Parabens & Sodium Laureth/Lauryl Sulphate: To fret or not to fret?

Monday, January 5, 2015

Parabens? Sodium Laureth/Lauryl Sulphate (SLS)? Detergent? You might notice them on the ingredients of your personal care products – if you even bother checking, that is. But do you really know what they are? Honestly, up until last year, I didn’t even bother checking the ingredients of the products I bought. But then, while I was reading articles about skin and hair care products, I stumbled upon these articles on Los Angeles Times and Huffington Post about parabens and sulphates.

What are parabens really? Paraben are preservatives which are commonly used in products such as pharmaceutical, cosmetics and personal care. They are used in those products for their anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties which, therefore, enable the products to have longer shelf life.

What about SLS then? SLS is a detergent and surfactant which can be found in many personal care and cleaning products. Simply put, it is what gives the shampoo and soap you used the rich lathering foam.

Many people are getting more conscious about the ingredients in the products they are using. Parabens and SLS have been getting more attention because they are said to be dangerous to the health. The hype started because they have been linked with breast cancer. However, there are apparently a debate whether or not they are really harmful. Some said they can be harmful and that we should consider replacing the products we used with those that are paraben-free and sulphate-free.

So, should we worry about them? When it comes to health, isn’t it better to prevent than to cure? Even if I want to immediately replace all the products I use, I don’t think I can do it. Why? While there are many paraben-free and sulphate-free products being sold in some countries, it is still difficult to find them here in Indonesia. It can be bought through some online shops where they are mostly not stock ready, meaning that you have to wait for 2 – 4 weeks, if not longer, for the product to get in your hands. Besides the frustratingly long waiting time, there is also the price factor. The products are usually sold twice its original price, or even more.

I am worried about the effects of parabens and sulphates on my health. However, I will probably not instantly change all of the products I’ve been using but I am going to bother checking the ingredients of the products I buy from now on, especially if they contain more than one paraben.

Other articles on the topic:

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