dissolves the grease on car engines, SLES also dissolves the oils on your skin, which can cause a drying effect. It is also well documented that it denatures skin proteins, which causes not only irritation, but also allows environmental contaminants easier access to the lower, sensitive layers of the skin.

This denaturing of skin proteins may even be implicated in skin and other cancers.

Perhaps most worryingly, sodium laureth sulphate is also absorbed into the body from skin application. Once it has been absorbed, one of the main effects of SLS is to mimic the activity of the hormone Oestrogen. This has many health implications and may be responsible for a variety of health problems from PMS and Menopausal symptoms to dropping male fertility and increasing female cancers such as breast cancer, where oestrogen levels are known to be involved.

Products commonly found to contains SLS or SLES

Soaps
Shampoos
Bubble-baths
Tooth paste
Washing-up liquid / dish soap
Laundry detergent
Childrens soaps / shampoos
Stain Remover
Carpet Cleaner
Fabric glue
Body wash
Shave cream
Mascara
Mouthwash
Skin cleanser
Moisture lotion / Moisturiser
Sun Cream

The use of sodium laureth sulphate in childrens products is particularly worrying. It is known that, whether it gets in the eyes or not, skin application DOES lead to measurable concentrations in the eyes of children. This is known to affect eye development, and the damage caused in this manner is irreversible. If you have children DO NOT USE products containing sodium laureth sulphate or SLS - they will thank you for it one day.

Do not believe that just because a product is labeled as "natural" it is free from SLS or sodium laureth sulphate. Most common brands of "Natural" or "Herbal" shampoos and cleansers still use these harmful chemicals as their main active ingredient - check your labels!

SLS-free products shampoo image

That is not to say that you can't get sodium laureth sulphate-free shampoos, soaps, detergents and toothpastes. Some highly reputable companies have been producing such products for years. These products not only contains no sodium laureth sulphate, they are also free of other harmful chemical colorings, preservatives and even flavourings.

After assessing many such products, we believe that the ones offered here represent not only the best quality but also the safest and most economical products available.

We hope you agree!

SLS-free products and Recommended product for each category
SLS-Free Soaps Natural Soap
SLS-free Shampoos Herbal shampoo 100% natural
SLS-Free Hair Colouring Natural hair colouring
SLS-free Bubble-baths Aromatherapy bath crystals
SLS-free Tooth paste Natural Toothpaste
SLS-free Laundry detergent (we are currently searching for a provider of chemical-free detergents - if you know one, please let us know)
SLS-free Childrens soaps / shampoos Natural shampoo
SLS-free Body wash Natural body wash
SLS-free Shave cream His and hers shave soap
SLS-free Cosmetics Chemical-free cosmetics(Select "mineral makeup" from the top menu to see the fantastic range)
SLS-free Mouthwash (coming soon)
SLS-free Skin cleanser Natural Cleanser
SLS-free Moisture lotion / Moisturiser Natural Hand and body cream
SLS-free Sun Cream

 

The potential effects of SLS on health are discussed here and the NLM's data on the subject is available here.

Back from Sodium Laureth Sulphate to Harmful Chemicals

Related Links

Forbidden Medicine One mans battle against the corruption of modern medicine

Politics in healing The REAL health agenda and who controls it

Transforming your health in 90 day or less How to prevent, treat and recover from chronic degenerative diseases WITHOUT taking dangerous drugs

Possible Effects of SLS on Health
Journal of the American College of Toxicology Report on SLS
Non SLS-containing personal and household products

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