SLS is used routinely in clinical studies. This may suggest a level of comfort, however, the way in which it is used is disturbing. Despite being the number one active ingredient in virtually all soaps, shampoos and cleansers, the sole purpose of using SLS in clinical studies is to cause skin irritation that can then be used to identify the properties of other chemicals!
Amazing isn't it? For years, we have been applying known irritants to our skin on a daily basis. To quote the ACT report "The abbreviated symbol for Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is used around the world in clinical studies as a skin irritant. SLS is the universal standard, by which a measured percentage is evaluated to promote a given level of irritation and reaction. By this SLS standard level of irritation, it is then possible to evaluate the healing or modifying characteristics of any ingredient or formula used on the SLS irritated skin."
Most worryingly, irritation has been shown to occur at concentrations of 0.5%, which is 1/60th the concentration found in some hand soaps. Caveat emptor! (BUYER BEWARE)
In the last 100 years or so, many new health problems have come to light. These include PMS / PMT, the so-called "menopausal symptoms" which never used to exist, and more recently a massive drop in male fertility which threatens our continued existence in many western countries. SLS is most likely a major contributor to all of these problems due to its oestrogen mimicking activity.
Oestrogen is a hormone found quite normally in both men and women. Like all other hormones, it's circulating levels are rigidly controlled by the glands of the body due to the potent effect of its presence on virtually all cells. Not only does SLS irritate the skin, it is also absorbed through the skin ( high levels of skin penetration may occur at even low concentration). Once in the body, the SLS molecule attaches to oestrogen receptors, mimicking the effects of the hormone in various body systems.
The result is hormonal chaos. The body can no longer control it's own oestrogen levels (or at least, what it sees as it's own oestrogen levels - it can't tell the difference between endogenous oestrogen and SLS) and therefore loses control of many normal endocrines (hormonal) functions.
In men, whose oestrogen levels are normally extremely low, this massive increase causes breast enlargement, reduction of male hormone levels and a massive drop in both sperm count and sperm motility (the ability of the sperm to fertilise an ovum). Gender confusion may also be related to SLS levels, either in the male himself or in his mother during pregnancy.
In women, the reproductive system, which is totally controlled by oestrogen and progesterone, goes haywire. Rapidly shifting oestrogen levels and their effect on progesterone levels mean that the body is totally confused, leading to menstrual problems, menopausal symptoms and potentially infertility. Because this subject is so important, we have devoted a whole section of this site to women's health.
Eye Irritation/eye deformities in children
Have you ever got shampoo in your eyes? Yes, so have I - not pleasant is it? However, the potential effects of SLS on the eye are much more worrying. In animal studies, 10% of SLS caused acute corneal damage. However, it is not just direct eye contact that is the problem. According to the American College of Toxicology, "tests show permanent eye damage in young animals from skin contact in non-eye areas". In other words, because SLS is absorbed through the skin, it can cause PERMANENT eye damage WITHOUT ever directly coming into contact with your eyes. As a result, you would expect that children's products would be SLS-free. Unfortunately not, most children's shampoos contain just as much SLS as those for adults.
Thankfully, alternatives DO exist, though you would be hard-pressed to find them in your local chemist or supermarket.
Our cells are made from protein. The development of those cells is strictly regulated by the reproductive processes that are continually at work removing damaged and old cells and replacing them with healthy new ones. Virtually every cell in the body is replaced at least every 7 years.
SLS exerts its effects on proteins by forming a chemical bridge between the fat-soluble and water-soluble parts of the protein molecule. This disrupts the hydrophobic forces needed to maintain the protein structure and the molecule collapses, rendering it useless. This effect is usually irreversible.
The result of this is two-fold. Firstly, existing proteins are damaged, leading to an increase in the amount of healing required by the body. Secondly, new proteins can be damaged and cells disrupted while they are under construction. It is exactly this type of activity that can lead to the early stages of skin cancer. In the skin, this process can be so severe, that skin layers may separate and inflame due to its (SLS's) protein denaturing properties.
Carcinogenicity (Cancer causing)
Quite apart from it's potential to cause pre-cancerous conditions by denaturing proteins, the oestrogen mimicking effects of SLS also offers massive potential to cause cancer. It is known that many cancers, not least breast and ovarian cancer are directly related to oestrogen levels, in fact, some cancer cells actually secrete their own oestrogen, which contributes to the growth of the tumour.
Clearly, by disrupting normal oestrogen levels AND by causing similar effects at a cellular level as endogenous oestrogen, SLS exhibits MASSIVE potential to both cause and worsen cancerous states. The incidence of breast cancer has increased several-fold in the last 50 years, both in women and in men. Currently, according to the American Cancer Society, men account for approximately 1% of all breast cancer cases. This subject is discussed in more detail in our section. Natural Health Information Centre
There is also a third way by which SLS can potentially cause cancer. Carcinogenic nitrates can form in the manufacturing of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or by its inter-reaction with other nitrogen-bearing ingredients within a formulation utilizing this ingredient (many shampoos contain nitrate compounds). A single shampooing can produce more cancer-causing nitrates in the body than eating a pound of bacon, which is VERY high in nitrates!
Whether it is by these means or not, SLS is a known mutagen - it is capable of damaging the genetic material found every cell in your body. As mutagenicity has been strongly linked to cancer, this is a major concern.
We will do our best to help and advise you on ways to limit both your exposure and your risk.
Take control of your health and exchange your toxin-filled household with chemical-free products SEE MORE HARMFUL CHEMICALS IN OUR INGREDIENTS PAGE
HERE'S A SURPRISE!
" Can toothpaste contribute to canker sores? ( Mouth ulcers) Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is the detergent found in most toothpaste. But research from Oslo, Norway indicates SLS may precipitate canker sores in people already prone to get them
Oral surgeon Paul Barkvoll found a 70 per cent decrease in the occurrence of canker sores (mouth ulcers) when susceptible persons switched to a toothpaste that did not contain SLS. Barkvoll suspects the ingredient dries out the protective mucous layer lining the mouth, leaving the gums and cheeks vulnerable to irritants like acids in foods.
Until recently, the only U.S marketed toothpaste without SLS was Rembrandt’s Natural. But others are now following suit.
Wall Street Journal 1993"
Why not try natural toothpaste which can often found in health food stores and some good pharmacies
HOW TO STORE Shea butter has a long shelf life can last up to two years! However, it is quite delicate and requires storing in warm to cool dry place or at room temperature. Never in a cold place and DO NOT REFRIGERATE (has oleic acids in it which does not like cold and will compromise the shea).