Shampoos and engine degreasers may be more similar than you think

My Accidentally Green journey began five years ago when I learned about sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate ... they were the first ingredients that made me realize there are a lot of hidden dangers in the products we use each day.  

Both sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate are considered surfactants and help products lather, bubble and foam with suds.
When sodium lauryl sulfate is ethoxylated (an industrial process that makes the compound less abrasive and foam more) it’s changed to sodium laureth sulfate. Often, the carcinogen 1,4-dioxane is used in ethoxylation.
Sodium laureth sulfate tends to be less irritating than sodium lauryl sulfate – but it’s easily absorbed into a person’s body and mimics estrogen. (As discussed before, this can increase a breast cancer risk, as well affect fertility and accelerate puberty.) Both ingredients are organic compounds of sulfuric acid and denature, or change, the structure of proteins – and that can mean damage to your skin.

The big problem with both ingredients is that they irritate eyes and skin and cause hair loss, rashes, swelling, dandruff and allergic reactions. Sodium lauryl sulfate (an anionic surfactant) is known to irritate and damage eyes. To mask the irritation, manufacturers often include other ingredients (nonionic detergents like cocamide MEA and DEA or lauramide MEA and DEA) that act as an anesthetic on eyeballs. It’s a pretty deceptive way to make harsh shampoos seem gentle enough for eyes.
If you’ve checked out the ingredients in most personal care products, you’ve noticed sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate. They’re in many shampoos, soaps, toothpastes and detergents. They’re so common because the ingredients are cheap for manufacturers. Unfortunately, they’re also very powerful – in fact, they’re potent enough to be included in car wash soaps, garage floor cleaners, and car engine degreasers. They dissolve grease – and since the oil on your skin is not the same as grease in a car engine, you can imagine how much both ingredients dry and irritate your skin.
Even with all of these dangers the Cosmetic Ingredient Review panel, established by the cosmetic industry trade’s own Cosmetic Toiletry and Fragrance Association, deems sodium lauryl sulfate as safe – as long as it’s briefly used and thoroughly rinsed from the skin.
Want to learn more?
If you'd like to read about safe products I choose for my family, check out my post, "Disclosing the personal care products I use."
Personal care product giveaway
Would you like to try some personal care products that contain absolutely no sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate? Stacey Ogden’s Homemade is generously providing an Accidentally Green giveaway to one entrant: 
  • Face and Body Wash
  • Dry Skin Cream and Lip Balm
  • All-In-One mini spray
  • Vanilla Lavender Body Mist/Air Freshener/Linen Spray
To enter, you must follow Accidentally Green through Google Friend Connect. Please leave a comment telling me that you're a follower.
For additional entries, please leave separate comments if you:
  • Are a fan of Accidentally Green on Facebook.
  • Follow Accidentally Green on Twitter.
  • Are a fan of Stacey Ogden's Homemade on Facebook.
  • Share this giveaway on Facebook. (One entry per day.)
  • Share this giveaway on Twitter. (One entry per day.)
The entry deadline is 8 p.m. (EST) on Sunday, May 15, and the winner will be announced on Monday, May 16.

Find out how to make healthy choices that honor God and happen to help the environment at http://www.accidentallygreen.com.

My Accidentally Green journey began five years ago when I learned about sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate ... they were the first ingredients that made me realize there are a lot of hidden dangers in the products we use each day.  

Both sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate are considered surfactants and help products lather, bubble and foam with suds.
When sodium lauryl sulfate is ethoxylated (an industrial process that makes the compound less abrasive and foam more) it’s changed to sodium laureth sulfate. Often, the carcinogen 1,4-dioxane is used in ethoxylation.
Sodium laureth sulfate tends to be less irritating than sodium lauryl sulfate – but it’s easily absorbed into a person’s body and mimics estrogen. (As discussed before, this can increase a breast cancer risk, as well affect fertility and accelerate puberty.) Both ingredients are organic compounds of sulfuric acid and denature, or change, the structure of proteins – and that can mean damage to your skin.

The big problem with both ingredients is that they irritate eyes and skin and cause hair loss, rashes, swelling, dandruff and allergic reactions. Sodium lauryl sulfate (an anionic surfactant) is known to irritate and damage eyes. To mask the irritation, manufacturers often include other ingredients (nonionic detergents like cocamide MEA and DEA or lauramide MEA and DEA) that act as an anesthetic on eyeballs. It’s a pretty deceptive way to make harsh shampoos seem gentle enough for eyes.
If you’ve checked out the ingredients in most personal care products, you’ve noticed sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate. They’re in many shampoos, soaps, toothpastes and detergents. They’re so common because the ingredients are cheap for manufacturers. Unfortunately, they’re also very powerful – in fact, they’re potent enough to be included in car wash soaps, garage floor cleaners, and car engine degreasers. They dissolve grease – and since the oil on your skin is not the same as grease in a car engine, you can imagine how much both ingredients dry and irritate your skin.
Even with all of these dangers the Cosmetic Ingredient Review panel, established by the cosmetic industry trade’s own Cosmetic Toiletry and Fragrance Association, deems sodium lauryl sulfate as safe – as long as it’s briefly used and thoroughly rinsed from the skin.

Personal care product giveaway
Would you like to try some personal care products that contain absolutely no sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate? Stacey Ogden’s Homemade is generously providing an Accidentally Green giveaway to one entrant: 
  • Face and Body Wash
  • Dry Skin Cream and Lip Balm
  • All-In-One mini spray
  • Vanilla Lavender Body Mist/Air Freshener/Linen Spray
To enter, you must follow Accidentally Green through Google Friend Connect. Please leave a comment telling me that you're a follower.
For additional entries, please leave separate comments if you:
  • Are a fan of Accidentally Green on Facebook.
  • Follow Accidentally Green on Twitter.
  • Are a fan of Stacey Ogden's Homemade on Facebook.
  • Share this giveaway on Facebook. (One entry per day.)
  • Share this giveaway on Twitter. (One entry per day.)
The entry deadline is 8 p.m. (EST) on Sunday, May 15, and the winner will be announced on Monday, May 16.

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