Ingredient of the Week

a Salon Naturals blog

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Among the most commonly used surfactants in mainstream products is a class of chemicals often referred to as SLS.  Unfortunately, these chemicals also pose multiple serious health risks. Sodium lauryl sulfate in particular is an effective stain remover, engine degreaser, car washing soap, detergent, and foaming agent. These industrial applications in heavy cleaning environments are courtesy of the compound’s acidic behavior as it is derived from sulfuric acid. In the thousands of cosmetic products that feature SLS, including oils, lotions, soaps, and toothpastes, it is allegedly used to create a foaming effect.

Aside from the benefit of soap lather, the incorporation of sodium lauryl sulfate into commonly used cosmetic products has produced a number of concerns among conscientious consumers. It is used in the automotive and cleaning industry because it is a potent cleaner. However, its use in cosmetics is appealing to manufacturers primarily because it is inexpensive and readily available.  Companies continue to include this dangerous chemical in their formulations in spite of the many adverse health effects linked to SLS exposure, including allergies, eczema, and general acute skin irritation.

Sodium lauryl sulfate is inherently able to denature critical proteins on the surface of the skin, breaking the vital protective structures that the body forms and endangering deeper skin membranes. Upon complete absorption of SLS into the bloodstream, it can cause similar effects internally.

To avoid allergic reactions or worse, consumers should familiarize themselves with sodium lauryl sulfate and all other chemicals in the SLS family.  Learn more about sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate and many other toxic chemicals frequently found in cosmetics by educating yourself and your family.


June 27, 2011 Posted by | Ingredient of the Week - Yucky! | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Phenoxyethanol – Should Increased Use Concern Us?

Phenoxyethanol is typically one of the undisclosed ingredients in many products containing “fragrance.”  However, it may also be used as a preservative and there has been a recent upsurge in the frequency with which formulators are using it for this purpose.  The public became aware of it when the FDA recently issued a warning concerning its use in a cream (Mommy Bliss) for nursing mothers.  Their warning concerned the potential of Phenoxyethanol to cause vomiting, contact dermatitis and even to shut down the central nervous sytem.

This chemical is an aromatic glycol ether.  It begins as phenol, which is a toxic powder created from benzene and treated with ethylene oxide and an alkalai.  Both benzene and ethylene oxide are known carcinogens.  Glycols are a family of chemicals that are frequently found in paint, lacquer, and even airplane fuel.

It is restricted for use in Japan, it has been linked to central nervous depression, eye and lung irritation.  It is important to note that many of these reactions occured at moderate and even low doses.  The EPA has issued data sheets demonstrating chromosomal changes and genetic metation effect, along with reproductive interference.  Of more than 3000 allergens recently evaluated, Phenoxyethanol was ranked among the top 10 most likely chemicals to create allergic reactions in users.

The frustrating truth is that manufacturers are making the switch to Phenoxyethanol to steer away from parabens and formaldehyde donors.  Unfortunately, they are causing their customers to do little more than exchange one set of serious concerns for a new set entirely.  Phenoxyethanol should be avoided when at all possible.

Learn more about other ingredients of concern or contact us with your specific requests.


We have gathered several additional resources for your consideration.


July 19, 2010 Posted by | Ingredient of the Week - Yucky! | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fragrance Free, Better for You, Better for Me

Excellent article from Organic Authority.  Please read & share!

Everywhere we go, we smell fragrances. Everyone we encounter on a daily basis usually wears perfume, cologne, fragrant aftershave, deoderant, or uses scented soaps, hair products such as shampoos and hair gel or washes their clothes with fragrant detergent and uses scented fabric softeners, products that “smell nice”, or so we were brought up as a conventional society to believe.

However, synthetic fragrances found in these products are very harmful to the human body. More than 20 percent of our population experiences adverse health effects when exposed to fragrances. 95 percent of fragrances are synthetic compounds made from petroleum products, not flowers or anything else found in nature. These synthetic compounds include benzene derivatives, aldehydes and many other known toxics and sensitizers – just one perfume can contain more than 500 chemicals. Another common ingredient in scents is toluene. Toluene triggers asthma attacks and is known to cause asthma in previously healthy people.

Negative health effects caused by synthetic fragrances include the following-watery or dry eyes, nose or throat irritation, dry cracking skin, rashes, headaches, asthma, double vision, sneezing and nasal congestion, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, nervous system changes, and swollen lymph glands.

Scented products contain numerous toxic chemicals which constantly vaporize into the air and attach themselves to hair, clothing, and surroundings. Fragrances are one of today’s major sources of indoor air pollution and they are one of the least regulated substances.

Even though you can’t prevent your exposures to synthetic fragrances when you go out in public and are exposed to other peoples’ fragrant products, you can clean up your own environment and in your own dwelling area, you can substitute unscented personal products for scented ones. You can find these products at your local health food or online store. There are many online companies that specialize in unscented or unscented, natural products which is even better for the body.

Many conventional products can be found in a “fragrance free” version. Read the ingredient label and look to see if it says “fragrance.” If it doesn’t list it as in ingredient and if the bottle specifies fragrance free, it should indeed be fragrance free.

For more great articles from Organic Authority, visit their website.

July 19, 2010 Posted by | Ingredient of the Week - Yucky! | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment