I must apologise for not writing for over a month while I was back in the UK – it was a hectic time in England. I’m back in Perth, Australia and ready to write again!
In April I wrote about our water filter episode and how Mike’s hand was having problems healing. He’s been back in the UK for 3 months and his hand has not healed. I had thought the problem may have been the chlorine in the water in Perth, so once he was back in Yorkshire his hand should have healed. So what now?
There is another product that we all use which is considered to cause problems to people with sensitive skin – Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS). It’s found in most shampoo, soap, body wash, toothpaste, bubble bath – anything that needs to produce a lather! It’s a cheap, effective foaming agent which when used in high concentrations is an extreme skin irritant, can produce eye problems and cause hair growth problems as it corrodes the hair follicles.
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) is also a strong and harsh detergent used in industry as a degreaser. In the same way as it dissolves the grease on car engines, sodium lauryl sulfate also dissolves the oils on your skin, which can cause a drying effect. It is also well documented that it denatures skin proteins, which causes not only irritation, but also allows environmental contaminants easier access to the lower, sensitive layers of the skin.
Which leads me question the soaps that Mike is using in the UK. In Perth we had started to use SLS-free bath soap, hand soap and shampoo, but we did have high chlorine levels in the water. Now he’s back in the UK and constantly having his hands in contact with SLS products. I read an article yesterday which mentioned that it can take 8 weeks for skin to return to normal after stopping SLS product usage.
As usual there are websites blasting SLS and its potentially terrible side effects (Natural Health Information Centre, Health Report) and websites saying its not bad at all (Queensland Health Department, Lush Cosmetics). What I’d like to know is why Lush make this comment on their website?
“We have recently begun to replace sodium lauryl sulfate with a milder surfactant, sodium coco sulfate. This new material is gentler and is kinder to the scalp but still cleans hair effectively.”
BTW – They then say elsewhere that can’t get sodium coco sulphate anymore, so they’ve gone back to SLS…
So I think the combination of SLS soaps and chlorine has been a problem to Mike’s hand healing up. As of tomorrow he’s switching to SLS-free soap and shampoo, so we’ll see what happens to his hand over the next 8 weeks…