Why you need to use chemical free soap
Posted on 8th March 2020 at 22:14
Is this WWII engine degreaser in your cosmetics? Probably for 95% of you.
In this article we are going to cover a few subjects related to this chemical which include:
You probably think you have never washed with engine degreaser in your life. But unless you've used SLS free soap all your life, you probably have been.
If you have ever used soap, shampoo, conditioner, hand wash or shower gel from a supermarket, pharmacy, hospital or public rest station then you have. For definite. Certainly. 100% yes.
That is because the soaps, shampoos and hand wash from these shops or public facilities almost certainly contain Sodium Lauryl Sulphate or one of its many synonyms.
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate was used in WWII as a degreaser when they suddenly noticed how great it was at stripping the grease and oil off of the engines. If you have never seen the inside of a car bonnet then we can assure you it’s a really dirty greasy place.
It was first introduced in a product called ‘gunk’ as an engine degreaser. That product is still available today. Soon after the car industry found out about this chemical, the laundry detergent industry decided to start using it, as they noticed it was great at breaking down grease and stubborn stains on clothes!
Shortly after the closely related laundry detergent industry started using SLS as a degreaser and stain remover the cosmetic companies then started to use this product in their cosmetics, as SLS would produce the same amount of foam in hard and soft water. Plus it would leave the consumer extremely clean.
As it turns out too clean! It cleans your skin so much that it clears all the natural grease inbetween your skin cells, leaving you exposed to infection with the added benefit of dry skin conditions such as eczema!
But the main reason they used it? It was cheap.... dirt cheap. Excuse the pun.
Currently I can buy SLS at wholesale rates for £0.61 per kg or £614 per tonne. That is amazingly cheap for an ingredient that you place on your skin. To show you the difference our natural cleanser in our soap, coconut oil is £3424.13 per tonne. That’s a difference of £2810.13 per tonne.
But what’s the draw back, you say? My soap works fine, you say?
We’ll give you 4 reasons why SLS is bad for your skin:
1. Removes natural oils from your skin- Yes, this degreaser strips all grease and oil from your skin, which you may think is a good thing, but your skin needs the natural oil it produces to protect it. Natural oils in the skin bind the skin together and plug the gaps in between. When you use this chemical on it, it strips away the dirt and grease that you don’t want but also the grease you do want on your skin, which forms your first protection against disease and infection.
2. Inflammation - SLS is a skin irritant. If you leave this on your skin, you will come out in a rash that looks similar to eczema. Using an ingredient as harsh as this on your skin every day, even in wash off products, is going to have an effect. Washing away all the natural oils that occur on your skin gives the skin two options:
a) your skin will either start producing a lot more oil, which is why you get breakouts, oily skin and even acne, or;
b) your skin will still produce a small amount of oil like it would naturally do, but since that small amount gets washed away every day in your bath or shower then your skin will be left dry, cracked and unprotected.
As well as soaps/shower gels, SLS is also more than likely in your shampoo. There have been studies where men, who have switch from a shampoo with this chemical in to one without, have seen improved hair growth. This is because this irritant causes the hair follicle to become inflamed and close down, starving the hair of growth. A quick rule of thumb about SLS, the cheaper the product, the more SLS it has in it. So buying the cheapest cosmetics is probably not the best thing to do, but also check the label of the expensive ones as it may still contain it.
3. Increases skin permeability - SLS is used in products, such as medicine and nicotine patches, as it increases the speed at which the drugs or therapeutic nicotine is absorbed.
The SLS irritates the lining in your stomach so the drug can be absorbed faster and the effects felt quicker. If SLS is used to basically create gaps in the skin to allow things to be absorbed faster, how is this a good skin care ingredient?
SLS is stripping you of your natural protection and allowing things to get in your skin; some may be good, but you are also allowing potentially harmful things in.
4. Damage to eyes - This is particular to children. SLS is present in a huge amount of products aimed towards children: bubble bath, kids shampoo and children’s soap. When these products are used on children, they will have a concentration of this chemical in their eyes regardless.
SLS causes damage to the protein formation in children’s eyes, which are essentially what we use to grow and repair ourselves. This is why it is so important that you do not use SLS based products on children who are still growing, as the consequences are irreversible.
As you can see the ingredient SLS is not a particularly nice one. The problem is, it’s used in so many products because it is very cheap to make as it is usually made with palm oil, and at the end of the day big companies care more about profit margins than they do about your skin and your health.
What products is it in?
Here is a list of some common products that SLS or SLES are in:
Soaps - most sold in the supermarket/pharmacy have this in them, including children’s soaps. Especially in liquid soaps that you may find in public places such as hospitals and public loo's.
Shampoo’s - even some of the most expensive brands have this ingredient in them, including children’s shampoo.
Toothpaste - yep it’s even in here; do you really need foamy toothpaste?
Bubble bath - everybody loves bubbles, but would they love them if they knew?
Washing up liquid - notice the advert about the soft hands has disappeared?
Washing powder/detergent - getting the oil and grease out of your clothes is one thing, but probably not the best for washing skin.
Carpet cleaner - again, great for stripping oils and grease, and brilliant for industrial cleaning, just not for your skin.
Make-up - used as an emulsifier and to thicken solutions; this is used in lots of make-up, including mascara, right next to the eyes, which is dangerous for your health. They really don’t care about you.
Shaving cream - again, foaming is the property that they need from the SLS; shame about all the draw backs for the skin otherwise it would be great
Fabric glue - again, great as a stabiliser in this solution; crazy to think we use this stuff on our skin
Hand wash/shower gel - any liquid ‘soap’ will contain this ingredient or one of it’s derivatives. People usually wash their hands with this harmful stuff before touching their eye’s when putting in contact lenses. Insane!
Also in: moisturising creams, lotions, mouthwash, sun creams, stain removers and lots of other product’s
So if it’s so bad, then why don’t we know about it?
Well there has been a lot written on the internet about the ill affects of SLS, but lobbyists for large companies have managed to keep it out of the mainstream media, and even counter blog to say it’s perfectly safe.
I can think of one particular company that you will see in malls up and down the country that sell ‘handmade’ very brightly coloured cosmetics, that have also counter blogged and said it’s perfectly safe.
I’d love to ask the chief exec if he would use the products on his children after reading the list of ill effects of SLS? I very much doubt it.
All we can do is to keep raising awareness. We need to continue to tell more and more people to stop buying these products, and only then will it change so products are made, which are better for our skin and our planet.
In the mean time, small producers like Seatree Cosmetics have got you covered. You can buy our 100% natural soap now in our shop, and have it delivered to you at any address in the UK. We recommend our Lavender Soap as lavender essential oil has the most skin healing properties, perfect for hands or skin that have been dried out by overuse of SLS.
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I hope you have enjoyed this article, and we have plenty more on our blog if you want to read more about why natural soap is so great.
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