Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Um, What?! Wednesday: The Laureth/Lauryl Sulfates

If you're obsessed with reading the ingredients lists on the back of your personal care products like I am, then you've definitely come across the Laureth/Lauryl Sulfates. Sodium/Ammonium Laureth/Lauryl Sulfates (I know it looks tricky, bear with me) are surfactants. They are commonly found in shampoo, body wash, shower gel and soap usually at the top of the ingredients list. The purpose of a surfactant is to remove oil and dirt from the skin and hair.

These ingredients are known skin/eye irritants when used in concentrations of 2% or higher. Most of the products we use have a concentration of atleast 20%. The lauryl sulfates have been proven to make significant changes to the epidermal layer of the skin and also damage the hair follicle. On the bright side, none of these ingredients have been known to cause cancer, but the verdict is still out. Ultimately, these chemicals have been deemed safe for cosmetic use.

So that's the science, tried and true... but I must say, I've never experienced any irritation from the products I use and my hair is quite healthy. When the weather breaks (spring where are you?) I'm going to make the switch to all natural hair care developed by yours truly. Look for a series related to that topic... :-)


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