I'm so confused

A few months ago, while very pregnant, Anthony was at WholeFoods grocery shopping. Also on his "grocery list" was a request from me for shaving cream. Being WholeFoods, he couldn't find my usual $1.99 foam and instead bought some of this stuff. I loved it and I felt good that it wasn't an aerosol can and made with "an organic blend of aloe vera, green tea and calendula." It also felt great, smelled good, and worked really well. That bottle lasted me forever and I just recently purchased my second bottle - again feeling quite proud of myself for not contributing to landfills with extra plastic bottles, etc. and for continuing with a healthy trend.

One day I was reading the ingredient list on my happy and healthy shave foam and came across "Sodium lauryl sulfoacetate." I immediately thought, "SHIT! They've snuck in some of that stuff that's bad for you and are still calling it 'all natural'!"

Rewind a year or two to a visit with my general practitioner to discuss the causes of my eczema. She rattled off a list of possible food allergens and something called sodium lauryl sulfate. She even wrote it down for me. According to her, a patient of hers discovered that at the root of all her joint aches, skin issues, and general fatigue was an allergy to SLS. Perhaps I had a sensitivity to this small-moloculed ingredient that can cause skin irritation because it can penetrate the skin that is in, literally, everything that we think should have a lather, for example toothpaste, shampoo, shaving cream, and cleansers. Well, true to my "do nothing" nature, I did nothing with this information a few years ago other than notice that it was in a lot of the things I use.

Since I'm now responsible for another little body who cannot make decisions for himself, I'm becoming much more aware of the composition of things. Like I first posted, this awareness is trickling down throughout my life and causing me to own my decisions. I have a lot of power whenever I go to the store. My decisions can change the world and I'm relieved to have discovered that there is a difference between sodium lauryl sulfoacetate and sodium lauryl sulfate. The former is a larger molecule and thought to be safer and more gentle. The latter is the one that everyone is a little suspect about. They've discovered that it can cause irritations with long-term exposure (shampoos don't count because they're thoroughly rinsed out).

It should be recognized that shampoos represent such brief, discontinuous use products that are thoroughly rinsed, thus clearly minimizing the risk from sodium lauryl sulfate. It should also be recognized that many people shampoo daily, and we really do not know whether a lot of little exposures to sodium lauryl sulfate are dangerous or not.

Given the lack of adequate research and suggestive evidence, however, we believe it might be wise for health-conscious consumers to seek products without sodium lauryl sulfate, especially with regard to young children. Indeed, consumers have the power to choose safe and perhaps even better products without sodium lauryl sulfate.

This may be a very wise choice for another reason. We have found very often the presence of sodium lauryl sulfate in a shampoo formulation is a "marker" for the use of other undesirable ingredients, including formaldehyde-containing preservatives (e.g., imidazolidinyl urea); possible cancer-causing wetting agents (e.g., cocamide DEA); and nitrosamine-forming agents (e.g., triethanolamine). Also, it should be mentioned that in Germany, where there is a concerted effort underway now to label cosmetics and personal care products as certified natural, formulations containing sodium lauryl sulfate, ammonium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate cannot be so certified, reports Michael Wrightson, president of Logona Kosmetik. -Jason Cosmetics
The moral of this story is that I need to keep my eyes peeled. Just because it's organic or all natural, or whatever, doesn't mean that there might not be things added that could be making me feel wonky or triggering allergic reactions. I truly believe that I have an allergy to something out there, it's just not obvious to me. It's probably a combination of things that I'm doing and I'm finally starting the investigation. Hollis has eczema on his tummy and while I know this is common, since I have eczema I don't think his is a temporary case. I'm somehow consuming something that's getting into my breast milk and I can't stand to see his little red, patchy belly.

It's so frustrating all this "Do this, but not that," "Eat this, but not that," blah, blah, blah. I want to do what is right and not succumb to ignorance because it's easier. No shit it's an "inconvenient truth." I keep asking myself "Since when did convenience become the benchmark of our existence??" It's rhetorical, of course. I know when, how and why we are the way we are. I just want to try to be different and better, and most importantly, kinder to the universe and my own body. Lord knows I've abused them both in the past, particularly my poor old body.

1 comment:

  1. I am also on a mission to make my body and world a better place. Here is a cool site to suck you in for a while. Love you!