Most believe that if a product is sold in store – it should be safe. But what if your shampoo causes your eczema instead?
Unfortunately, with products, there are minimal warnings and very little regulations, especially for hair care products.
In some countries such as Australia, eight out of ten shampoos sold, are ‘sulfate’ cleaners. The most common of these, is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). SLS is used in industrial products such as car wash soap, engine degreasers, floor cleaners – and also in soaps and shampoos. The purpose of them is to create “foam” when you use it. Researchers believe that SLS may be responsible for a dry, itchy scalp, dandruff and hair loss due to damage and irritation of the hair follicle.
Researchers do not recommend taking products containing SLS because it is readily absorbed by the skin, can be hard on the liver, and can irritate the skin.
Another popular alternative to SLS is Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) and Sodium Coco Sulfate. Although both alternatives have undergone a chemical process to make them less irritant, they are both still potentially harmful to the hair and skin. These alternatives are both salt compounds that will attract moisture, possibly causing your hair to become more dry with use. This harshness can affect people with skin problems such as eczema or psoriasis.
Is SLS anything to worry about in baby products?
SLS is rarely used in baby products. Baby products often use a closely related but milder detergent instead called sodium laureth sulphate (SLES), which should still be avoided.
Eczema and Psoriasis sufferers can be most at risk from these harmful sulfates. In addition, it would be wiser for infants, chemotherapy patients, the elderly and allergy prone people to also avoid them.
Finding a shampoo and eczema product that is sulfate free is not always easy. Ideally, you should switch to a shampoo range that matches the skin’s natural pH and has no irritants, so that the chemicals won’t be absorbed into your body.
The amount of irritation caused by SLS increases:
- the longer it is left on the skin
- the more concentrated it is in a product
- the more often it is used
If you are trying to avoid products containing SLS, check ingredients labels for some of its other names. These include:
- sodium dodecyl sulphate
- lauryl sodium sulphate
- sodium n-dodecyl sulphate
- lauryl sulphate sodium salt
For those suffering from psoriasis and eczema of the scalp, using hair care products that are sulfate free is important.