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Just how safe is commercial shampoo? In this 2-part blog we'll take a look at the ingredients in a popular supermarket shampoo and flag those of concern. Then in the second part, we’ll cover the benefits of using a safe shampoo, like ours. Once you know what's in a commercial shampoo you might want to raise awareness among friends and family, so please feel free to share this link.
Before we start, it'd be a good idea to read our blog about skin which reveals that there is no mandatory safety testing of any ingredient added to any shampoo or conditioners that you buy. And yes, you read that correctly - most ingredients are completely untested. In addition, not only does it take years for evidence to emerge about problematic ingredients, there are then further lengthy delays while more, sometimes inconclusive, evidence is gathered. Consider also that as countries around the world act independently of each other, an ingredient banned in one will be freely used in another … not very reassuring.
GEEK WARNING: Please don't be put-off by all the different names for the same ingredient. It can be tricky avoiding known toxins without serious serious study so we haven't included them all, just enough for you to get the idea.
OK, now let’s have a look at that popular brand of supermarket shampoo. These are some of the ingredients listed which we would not want anywhere near our scalp or skin:
Problems: Allergenic; toxic to environment
Synonyms: include alpha-sulfo-omega- (dodecyloxy) poly (oxy-1,2-ethanediyl), sodium salt; dodecyl sodium sulfate; peg- (1-4) lauryl ether sulfate, sodium salt; poly (oxy-1,2-ethanediyl), polyethylene glycol (1-4) lauryl ether sulfate, sodium salt; polyoxyethylene (1-4) lauryl ether sulfate, sodium salt; sodium peg lauryl ether sulfate; sodium polyoxyethylene lauryl ether sulfate; and sodium polyoxyethylene lauryl sulfate.
According to Lee and Jonathon Gallard in their book, The Allergy Solution, “sodium lauryl sulfate is so effective at causing irritation that it is used in lab experiments to induce skin irritation when that’s the effect researchers require—say, in order to study a remedy for irritation.”
It is also problematic for the environment as it causes oxidative stress in aquatic worms.
Problem: Causes skin irritation. The increasing rates of sensitization led to CAPB's being named Allergen of the Year in 2004.
Used as a hydrotrope, an organic compound that increases the ability of water to dissolve other molecules.
Problem: Reported as a likely carcinogen in rodents.
Synonyms: Benzenesulfonic acid, dimethyl-, sodium salt; xylenesulfonic acid, sodium salt; sodium dimethylbenzenesulfonate; xylenesulfonic acid, sodium salt Trade names: Conco SXS; Cyclophil; SXS 30; Eletesol SX 30; Naxonate; Naxonate G; Richonate SXS; Stepanate SXS; Stepanate X; SXS 40; Ultrawet 40SX
Problem: High concentrations of sodium benzoate (200, 400 and 700 mg/kg b.wt) produce liver damage and significantly increase in inflammatory cytokine markers. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33003957/
Problems: can cause other 'safe' ingredients to be absorbed and become toxic. Also found to be cytotoxic and weakly genotoxic, but not carcinogenic. .. affect(s) the passage of other chemicals into the skin because they will chelate calcium. ..”Because of the potential to increase the penetration of other chemicals, formulators should continue to be aware of this when combining these ingredients with ingredients that previously have been determined to be safe, primarily because they were not significantly absorbed”.
Problem: Causes contact allergies and contact dermatitis https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32209866/
Problem: chelates trace minerals, which may result in mineral deficiency ie. lack of nutrients. Those of you who have heard us talk about trace minerals will understand how we feel about this. This will be soon be another blog topic.
Problems: Can increase follicular hyperkeratosis caused by other ingredients. “This study quantifies comedogenic potential of cosmetic materials, including: isopropyl palmitate, isopropyl myristate, butyl stearate, isopropyl isostearate, decyl oleate, isostearyl neopentanoate, isocetyl stearate, myristle myristate, cocoa butter, cetyl alcohol, paraffin, stearyl alcohol sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), and petrolatum”.
Problems: Can cause allergic reaction and contact dermatitis, particularly if you have other skin allergies
Problems: Endocrine disruption, organ toxicity, irritation and respiratory problems in asthmatic patients
Problem: Many shampoos now use nanoparticles – these made-made particle are many times smaller than those which occurring naturally (defined as less than 1000nm), and there are not usually listed as such on the ingredients list. As our cells have no ability to regulate these tiny particles, the long and short term effects are largely unknown. We recommend a precautionary approach.