So what are sulfates and why are they used? And most importantly, are they harmful?
What? Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) are the chemicals used to make your soap, shampoo, toothpaste foam up. It's how you get the uber sudsy effect. Something my husband pointed out in the laundromat one day when it seemed that are fellow laundromat patron used way too much detergent. It wasn't too much, it was just the foaming factor was a lot heavier than ours was.
Why? They are cheap and effective.
Harmful? Although they are considered "safe" in many products, they are known irritants. Some products with these chemicals have also been contaminated with low levels of 1, 4 Dioxane, which has been classified as a carcinogen. Shampoos have been removing it due to irritation on the scalp.
If you've been following my story here then you know that 1-I don't want to take any chances with the health of my family and 2-I am very much sensitive to the effects of SLS. Much to my dismay, a lot of natural products use SLS stating that it is deemed safe and that it is natural because it is derived from coconut or palm kernel oil. Also noting that it can be irritating if left on the skin - hence the shampoo again.
So here we are with the decision again - go with it or get rid of it? I recently switched my toothpaste from Tom's Whole Care to the new SLS-free Clean and Gentle. I know a lot of people are down on Tom's because they are corporate and use fluoride, etc. But I have to say that I do like them. It was the ONLY toothpaste I could tolerate through morning sickness and they have really stepped up creating both SLS and fluoride free toothpastes based on customer demand.
Most SLS-free products are not fan favorites due to their low foaming action. So in their defense, here are a couple of pics of SLS-free soap products. They are looking pretty sudsy to me!
|Dolphin Organics Baby Shampoo & Body Wash||(Not even the bubble bath)!|
|Dapple Dish Soap|