Do you like washing your hair? Yes, that’s a serious question. What exactly do you love about cleaning your hair? Is it the way your shampoo suds up, the way it smells or the way your head feels when you step out of the shower?
Believe it or not, all of those things you’ve probably become accustomed to loving about your shampoo are caused by chemicals and substances that do more to hurt you than they do to clean you. Read on to discover the underlying dangers of three different chemicals that are waiting in your shampoo bottle to ambush your head.
Super Sodium Bro’s
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate is our first concern and also the most commonly known threat (though few people know why it is dangerous at all). This first chemical is basically a detergent and it has a brother known as Sodium Laureth Sulphate (which is supposed to be less dangerous but isn’t very). Shampoos often come carrying one or the other but many other products contain this stuff. Anything from toothpaste to dish soap can contain either of the “super sodium bro’s” to help create that lathering foam we all love to get in our eyes in the shower.
Chemically speaking, we call these substances surfactants and there are actually over 150 different names by which they are known. The main reason you should run from these in fear is the fact that they are often contaminated with dioxane (another lovely compound that is KNOWN to cause cancer).
SLES (Sodium Laureth Sulfate) is considered to be slightly (ever so slightly) less irritating than its brother; however, it cannot be metabolized at all by your liver which leads to its effects lasting a hell of a lot longer. So don’t be fooled by the “safer than the other” sales pitch!
Shampoos in general are often reported to the FDA (they are some of the most commonly reported products in the world actually) for having caused severe eye or scalp irritation, tangled and split hairs as well as more serious effects like swelling of the hands face or arms (or for some very unlucky people, all of the above at once). All of these problems are caused primarily by the Super Sodium Bro’s.
One of the most worrying things this garbage can do occurs once it has been absorbed into your system, at which point it becomes a mirror image of Estrogen. This has quite a large number of implications ranging from potential influence in the dropping male fertility rate and breast cancer.
The American College of Toxicology showed that concentrations of 0.5% of these chemicals can cause irritation in 1983. Many shampoos have concentrations of about 30% and in extreme cases, even more. These shampoos are capable of causing skin CORROSION and severe irritation. As far as we can tell, most of us aren’t looking for soaps to corrode our own skin.
With charming capabilities like these, everyone’s main question seems to be “why on God’s green Earth are they using this crap?!”
The answer is pretty much what you’d expect; it’s so danged cheap!
This is the exact same stuff that bob at your local mechanic’s shop is using to degrease your truck’s engine. Why shouldn’t we use it to degrease our hair and skin too?
This next chemical is much less commonly known but not much less dangerous than the super sodium bro’s. It most commonly goes by the name of Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate and is definitely not the kind of thing you should be ok with dousing your head with (unless you also enjoy lathering up with lighter fluid).
As far as scientific opinions go, a study conducted on rats and rabbits shows it to be “primarily an irritant in experimental animals. It causes severe irritation and corneal injury in the rabbit eye and is probably irritating to the skin because of the alkaline nature of the chemical”
The train doesn’t stop with the fairly cruel animal experimentation though (poor wittle rabbitz); humans were also subjected to this kind of testing which brought about the following consensus: “Exposure to tetrasodium pyrophosphate causes irritation in humans. It is an alkaline chemical and acute exposures have resulted in mild to moderate irritation of the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and respiratory passages”
With poetic descriptions like that, Tetra-what-the-flip-ever is hard not to love.
Propylene Glycol and his hidden power
Propylene Glycol is our last perpetrator. He hides behind a mask and pretends to accomplish nothing more than a single highly useful task, but don’t go taking this guy lightly. His main use is to help keep the mixture he’s in from melting in heat or freezing in cold. Unfortunately, he has a hidden agenda as well that is far less useful to our bodies.
His hidden side-effect is the way in which he changes the typical structure of your skin. When this happens, chemicals can penetrate your skin much further than usual and thereby reach your bloodstream. This essentially means that EVERYTHING else in your shampoo can immediately make its merry little way into your body’s blood stream when this chemical kicks in and unless you’re planning on hosting an internal chemical party every time you lather up your hair, that’s definitely NOT a good thing.
Altogether, these dangerous chemicals are enough to make most commercial bottles of shampoo you use a very bad idea. Opting for other more “natural” choices in shampoo could be a good tactic to adopt. Nothing good can come from prolonged use of chemicals that are known to cause cancer and are used to degrease engines on ANY part of your body. If you really aren’t concerned with the inherent danger of these substances then you might as well clean yourself in gasoline.