7 Important Facts About The Foam In Cleansers
1. Not everything you put on your skin is good for it – in fact sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) is one of the most irritating skin care ingredients there is. It’s derived from petroleum – although it can also be produced from coconut oil – and it’s termed a surfactant. In simple terms, that means it puts the foam in your foaming cleanser. ‘Surfactant’ is a contraction of ‘surface active agent,’ and when the cleanser hits your face or body, it’s probably sodium lauryl sulphate that’s responsible for the bubbles in the foam, soap or shower gel.
2. The lather or foam doesn’t actually help the cleansing process – it just reduces friction on the skin. And SLS is a cheap product, which is why it appears in almost everything you use for personal hygiene.
3. The refining process that extracts SLS from crude oil also allows it to be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which can irritate the eyes and respiratory tract and is a known carcinogen. The scary thing is that, because 1,4-dioxane is classed as an impurity or contaminant rather than an actual ingredient, you won’t find it listed in the product ingredients panel.
4. These are not the only concerns, though, as this compound is so aggressive on the skin it’s used in studies as a comparison agent to measure the mildness or otherwise of various skin care ingredients. Even without the ‘added bonus’ of contaminants, SLS is really rough on the skin and hair, as – like any good detergent – it strips away oils. Unfortunately, the oils it strips from the skin and hair are natural, essential oils. In other words, it takes away what you really need to keep.
5. SLS is present in many soaps, shampoos, shower gels, facial cleansers and toothpastes, and it’s also used to clean engines, garage floors and commercial car wash facilities. That shows just how powerful a detergent this is, and while the concentration in toiletries might be classed as low enough to be safe, there are concerns regarding the cumulative effects of SLS in the body, and its potential for penetrating the nervous system and vital organs such as the liver and brain.
6. On the Internet, there are conflicting reports regarding the safety or otherwise of SLS. Some reports claim it’s banned in Europe and Central America, while others say it’s not banned anywhere, and it’s perfectly safe. However, major health food chain Holland & Barrett banned all toiletries containing SLS from its stores back in 2009, claiming that there were safer, more reliable alternatives, even if they did cost a little more.
7. Price seems to be the governing factor in many of the questionable skin care and cosmetic ingredients, but surely human health and safety is priceless? Natural skin care companies such as Naturally Mediterranean use no chemicals in their products – just high quality, natural, safe ingredients. Maybe it’s time to say no to all chemicals in all skin care and cosmetic products.
Why you might want to switch (or ditch) your makeup – Mother Nature Network (blog)
Why you might want to switch (or ditch) your makeup. Mother Nature Network (blog). While some of these chemicals are in our air, water, and soil — and are therefore difficult to control — others are common in beauty products (phthalates), plastic containers and household cleaners — which is both good news and bad. It’s bad news …
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