Our hair matters. It affects how we feel about ourselves. Hair loss significantly effects our self-confidence. Oncologists report that the first question asked by a newly diagnosed patient is: Will I die? The second is: Will I lose my hair. Hair Matters.
So, if you are experiencing thinning hair or hair loss, it's probably pretty upsetting to you. Rightfully so!
Hair loss in women can be caused by many factors including stress and diet. But did you know that your shampoo can be causing your hair to fall out, too??
Blame it on the Sodium Lauryl Sulfate.
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is a detergent found in many shampoos, body washes, toothpaste, and other beauty products. In shampoo, it is the ingredient (in combination with salt) that creates the lather and suds that we associate with washing your hair. By the way, this sudsing is NOT responsible for actually getting your hair clean.
According to the American College of Toxicology, any concentration of SLS above 2% will cause irritation of your skin and may cause dandruff. Seriously? They put an ingredient in your shampoo that CAUSES dandruff? So how much SLS is actually in shampoo? Most shampoos have between 10% to 20% concentration of SLS.
SLS isn't just in your personal care products, it's also found in industrial cleaning solutions such as engine degreasers and floor cleaners. Just what you want in your shampoo, right?
If a cleaning solution containing SLS can be used to de-grease a car engine, how can it be safe for your hair and skin? Obviously, a cleaner used on a car engine has a higher concentration of SLS compared to a shampoo, but doesn't it make sense that if SLS can de-grease a car engine, then even in small concentrations it's doing more than just removing the dirt and oil build up? So when you wash your hair every day, you’re putting quite a bit of stress on your scalp and hair. Is it a surprise it falls out?
And, once your hair has started to fall out, it's also not going to grow back anytime soon if you continue to use a shampoo with SLS. According to the National Toxic Encephalopathy Foundation, SLS can slow your hair’s growth and cause your hair to thin. It can also cause new hair to take 8 times longer to grow! Plus, the salt used along with SLS can also dry your hair, making it more brittle, causing it to break.
SLS can also remove TOO MUCH of the oil in your hair and on your scalp, which means it's removing the protective barrier of the skin. This causes a dry and irritated scalp, as well as hair loss.
In addition to hair loss, there are other long term negative health effects of SLS. The Environmental Working Group’s website has a page dedicated to SLS. They don’t list SLS as a cancer risk, however, they do list it as high concern for irritation of the skin, eyes, and lungs; a moderate concern for non-reproductive organ toxicity, and a low concern for ecotoxicology (harmful to the environment).
So, be smart, and use a shampoo that does not contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. But beware! SLS can be disguised as many other ingredients!!
Here is a list of other names it goes by:
Dodecyl sodium sulfate
Dodecyl sulfate sodium
Dodecyl sulfate sodium salt
Lauryl sodium sulfate
Lauryl sulfate sodium
Lauryl sulfate sodium salt
Lauryl sodium sulfate
Monododecyl sodium sulfate
N-dodecyl sulfate sodium
Sodium lauryl sulfate
Sodium dodecyl sulfate
Sulfuric acid monododecyl ester sodium salt
Sulfuric acid dodecyl ester sodium salt
Sodium monododecyl sulfate
Sodium monolauryl sulfate
Sodium n-dodecyl sulfate
Sodium Lauryl ether sulfate
Don't let hair loss keep you from enjoying life! Switch to a shampoo free of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and 1) prevent hair loss or 2) regrow you hair!
Remember, ingredients matter! Don't be fooled by big business's marketing schemes. The words "organic" and "natural" have no clear definition and can be put on just about any product. Always read the ingredients!
Need help deciphering the ingredients on your favorite products? Be sure and download my Handy List of Harmful Ingredients. This handy guide will make it simple for you to check for some of the most common harmful ingredients the next time you are at the store.
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