Sunday, February 17, 2013

Ammonium Lauryl Sulphate and Skincare

Typical buzz words/ phrases used by companies at the moment include "Free from parabens" and "Free from SLS". Although you are definitely best to look for products that are free from parabens and SLS, you also need to look a little closer at the list of ingredients. The other day, I noticed a product being promoted as being free from parabens and SLS, and completely harmless, however, one of the main ingredients was Ammonium Lauryl Sulphate, or "ALS". The primary function of ALS is to dissolve grease or oil (it is a surfactant, to use the scientific term).

However, ALS comes from the same family of chemicals that Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) belongs to, and carries the same potential health risks: These include, possible genetic mutations, irritation to the skin and eyes, cancer, toxicity, neurotoxicity, ecotoxicology, endocrine disruption, cellular or biochemical alterations, and reproductive toxicity.

In 1983, a report by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review stated that SLS and ALS sulfate "appear to be safe in formulations designed for discontinuous, brief use followed by thorough rinsing from the surface of the skin. In products intended for prolonged use, concentrations should not exceed 1%.". However, this doesn't adequately address the accumulation phenomenon: the medium and long term build up of toxins in our bodies. Our bodies naturally detox themselves in a number of ways, including through the liver and kidneys. However, when we pollute it with unnatural chemicals, we run the risk that our bodies cannot cope. The accumulation can result in some of the health risks highlighted above.

Products in which ALS is frequently found include: Body washes, shampoo, face cleansers, liquid soaps, treatment for acne, hair colourant, bleaching, relaxers, shaving cream, scalp treatment, bubble bath, foot treatment, and anti ageing products. Personally, I always avoid products with ALS, and recommend that others do the same, especially the very young or old.
-- I work for an organic skincare company who make a range of genuinely safe skincare products, including an organic facial cleanser Source: