Shock, disappointment and then flat out TICKED OFF!! That is how I felt standing there, water running, reading the back of the soap bottle in my hand. There it was – Sodium Laurel Sulfates – written in the tiniest letters probably legal for a retail product. Once again, I was duped.
I have made a conscious effort to only bring into my home products that “Do No Harm” (my home Hippocratic Oath). I spend an extra 10 minutes at every grocery store visit, reading labels, trying really hard to raise my children in a healthy environment and maybe trying to undo the repercussions of few bad decisions I made in my twenties! I know it is my responsibility to read these labels, to not take the word of the brilliant marketing brains behind them. But, there are times, when I am in a rush and can’t read every one. So I do what a lot of us do and look for the “organic looking”, “naturally-labeld” things that aren’t $20 more expensive than all the others. This must have been one of those times. This hand soap that I trusted for so long, was not “natural” at all! So where am I going with this (besides venting)…Why does it make me so angry? Why am I obsessing over words like “SLS & Paraben-Free”? Why are they supposedly bad? And if they are, why are companies and people still using them? Okay, here we go…Substance 101: In Laymen’s Terms
SLS (Sodium Laurel Sulfates)
What are they?
Cleaning Agents (surfactants), found in shampoo, cleaning products, toothpaste, soaps, moisturizers, laundry detergent (pretty much all the stuff you use while standing in the bathroom or kitchen!)
What’s the big deal?
Similar to car wash that removes the grease from your car, SLS dissolves the grime and oils on your skin. Great, your clean, BUT…those oils protect your skin from dryness, and other nasty contaminants. So they commonly cause SKIN IRRITATION, DRY SKIN, EYE/NOSE Irritation, and allow other environmental bad guys into your skin. Let us not forget that our SKIN is a LIVING Organism (we need to take care of it so it can take care of us!). This next issue is constantly debated, but some research claims that high levels can cause Liver & Kidney Damage and that studies have linked SLS to increasing PMS/Menopausal Symptoms, a decrease in Male Fertility & an Increase in Female Cancer.
*That’s enough for me to avoid it, especially when there are other options!
I saved the best (or worst) for last!
What are they?
Chemicals used as preservatives (fight bacteria & fungus from growing), found in shampoos, moisturizers, cleaners, toothpaste, etc…This allows products to sit on shelves for years (if needed) without going rancid or getting funky. Now we know why fresh food goes bad quicker and truly natural skincare products expire sooner, because they avoid these chemicals!
What’s the big deal?
Listen Up, because this is a BIG DEAL! These HAVE been proven to mimic the hormone Estrogen. And while normally made in our bodies, is also KNOWN to play a large role in CANCER DEVELOPMENT. Researchers have found parabens in breast cancer tumors and believe there IS A LINK between the two.
Men, your not off the hook…Parabens can also adversely affect testosterone secretion and the function of the male reproductive system.
Hmmm, an increase in breast cancer and infertility…sounds like the world we live in today!
The Other Big Question…Why in the world do companies use these awful things?
The Answer…they are CHEAP! Yep, it comes down to money. These substances are much cheaper to use than healthy alternatives (which DO exist folks). Some things do follow the rule “You pay for what you get” and I for one, am not willing to risk my, my husband or our daughters health to save $1.60 on hand soap (something that I used 23 times yesterday)! I can hear the “eye-ball rollers” saying “it’s not hurting us now”. True, but what about next month, next year. What about when my girls are grown, struggling with infertility or diagnosed with breast cancer at age 24. These are the thoughts that keep parents awake at night. And selfishly, I may be pushing 40, but I still have a lot of things to do and I’m not going down without a fight. On the flip side, I know grocery bills can get expensive buying all organic and safe items, but there are certain items that I just won’t save on. Good, health conscious companies aren’t trying to rip you off, their “clean” ingredients cost a bit more, in turn so do their prices, but their margins aren’t any bigger & often less.
So, I challenge everyone for one day, one week, one month…while your bathing your kids, washing your hands, standing in the shower…READ YOUR LABELS! See if you can count the amount of times you saw Parabens or Sodium Laurel Sulfates and let us know. We love a good conversation!