There was a time when I was satisfied using skin and health care products just from reading the promises the products made. I went from one product to the next, from one company to the next in search of the perfect products for my various needs. I never seemed to find something just right for me – something or the other wouldn’t go right; the products either exhibited side reactions or simply did not deliver.
I was never able to find a good facial wash/cleanser for my ‘acne prone’ skin. I always noticed a few bumps around either side of my chin right below the corners of my lips. Since I always had it, I figured it was how my skin was. Until one day when I was brushing my teeth and noticed that a little toothpaste dripping on my chin – right where my bumps are (please excuse the grossness). I decided to take a look at the ingredient list – bingo! I recognized an ingredient right away (my Chemistry degree is paying off already!) – Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or commonly known as SLS. It acts as a detergent – it lifts oils or stains; it helps to create foam. It is generally found in laundry detergents, engine grease cleaner, floor and car soaps, and etc. This is the same ingredient that is commonly used in toothpastes, soaps, body washes, facial washes, hand and dish soaps, and such. Other names of SLS used in ingredient lists are: sodium laurilsulfate and sodium dodecyl sulfate. You might even see sodium laureth sulfate – its more inexpensive than SLS.
SLS is a harsh chemical that is tough on getting rid of oil stains and dirt – imagine what that kind of a chemical can do to your poor tender skin. This is the ingredient that always irritated my skin at not only around my chin area, but my forehead, my back, arms, and etc. It made my scalp dry as well and I always thought I had a bad case of dandruff! I decided to do a trial-and-error to determine if I was in fact SLS was responsible for my troubles by avoiding using any product that contained it and using products that did not contain it. I replaced my shampoo, body wash, face wash, and toothpaste with SLS free products. After two weeks, I noticed that my previously existing bumps were gone and I was not developing new ones. That proved to me that SLS was the culprit and the cause of my pain. I have had pretty bump-free skin ever since then, with the occasional bumps every now and then that girls expect anyway. So, before you start thinking you have bad acne prone skin and start using even harsher chemicals on yourself in hopes of getting rid of your bumps and blemishes, do consider the side effects SLS might have on you.
Now that you know about the negative side effects of SLS, how do you avoid it? You simply read the ingredients’ list on the products you are interested in purchasing. SLS is generally listed towards the beginning. Following is a sample incomplete ingredient list of an anonymous product:
Aqua/Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Dimethicone, Sodium Chloride, Cetyl Alcohol, Hydroxystearyl Cetyl Ether, Ppg-5- Ceteth- 20, Sodium Methylparaben, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Carbomer, Dmdm Hydantoin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Propylene Glycol, Linalool, Phenoxyethano, …
Notice that SLS is the second ingredient in the list. Try to avoid products that contain SLS – your skin will thank you. Often you will notice that products that do not contain SLS, they mention so right on the front of the product. Those are the products that you can invest your interest into. I generally frequent organic shops, just because I don’t have to look as hard to find safer products there. You will be pleasantly surprised by how competitively some of the organic/green products are priced compared to the mainstream items.
In case you are thinking that it will be too much effort to change your whole routine, think about this – would you rather start using healthier products or continue to harm yourself? Besides, the whole effort at Kajal (http://kajalreviews.com) is to help readers to get to know various chemicals and their side effects. I hope that the reviews on this site will also help you in transitioning to organic products if that is what you chose to do.
Visit Kajal reviews at http://kajalreviews.com for more unbiased skincare and makeup reviews and “In Good Health” at http://kajalreviews.posterous.com for more helpful blogs on organic living.
Disclaimer: These are my thoughts and opinion that are unbiased. The decision of how you want to accept or deny them is your choice and I am not responsible for that.