Do you enjoy a shampoo with a rich lather? A shaving cream that really foams? How about relaxing in a tub full of bubbles? These may seem like some of life’s simple, innocent pleasures…until you look at WHAT is causing all that foam and lather. Once you find out, you may decide it’s not so simple or pleasurable after all.
Check the labels of your shampoo, soap, facial cleanser, shaving cream, body wash, or shower gel: Do you see either Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) or Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) listed? Or one of their cousins: Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Myreth Sulfate, etc.? Most manufacturers use these anionic detergents because they produce a lot of foam very inexpensively. But SLS is so strong that it’s also used to scrub garage floors. Worse, it has been proven to cause cancer in the long run. And the American College of Toxicology says SLS stays in the body up to five days. Other studies show it easily penetrates the skin and enters and maintains residual levels in the heart, liver, the lungs, and the brain. Yet SLS is found in most cleansing, foaming products—even in some toothpastes!
Most people selling products with this and other harmful ingredients really just don't know. The FDA has a GRAS list (Generally Regarded As Safe), and almost everything is on there, so most people selling these products just focus on the marketing hype and what the product is supposed to do for skin (clean it, make it feel soft, etc.). Sadly, of the 7000 ingredients used on the skin, only 5-6 have been tested for LONG-TERM safety, and none have been tested TOGETHER. Currently, 125 are strongly suspected carcinogens, 20 cause adverse nervous system reactions, and 25 are connected to birth defects.
So why exactly is SLS so bad?
- SLS PENETRATES EYES AND TISSUES: Tests show that SLS can penetrate into the eyes as well as systemic tissues (brain, heart, liver, etc.) and shows long-term retention in those tissues. Especially when used in soaps and shampoos, there is an immediate concern relating to the penetration of SLS into the eyes and other tissues. This is especially important in infants, where considerable growth is occurring, because a much greater uptake occurs by tissues of younger eyes, and SLS changes the amounts of some proteins in cells from eye tissues. Tissues of young eyes may be more susceptible to alteration by SLS
- SLS FORMS NITRATES: When SLS is used in shampoos and cleansers containing nitrogen-based ingredients, it can form carcinogenic nitrates that can enter the blood stream in large numbers. They can cause eye irritations, skin rashes, hair loss, scalp scurf similar to dandruff, and allergic reactions.
- SLS PRODUCES NITROSAMINES: (potent carcinogens that cause the body to absorb nitrates at higher levels than eating nitrate-contaminated food like hot dogs or lunch meat) Dr. David H. Fine, the chemist who uncovered NDELA contamination in cosmetics, estimates that a person would be applying 50 to 100 micrograms of nitrosamine to the skin each time he or she used a nitrosamine-contaminated cosmetic. By comparison, a person consuming sodium nitrate-preserved bacon is exposed to less than one microgram of nitrosamine. 
- SLS STRIPS MOISTURE AND OIL FROM THE SKIN: According to the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, SLS produced skin and hair damage, including cracking and severe inflammation of the derma-epidermal tissue. Skin layers may separate and inflame due to its protein-denaturing properties.
- SLS IRRITATES SCALP AND MAY PROMOTE HAIR LOSS 
- SLS CAN DAMAGE DNA IN CELLS: according to Japanese studies.
What’s more important: the foam or your health?
You CAN choose healthful alternatives: there are many all-natural skin care ranges on the market today. Try to find them in your local health-food store.