Something as innocuous as soap to cleanse your hair has become a silent killer. This post deals with the effects of Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) and the effects it has on your head. According to www.webmd.com, shampoo is one of the most common reasons for scalp and hair damage. The very product that promises to give you voluminous hair and a fresh smell also happens to be the product that causes a variety of hair fall problems and disorders. It might seem like an exaggeration, but the truth is not all shampoos are healthy for your hair in the long run.
The culprits responsible for a majority of the dangers in many commercial shampoos are known as surfactants. Surfactants are binding agents that can trap dirt and other impurities in foam. Shampoos are traditionally a mixture of a foaming agent and a wetting agent. The foaming agent produces the bubbles that trap the dirt, and the wetting agent helps with binding the oil from your hair and scalp to the cleansing foam. It also allows the shampoo to penetrate your hair and spread more easily. However, the cost of clean hair is gradually becoming steeper.
If you cannot find SLS mentioned on your bottle of commercial shampoo, chances are it is listed under different chemical names like DEA, TEA or MEA. A derivative of SLS is also equally dangerous to your hair, often including ammonia and lauric acid. Natural shampoos may have done away with SLS and its derivatives; however, many commercial natural shampoos still contain these ingredients as a foaming agent as well as a preservative. Always read the label on your shampoo of choice just to be sure.
To highlight exactly how dangerous SLS is, several studies have been carried out, linking it to severe hair loss, skin damage, scalp irritation and in severe cases, cellular damage and cancer. This is due to a property in SLS that creates deadly nitrate compounds. Animal studies claimed that long-term exposure to SLS leads to respiratory problems, diarrhoea, damage to eyesight and death. Because most consumers believe a good shampoo is one that produces the most bubbles, cosmetic companies gradually increased the amount of SLS in shampoos for that luxurious foaming effect. Unfortunately, this means that the levels of SLS in our shampoos now is equivalent to that in industrial grade degreasing soaps and dishwashing soaps.
Other reputable sources state that SLS can cause eye malformation in young children and harm their immune system. If that isn’t enough, SLS also kills off any beneficial bacteria on the scalp and strips the upper skin layer of its oils. This causes dehydration, which leads to itching, redness and skin irritation. While shampoo manufacturers may deem SLS necessary for its foaming properties and cost-effective filler properties, consumers should be wary of buying any sort of product without reading the fine print. Educate yourself on the terms used in your daily products and check whether the ingredients will cause you more harm than good as this is the best way to ensure a long, healthy life.