Part 1 in our Commitment to being SLS and Paraben Free blog series
You may have noticed a new ‘commitment’ icon appear on our website this week. It’s our commitment that all our products are free from SLS and parabens. That’s in addition to our existing commitments;
- To be free from palm oil or palm oil derivatives
- To create products which are free from plastic
- To never test on animals, nor commission others to do so on our behalf
SLS* is one of the amazingly useful group of chemicals known as ‘surfactants’. They’re a family of compounds which are fantastic at ‘breaking’ oil, fat and grease into microscopic globules, which can be easily washed away. That’s fabulous for cleaning floors, windows and other surfaces. It’s also great for dispersing oil slicks (and helping to save the wildlife thus affected).
Another of SLS’s ‘super-skills’ is blowing bubbles. Well, maybe not blowing them exactly but certainly producing them. Lots of them; very cheaply. Moreover, SLS is great at emulsifying; it can make a lot of water and a little oil, look like a lot of oil and no water, in a jiffy; … and again very cheaply.
For these reasons, SLS is present many, many shampoos, body washes, toothpastes and cosmetics. SLS is a cheap and efficient way to produce lots and lots of lather or make water look like cream. Lather is something we’ve become used to in cleaning products; but not something that’s essential for the cleaning to happen!
Now let’s get it out there! SLS has been the butt of much bad press over the years. It’s been cited as a cause of cancer, blindness and irreversible skin corrosion. None of these dramatic claims are backed up by scientific evidence. As we mentioned before though, SLS is great at removing oils; so when we use it on skin, hair or our pets’ fur, it removes the oils and grease with speed and efficiency … but is that what we really want?
The skin is the largest organ in the body, with a surface area of around 2 square metres in an adult. It’s the body’s most important defence against bacteria, viruses and poisons. It helps regulate temperature and enables our sense of touch. Within the skin are around 15 million sebaceous glands, producing around 8kg of oil (sebum) a year, the main function of which is to keep the skin supple and waterproof and to inhibit bacteria and viruses.
So if our largest organ of defence is working so hard to produce so much oil, for such good reasons, why would we want to break that down and wash it down the sink with a potent surfactant like SLS? Predictably, SLS has been cited in multiple, well documented studies, as a cause of dryness and skin irritation; particularly for those who have dry skin or conditions like psoriasis and eczema.
We have worked hard at Cosy Cottage to develop a range of soaps and shampoos which produce a gentle lather all by themselves. They’re super-effective at gently bubbling and cleansing, without any SLS at all and without the horrible side effect of stripping the oil from our skin. Moreover, we don’t need SLS in our creams. They’re rich and creamy already, being coconut oil and shea butter based as opposed to water cunningly disguised as something creamy!
Please don’t take our word for it. Take a look at the reviews on our website for examples of the feedback we receive from our customers about the benefits of our SLS free soaps, shampoos and creams.
*Sodium lauryl sulphate