SLS, which stands for Sodium Laurel Sulfate is an ingredient found in nearly all conventional shampoos, tooth pastes, body washes, and laundry detergents. The chemical acts as an emulsifier and detergent, allowing products to lather during usage. This inexpensive ingredient has become a subject of controversy amongst natural product brands, especially when looking at its related compounds. The lack of regulation concerning labeling on these products has led conscious consumers to question whether or not the brands they trust are truly safe.
Many natural brands are choosing to use SLS or SCS (Sodium Coco Sulfate) in their products for it's foaming action and list it as natural and safe. According to the Wall Street Journal SLS is found in SCS and this becomes a problem when brands list themselves as SLS free when using SCS.
Confused yet? We feel ya! This is one of the many reasons why The Optimist Co. has been committed from the beginning to being SLS, SLES and SCS free. PHEW!
Nearly 16,000 studies have been performed testing the toxicity of SLS and how it effects our bodies. SLS has been proven to be an irritant of the skin and eyes, and it has been linked to possible mutations and cancer. Unfortunately, there has been no long term research done on the effects of SLS in our system over a significant period of time so that data is still inconclusive.
Although we still know very little about the long term side effects of SLS usage, Dr. Mercola points out that what we do know is still very significant. Mercola states,
"Putting chemicals on your skin or scalp, such as getting a hair dye, may actually be worse than eating them. When you eat something, the enzymes in your saliva and stomach help to break it down and flush it out of your body. However, when you put these chemicals on your skin, they are absorbed straight into your bloodstream without filtering of any kind, going directly to your delicate organs.
Once these chemicals find their way into your body, they tend to accumulate over time because you typically lack the necessary enzymes to break them down. There are literally thousands of chemicals used in personal care products, and the U. S. government does not require any mandatory testing for these products before they are sold." Source
Luckily, enough brands have realized the potential danger of SLS (also known as SLES and SCS) and there are plenty of alternatives to chose from. If a product is not marked "SLS Free," Dr. Mercola suggests reading the label and he even recommends,
"If you can't pronounce it, you probably don't want to put it on your body. Ask yourself, 'Would I eat this?'"
The Optimist Co. is proud to be SLS free from the very beginning, including our "Loads of Laughs" Natural Laundry Detergent.
Now we want to hear from you! What is your take on this topic? Do you avoid SLS in your personal care products? Let us know!
Live clean and clean happy!
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