Although I have been using natural skin care products for many years, I have never worried about much about personal care products such as natural shampoo or natural soap that you put on and wash off straight away. I have always believed that if a product does not stay on the skin for any length of time then the risk of absorbing dangerous chemicals form that product is probably minimal.
That was until a few years ago when I found out more about the skin and its ability to absorb certain molecules instantly. In fact the skin can absorb substances within a few seconds and while you're rubbing that gorgeous smelling shampoo into your scalp, your skin may be absorbing some chemicals you really do not want in your body.
Why do manufacturers put these chemicals into shampoos and other personal care products? There are several reasons including to make them smell nice, to preserve them so they last longer and, in the case of shampoos, to make them foam up well so that they appear to be doing a good job of cleansing your hair.
We'll look at the two worst chemical ingredients in a typical store bought shampoo. They are Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES). Of course there are others, but this pair are potentially the most damaging to your skin and your health.
Both SLS and SLES are put into personal care products to make foam which cleans any surface it is applied to, whether it is a car engine, a garage floor or your hair and scalp. The problem is that both of these are known skin irritants which can mix with other ingredients and form deadly cancer causing dioxins and nitrates in the shampoo bottle itself. They can then be quickly absorbed through the pores of your scalp and then into your bloodstream. From there they can travel to the organs where they will stay, because these chemicals are notoriously hard to remove from the body.
SLS and SLES also cause trouble even before they are absorbed through the skin in the form of scalp irritation and even hair loss. Hair loss is really not what you are looking for in a shampoo!
So why do not more people use a natural shampoo? Well mainly because they are not aware of the potential damage store bought shampoos can cause, and also because natural hair care had the reputation of being hard to lather and to rinse out. This has since been addressed and natural hair care can deliver the same or better results than its chemical equivalent.
Lastly a word of warning – beware of shampoos at health stores. A lot of these contain Sodium Laureth Sulphate called by another name. Always read the label carefully or use a reputable online store which sells a natural natural shampoo instead.