Monday, October 4, 2010

What's in your shampoo?

Most people use shampoo at least a few times a week if not every day. But what are you actually putting on your scalp? Did you know you have 20 blood vessels, 650 sweat glands, and 1,000 nerve endings in your scalp.

Surfactants: necessary for the lathering, cleaning, degreasing effects of shampoo. Conventional surfactants (sodium lauryl or laureth sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate, cocamide DEA, and ammonium xylene sulfonte) are potentially harsh on
Photo credit                                                                   your hair and strip away fatty acids.

SLS is actually a surfactant, emulsifier, and detergent used in thousands of cosmetic products. You can find it in almost all shampoos, toothpastes, hair color, body washes, make-up foundations, liquid hand soaps, and laundry detergents.

The manufacturing process results in contamination with 1,4 dioxane (carcinogen). It is rated by the Environmental Working Group as “moderate hazard.” Research has shown SLS is linked to irritation of the skin and eyes, organ toxicity, developmental/reproductive toxicity, neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption, and possible mutations and cancer.

Dioxane is rated as a “high hazard” by the EWG and it can even be found in baby shampoo. On the CDC website, it is described as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

DEA is in approximately 42% of cosmetics (shampoos the highest). It readily reacts with nitrite preservatives and contimants to create NDEA (known and potent carcinogen)

Preservatives: main function to ensure long life. None are completely benign. Conventional preservatives (iodopropynyl butylcarbamate, methylisothiazolinone, methylchloroisothiazonlinone, parabens) are stronger, more allergenic, and potentially irritating over natural preservatives (potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, and alcohol)

Propylene glycol is a common preservative in shampoo but in can also be found in engine coolant, antifreeze, airplane de-icers, tire sealants, rubber cleaners, paints, adhesives, and enamels. Material safety data sheets (MSDS) warn users to avoid skin contact with it as it is a strong irritant, potentially causing liver abnormalities and kidney damage.

Parabens have shown several links to cancer. They can also affect your body like estrogens. Researchers have found traces of parabens in every sample of tissue that was taken from 20 different breast tumors. The EPA links parabens to metabolic, developmental, hormonal, neurological disorders.

Next we will look at our options!

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