If you can read and understand what all the ingredients are in your shampoo and conditioner bottles, congratulations! You are one of a very small percentage of people who can do this. To the rest of us, we seem to have blind faith that manufacturers know what they are doing. But what are they really? Below is an overview of some of the most common ingredients that you will see on these labels.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate:
This substance is derived from coconut alcohols. It is a surfactant that is anything that allows oil to mix with water that has a slight negative charge. It reduces the surface tension between it and water and is used in shampoos for normal to oily and oily hair. Other surfactants are; ammonium lauryl sulfate, ammonium lauryl sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate, hydrolyzed coconut potassium collagen and disodium lauryl sulfosuccinate.
This substance is derived from petroleum and is a drying agent. Isopropyl alcohol should not be left on the scalp for too long, as it can start to peel off the top layer of skin. This can leave the scalp susceptible to infection.
Propylene glycol distearate:
It is crystallized stearic acid and ethylene glycol that gives your shampoo that mother-of-pearl look and feel. It is a common thickening agent in hair dyes and shampoos and has moisturizing effects on the hair and scalp.
This is a substance that is a chelating agent that gives shampoo products a stable look and feel. This product, like some of the others, should not be left on the scalp for long as it has the ability to penetrate deep into the skin, allowing more chemicals to reach the bloodstream.
Cetyl or cetyl alcohol is made from coconut oil and is used as an emulsifier. This is what makes your hair feel like velvet. Where glycol distearate makes shampoo look creamy and pearly, cetearyl alcohol makes hair feel silky smooth.
These ingredients do several things. They act as a detergent to clean dirt, oil, and hair debris, it also provides hair conditioning and is the foaming agent that makes us feel like we are really cleansing our hair and scalp. They can make your hair feel velvety, absorb oils, or make dry hair feel damp.
These are all chemicals that can be absorbed into the skin and hair. Many of the chemicals in shampoo products are petroleum or alcohol based, some of which are the same products that are used to make antifreeze or garage floor cleaners, to name a few.
The ugly one:
There may be health risks associated with all of the above chemicals. All have the potential to be absorbed into the scalp and even into the bloodstream, where they can be deposited in important organs such as the brain, eyes, heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver, where they can linger for quite some time causing damage. . It should be especially noted that children of all ages avoid getting these chemicals into their eyes as they can cause potential permanent damage. Skin irritation or allergic reactions can occur with prolonged use and in some cases (as with disodium EDTA) they can have carcinogenic effects on the body.
More people are becoming health conscious about processed foods and avoiding them, but what about all these chemicals? They are also processed and although they may come from nature, the processing changes the chemical structure to the point where the body does not recognize what it is.
If you decide to use these ingredients, all I can suggest is that you wash and rinse quickly to avoid absorption as much as possible. Better yet, find chemical-free cleansing shampoos and conditioners and avoid possible contamination altogether.