Beauty > Beautiful hair > Cancer in Your Shampoo?
Cancer in Your Shampoo?
You may be amazed to discover that some of the common ingredients found in everyday personal care products are known to be potential carcinogens. Read the warning labels!
It has been a widely held belief that our skin protects us, like a barrier, against potentially harmful chemicals that we would not ordinarily eat or drink. At the same time, medical science has found a much more efficient delivery system for pharmaceutical products in "the patch," which is now used for everything from weight loss to smoking cessation to insulin.
Obviously, the skin is not as "solid" as we had imagined.
So we read the list of ingredients on the shampoo label, and we find things like propylene glycol, and sodium laurel (or laureth) sulfate. In the chemical world, these are industrial antifreeze and engine degreaser. On top of our skin, they are irritants. Inside our bodies, they are free radicals and cellular mutagens.
Sodium laurel sulfate is used because it is cheap, it creates mountains of foamy suds, and when salt is added it thickens up into that "rich" consistency we have been taught to expect and even admire. However, sodium laurel sulfate has been documented (see the Wall Street Journal, 11-1-88) to cause improper eye development in children, and cataracts in all ages; penetration into the brain, heart, and liver; nitrate absorption equal to eating an entire pound of bacon! (Nitrates are known carcinogens.) Yet, almost 20 years later, this ingredient is still found in nearly every cleansing product on the market.
By the way, the salt (yes, regular table salt) that is added to thicken it up is extremely drying to the skin.
SLS stays in the body and brain for five days. So if you wash your hair more often than once a week, you have a constant level of this chemical in your eyes, brain, organs, body, at all times. SLS is found in baby shampoos and body wash and toothpaste, including many so-called "natural" brands. Read the labels for yourself!
Propylene glycol is found in many beauty creams, cleansers, and makeup, as well as children's products, such as baby wipes. A clinical review published in 1991 by the America Academy of Dermatologists, Inc., showed that propylene glycol has been found to cause contact dermatitis (skin irritation), kidney damage, and liver abnormalities; it inhibits skin cell growth and damages cell membranes.
Propylene glycol is used because it is cheap and available. Its purpose in personal care products is to retain moisture content: for example, it keeps shaving cream from drying out. It works by drawing moisture to itself, either from the surrounding air (in high humidity) or, once applied to the body, from the lower layers of skin. So although it gives a surface feel of moistness, it is in reality drying the skin from the inside out.
Propylene glycol is used in the production of varnishes; the Material Safety Data Sheet states that through skin contact it causes liver and kidney damage. Is it in your body lotion? Read the labels!
Other ingredients of concern include coal tar, a known carcinogen used in shampoos to prevent scalp itching; PEG and nitrosamines which are both easily absorbed and are known carcinogens; PAH in petrolatum (petroleum jelly) which is a probable carcinogen; ethylene oxide which is usually found with PEG and is a probable carcinogen.
There are actually over 10,500 ingredients available for use in cosmetics and personal care products, and nearly 90% of them have NOT been evaluated for safety by the FDA or other governmental groups. Independent research has uncovered substantial data in the area of harmful ingredients and toxins, and some of the research goes back to the Cold War when Russia was looking for a way to "subdue" America for an easy takeover (the chemical to be used was fluoride).
So, what is a person to do? As the public is growing in awareness of the problem, thanks to more and more news articles (such as the June 2005 issue of Vegetarian Times mention of MIT (linked to nerve damage in lab tests) in some hair care products), a few health conscious companies are going to become very well known in the near future. Some of the companies specialize in a certain few products, mostly cosmetics and skin care, but only one has the broad range including skin care, cosmetics, dental, hair, household, pets, plants, as well as nutritional supplements of all types: antioxidants, Noni, trace minerals, weight loss, muscle building, anti-aging, and more.