Monday, 28 September 2009

Sodium Laurel Sulphate & Parabens - Cons

I think it's probably well known and safe to say that by now that sodium laurel sulphates and the 5 main parabens that saturate the skin, hair and body care products, are potentially damaging for the skin and immune system. Many people with allergies e.g asthma, eczema, probably know this the most from personal experience, trying different products with the same result - skin irritation.

Below is a little information on why we should choose natural, unpreserved products e.g Nude or Ren skincare ranges from the few select brands in the market. Little more expensive but lasts longer with better long term effects.

Sodium Laurel Sulphates

What exactly are Sodium Laureth Sulphate, Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, Ammonium Lareth Sulphate and Myreth Sulphate?

Sulphates are generally used in all foaming detergents i.e shampoos, bath foam, shower gels, toothpaste, etc and although they are deemed harmless, they do in fact tend to dry the hair or skin by stripping it of its natural protective sebum and in the process irritating the skin/scalp especially in sensitive or allergy prone skin.

There are alternatives in the market which will work just effectively if not better as they are synergistic with the skin unlike the products containing sulphates.The GeeZone philosophy is, why use anything that may potential damage your largest protective organ - the skin - when there are many product ranges you can use that work so much better with the natural working of the skin. Ren, U.N.T & Nude for example.

(Enquire at GeeZone - /

The other side of the story!


Sulfates are mineral salts containing sulfur. Sulfate salts are found in some Wisconsins oils. The decay of plants, animals, and some industrial processes produce these salts. Mines, tanneries, steel mills, pulp mills, and textile plants also release sulfates into the environment.

Understanding the difference between sulphates and sulphates: Sulphites are different sulfur-containing chemicals used as food preservatives. Sulphites are not the same as sulfates. Some people, especially asthmatics, are sensitive to sulfphites and can experience severe allergic reactions. Since 1987, food containing more than 10 parts per million (ppm) sulphites and drugs containing sulfphites must be labeled.

Industrial waste water, household waste water, run off from a hazardous waste site or naturally decaying material can put sulfates into waterways rivers, lakes and streams. Wastes that contain sulfates seep through soil and contaminate groundwater.


Drinking/Eating: Most drinking water supplies contain traces of sulfates. One American national survey found that sulfates in drinking water supplies range from less than 1 ppm to over 700 ppm. The average level in the survey was 46 ppm.

Sulfate levels in ground water generally range from 15 to 60 ppm. Sulfates are naturally present, at safe levels, in many foods.

Breathing: Air may contain sulfates in areas of heavy industry. Many sulfate salts can react in air to form dilute acid, which can irritate eyes. People who live near such industrial areas may notice irritating levels of sulfates in air.

Touching: Sulfates do not absorb through skin enough to cause health problems.


Water: The 'secondary' standard for sulfates in drinking water is set at 250 ppm. This is called a secondary standard because it’s based on taste rather than health effects. Most people can taste or smell sulfates in their water at 300 ppm or higher. Some sensitive people can taste the salts at levels as low as 200 ppm.

Air: There are limits on the amount of sulfur dioxide and sulfuric acid that can be released by industries. There is no air quality standards for sulfates.


The following symptoms can appear a short time after someone drinks water that has over 500 ppm of sulfates:

* diarrhea, intestinal pain (especially in babies)

* dehydration as a result of diarrhea

* slight decrease in normal stomach acidity

Breathing sulfates can cause lung irritation. No long-term human health effects are expected from exposure to sulfates. In animal studies, sulfates did not appear to cause cancer or birth defects.

In general, chemicals affect the same organ systems in all people who are exposed. However, the seriousness of the effects may vary from person to person.

A person's reaction depends on several things, including individual health, heredity, age, previous exposure to chemicals including medicines, and personal habits such as smoking or drinking.

It’s also important to consider the length of exposure to the chemical; the amount of chemical exposure; and whether the chemical was inhaled, touched, or eaten.

Seek medical advice if you have any symptoms that you think may be related to chemical exposure.

(PPH4608 Revised 3/2000)

This fact sheet summarizes information about this chemical and is not a complete listing of all possible effects. It does not refer to work exposure or emergency situations.

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What are Parabens and why should you avoid them.

What are Parabens?

See 09/06/04 for more info.

May be listed as Methylparaben, proplyparaben, isopropylparaben, isobutylparaben, butylparaben, sodium butylparaben.

Parabens are the most widely used preservatives in cosmetic products. Chemically, parabens are esters of p-hydroxybenzoic acid. The most common parabens used in cosmetic products are methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben.Typically, more than one paraben is used in a product, and they are often used in combination with other types of preservatives to provide preservation against a broad range of micro organisms. The use of mixtures of parabens allows the use of lower levels while increasing preservative activity.

You may have heard about how you should avoid parabens in the products you buy, but you might be wondering why you should do so.

First, let’s look at where you might find parabens and what products they are normally in. Parabens can be found in shampoos, commercial moisturizers, shaving gels, cleansing gels, personal lubricants, topical pharmaceuticals and toothpaste. They are also used as food additives in some products. Basically, a huge percentage of the products you buy for everyday use contain some form of paraben, so it can be difficult to find products that do not use them.

There have been studies on both sides of the argument … parabens are bad and parabens are ok. But since there have been studies that say that it is not healthy, if you have sensitive skin or prone to allergies it maybe wise to take the precautionary route and not use products containing them.

What parabens could be doing to your body.

For starters, Parabens can mimic the hormone estrogen, which is known to play a role in the development of breast cancers. Do you really want to take the chance that they might do so? In the July 2002 issue of the Archives of Toxicology, Dr. S. Oishi of the Department of Toxicology, Tokyo Metropolitan Research Laboratory of Public Health reported that exposure of newborn male mammals to butylparaben “adversely affects the secretion of testosterone and the function of the male reproductive system.”

There are a lot of other reports available all over the internet, but most of them are all related to reproductive health in some way or another.

The jury is still out on how and why parabens might affect development and growth of both babies and adults. There is no harm being careful with this kind of stuff … remember, things that were deemed safe in the past then came back to bite us all when we were told that they actually caused all sorts of diseases. There are safe alternatives available such as the product line from Ren or Nude for example (ask at GeeZone for product line in stock).

FDA has received a number of inquiries on the safety of parabens as used in cosmetics. The following information is intended to answer questions on this subject.

Why are preservatives used in cosmetics?

Preservatives may be used in cosmetics to protect them against microbial growth, both to protect consumers and to maintain product integrity.

What kinds of products contain parabens?

They are used in a wide variety of cosmetics, as well as foods and drugs. Cosmetics that may contain parabens include makeup, moisturizers, hair care products, and shaving products, among others. Most major brands of deodorants and antiperspirants do not currently contain parabens.

Cosmetics sold on a retail basis to consumers are required by law to declare ingredients on the label. This is important information for consumers who want to determine whether a product contains an ingredient they wish to avoid. Parabens are usually easy to identify by name, such as methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, or benzylparaben.

Does FDA regulate the use of preservatives in cosmetics?

The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) does not authorize FDA to approve cosmetic ingredients, with the exception of color additives that are not coal-tar hair dyes. In general, cosmetic manufacturers may use any ingredient they choose, except for a few ingredients that are prohibited by regulation. However, it is against the law to market a cosmetic in interstate commerce if it is adulterated. Under the FD&C Act, a cosmetic is adulterated if, among other reasons, it bears or contains any poisonous or deleterious substance which may render it injurious under the labeled conditions of use, or under customary or usual conditions of use. For more on this subject, see FDA Authority Over Cosmetics and Key Legal Concepts: 'Interstate Commerce', 'Adulterated' and 'Misbranded'.

Are there health risks associated with the use of parabens in cosmetics?

The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) reviewed the safety of methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben in 1984 and concluded they were safe for use in cosmetic products at levels up to 25%. Typically parabens are used at levels ranging from 0.01 to 0.3%.

On November 14, 2003, the CIR began the process to reopen the safety assessments of methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben in order to offer interested parties an opportunity to submit new data for consideration.In September 2005, the CIR decided to re-open the safety assessment for parabens to request exposure estimates and a risk assessment for cosmetic uses.In December 2005, after considering the margins of safety for exposure to women and infants, the Panel determined that there was no need to change its original conclusion that parabens are safe as used in cosmetics. (The CIR is an industry-sponsored organization that reviews cosmetic ingredient safety and publishes its results in open, peer-reviewed literature. FDA participates in the CIR in a non-voting capacity.)

A study published in 2004 (Darbre, in the Journal of Applied Toxicology) detected parabens in breast tumors.The study also discussed this information in the context of the weak estrogen-like properties of parabens and the influence of estrogen on breast cancer. However, the study left several questions unanswered. For example, the study did not show that parabens cause cancer, or that they are harmful in anyway, and the study did not look at possible paraben levels in normal tissue.

FDA is aware that estrogenic activity in the body is associated with certain forms of breast cancer. Although parabens can act similarly to estrogen, they have been shown to have much less estrogenic activity than the body’s naturally occurring estrogen. For example, a 1998 study (Routledge et al., in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology) found that the most potent paraben tested in the study, butylparaben, showed from 10,000-to 100,000-fold less activity than naturally occurring estradiol (a form of estrogen). Further, parabens are used at very low levels in cosmetics. In are view of the estrogenic activity of parabens, (Golden et al., in Critical Reviews in Toxicology, 2005) the author concluded that based on maximum daily exposure estimates, it was implausible that parabens could increase the risk associated with exposure to estrogenic chemicals.

FDA believes that at the present time there is no reason for consumers to be concerned about the use of cosmetics containing parabens.

However, the agency will continue to evaluate new data in this area. If FDA determines that a health hazard exists, the agency will advise the industry and the public, and will consider its legal options under the authority of the FD & C Act in protecting the health and welfare of consumers.

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