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sodium laurel sulphate - should I be worried?

(25 Posts)
curlydolly Wed 19-Jan-05 14:40:35

Does anyone know anything about SLS and should I be worried about it or is this just a bit of hysteria? Its a chemical found in just about every soapbased product (shampoo, bubble bath etc) and I keep reading about the dangers/effects of it but not sure whether its really that bad or not..
I've tried looking for things without it but these are all very expensive...can anyone recommend anything? Thanks!

Marina Wed 19-Jan-05 14:44:25

I really don't know about sodium laureth sulphate, curlydolly...a lot of good quality, hypoallergenic or even organic toiletries contain it, I notice, and like you, I have not found much available without it that doesn't cost a packet.
If Aveda and Origins(my preferred treat brands) use it, then I'm prepared to take the risk. I can't help feeling that if it were that noxious we'd be seeing many more people affected by now, as you say, it's in loads of stuff. But maybe someone who knows more about the specific health risks and why they have been publicised, can tell us more?

KatieMac Wed 19-Jan-05 14:49:54

It concerns me as it is in every brand of mint toothpaste, I'm sure that it's not good for you

Marina Wed 19-Jan-05 14:51:02

If I was going to cut it out of our lives, I would certainly start with toothpaste...I think the Weleda and Tom's of Maine brands from health food shops don't have SLS in them...

JennyX Wed 19-Jan-05 15:04:44

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gingerbear Wed 19-Jan-05 15:06:00

Green People do SLS free toiletries, £6.99 for 100ml of body wash though!

highlander Wed 19-Jan-05 15:31:25

SLS is the detergent component of any shampoo, shower gel etc. It's also what makes toothpaste foam.

For babies, SLS can be harmful as it is too strong a detergent for their skin, particularly their bums. If you strip away the natural barrier of the skin, rashes can develop. It is thought the increased use of SLS-based products may be a contributing factor in the increased incidence of infant excema.

Plain water is all that babies need for at least the first 6 weeks. Washes that are SLS-free are available, but expensive. However, you only need a tiny bit to do the cheese-collecting areas! (underarms, chin etc).

muminaspin Wed 19-Jan-05 15:44:47

Bath & Shower for Children by Green People - excellent and although expensive it does go a long way! - you only need a tiny squirt in the bath so it lasts for ages... it's lovely.

curlydolly Wed 19-Jan-05 19:14:40

Thanks everyone! I have had a look at Green People - their stuff does look nice so will give it a try, especially bath and toothpaste products.
JennyX - if you've got details of the mail order co you mentioned I would be interested in having those..

bongobum Wed 19-Jan-05 19:45:04

The 'Little Me' range found in Boots do all SLS free toiletries for babies which are also organic and use aromatherapy oils, the stuff is so gorgeous I pinch it for myself. They do bodywashes/bath foams/massage balms creams etc all cheaper than Green People, but a really lovely range of products, can't praise then enough.

weightwatchingwaterwitch Wed 19-Jan-05 19:46:59

I'm pretty sure Earth Friendly baby stuff will be SLS free too. I found some in Sainsbury's.

hoxtonchick Wed 19-Jan-05 19:52:12

how about neal's yard stuff? there aren't any ingredients on their website, but they make a big deal out of being all natural. expensive though.

bongobum Wed 19-Jan-05 19:52:23

here try them

moi Wed 19-Jan-05 19:53:05

The Little Me range is lovely!

bongobum Wed 19-Jan-05 20:01:45

Yeh Moi it is lovely. My sister thought it was quite pricey until she saw how long it lasted. Have just got through one tub of the lavendar massage balm (us e it every day on DS) and after 8 months it's finished.
Curlydolly have you heard of LUSH cosmetics too? They do a brilliant range and you can use 'Dreamwash' on babies it's gorgeous is fine for my baby when he has the ocassional ezcema flare up.

Marina Thu 20-Jan-05 12:06:37

We use Little Me on ds and dd (although he makes vomiting noises at the packaging, being a BIG BOY of five) and I honestly hadn't checked it was SLS free . So subconsciously I obviously do consider it a menace and try not to expose my children to it...thanks for the explanation highlander.

Ameriscot2005 Thu 20-Jan-05 12:21:12

Yes, it's hysteria. Obviously a very high level of SLS and SLeS is going to be dangerous, but at the level that it is present in wash-off products is really quite low (maybe around 3% of one and 1% of the other). There are other chemicals (amphoteric surfactants, such as cocamidopropyl betaine) in formulations that make the surfactants milder without compromising on cleaning quality.

I used to work daily with SLS, SLeS, ALS and ALeS and am convinced of the safety of these materials to consumers. They are safe to workers too who are exposed at much higher levels than consumers.

The best thing is to avoid buying cheapo products that are not optimised for consumer safety, or products from companies that don't have large research budgets with which to carry out large scale safety testing.

It's the whole formula that counts towards safety, not one or two individual raw materials. Because something is "nasty"-free doesn't mean that it is a safer formula - it just means that they have a particular marketing niche.

Ameriscot2005 Thu 20-Jan-05 12:23:53

<<<It's also what makes toothpaste foam>>>

SLS isn't a big foamer. There are other chemicals that are added to products specifically as foam builders. Don't know what they use in toothpastes though.

gingerbear Thu 20-Jan-05 20:26:12

Ameriscot, I am intrigued, who did you work for? I work for Croda who supply fatty acid derivatives - base ingredients for the cosmetics industry. Our big clients include Boots, Estee Lauder, P&G, Revlon.

Whizzz Thu 20-Jan-05 20:29:30

Well put Ameriscot2005. I think a lot is hysteria especially with so much 'stuff' on websites, usually by people wanting to sell their own products.

froot Thu 20-Jan-05 20:48:25

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Ameriscot2005 Thu 20-Jan-05 22:44:13

One of those companies, gingerbear . I used to specify lots of Croda products too as they were very good quality (low odour, etc.)

Adashaw Thu 20-Jan-05 23:25:40

Hi I personally try and avoid SLS and all chemical stuff - I use plain veg soap in the shower (much cheaper and longer lasting than any shower gel) plus I use weleda almond face cream, which is fantastic and only about £7, when you consider these so called miracle creams at £20 plus (rip) what I have heard is that the SLS tend to strip the natural oils and then they are replaced with chemical oils which isn't so good on bub I have just started using something called pure-castile soap from fresh and wild which has done wonders for her cradle cap in just 2 days and it was extremely cheap. Might add I have just been given a present of little me stuff which smells yum!

Adashaw Thu 20-Jan-05 23:29:31

froot I also use weleda salt toothpaste which is amazing and has whitened my teeth, even my dentist was impressed with my teeth and gums considering the last time I saw him he was appalled that I was asking about using something more 'natural' and told me not to even think about using anything without florides

curlydolly Fri 21-Jan-05 21:28:33

thanks for all your comments/advice since I started this one. Interesting to see what everyone else thinks.
Froot - re your toothpaste query I've just bought some ordinary Sensodyne mint flavour and SLS is not on the ingredient list...thats not the reason I bought it either!
I'm going to try little me and also lush stuff (if I can bear the stink and actually go in the shop!)I had a look at their website and a few of their soaps do contain sls though.
Even if sls is not really that bad, trying to limit the amount of chemicals we expose ourselves and our babies to must be beneficial in the long run (and eases my conscience!). Over and out...

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