Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is the ingredient in shampoos that we recognize as the lathering agent, but it is also the deviant culprit or cause of many hair loss issues. Typically it is used because it is a cheap ingredient and we love the foamy bubbles that it creates for our hair and bodies. Mostly all shampoos out there contain SLS as the main ingredient, serving as a base to the surfactant. However, when you use a shampoo that contains SLS as their main ingredient, you are drowning your head in a harsh detergent that is considered among the most irritating surfactants associated with skin dryness and redness. Over 95 percent of all commercial shampoos on the market use this ingredient in their formula.
SLS is a potent de-greaser as it binds to the dirt and grease on both your hair and scalp. After you rinse your hair, the grime is drawn down the drain by the SLS. However, even once the SLS is rinsed, the residue from the SLS can remain on the hair and scalp. The continued exposure on the hair and scalp will certainly make the hair and scalp dry out and certain sensitivity issues could appear.
SLS is also found in detergents that are useful in cleaning garage floors and engines. As it dissolves the grease on an engine, it also dissolves vital skin oils on the skin that result in dryness. Is something that is used for industrial cleaning good for shampooing hair? How can this be safe? The true concern lies in the effects of SLS just after a follicle has shed the hair. The exposed and open follicles die when exposed to the acidic properties of SLS for long periods of time or in high doses. As part of the hair cycle, the average person sheds over a hundred hairs daily. This leaves the hair follicle open to attack by the SLS and its harmful, irritating, and drying qualities. When the hair follicle is completely dead, the hair will not grow back.
Shampoos are the most frequently reported products to the FDA. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is responsible for eye irritations, tangled split and fuzzy hair, and scalp irritations. There are also reported cases of it being responsible for the swelling of the face and arms.
Organic Color Systems has found a healthy alternative to the use of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate in their Care line. They have replaced this damaging ingredient with more naturally derived options to cleanse the hair and reduce the irritation that other surfactants (SLS) cause. These ingredients have the ability to also smooth out the hair structure increasing shine and manageability.