Could Your Personal Care Products be Harmful to Yourself and the Environment?

I’ll be the first to admit–I love trying out new beauty products. Finishing a full bottle of shampoo–even with my long locks–proves to be a challenge when companies come out with new products so quickly. Shampoo, conditioner, lotion, body wash, deodorant: there are millions of different brands and scents out there. Of course you’d want to try them all!

A few years ago I noticed that my hair felt frizzier and drier than usual, especially after washing it. After doing a little research I noticed that all of the brands of shampoo I was using contained SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate). SLS is a sufracant found in many cleaning products that creates foam. Though scientists debate about SLS’s carcinogenic properties, some people are indeed shown to have sensitivities to the compound. SLS is found in many personal care products you might use every day, including shampoo, toothpaste, and body wash. I decided then to only use hair products that do not contain SLS and have found my hair to be considerably softer to the touch.

Combing my recently washed (with SLS-free shampoo) hair

Combing my recently washed (with SLS-free shampoo) hair

Personal care products enter the aquatic environment when they are washed down the bathtub or sink. This study from New Hampshire’s Dep’t of Environmental Services states that only recently have scientists started to study the effects of PPCPs (Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products)  in our water sources and the natural environment. It is too early for us to have results of a long-term study on PPCPs and human health. However, we are already witnessing PCPPs detrimental effect on the environment. Fish sex ratios and nesting patterns are reported to have been adversely affected, as well as the health of other invertebrates.

Anything can be labeled “natural” these days, so I encourage you to do a little research to find products you feel safe using every day. The EWG has a great searchable database that I’ve mentioned before on GreenMindVegHeart. Like I have, you might also choose to eliminate SLS-heavy products when you can. It can be challenging to find products that are safe for both ourselves and the environment, but with the growing availability of brands that use fewer chemicals, we can take steps in the right direction.

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2 responses to “Could Your Personal Care Products be Harmful to Yourself and the Environment?

  1. Thank you writing this post! Such important information! I have started making all my products over a year ago with all natural organic vegan ingredients, including my shampoo and face cream. It is amazing and feels so much better than store bought stuff!! And I contribute to detoxifying the earth, one shower at a time!

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