Scalp problems such as itching and flaking affect millions of people across the world. They are sometimes viewed as a bit embarrassing but most of us will experience them to some degree every now and again. It is only when the problem continues or becomes unbearable that we are driven to seek help.
If you have an itchy or flaky scalp, one of the simplest things you can try is washing your hair with an SLS-free shampoo. SLS-free shampoo does not contain the chemical Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, which is a foaming agent used by many of the big brands. In fact, the next time you are in your local supermarket, take a look at the ingredients listed on the shampoo bottles. You’ll be surprised at how many have SLS in them.
Why is SLS used in shampoos?
There are two main reasons that SLS is such a popular ingredient in shampoos. Firstly, it is cheap as it is produced synthetically, making it ideal for low-cost brands. Secondly, it is a very effective foaming agent; that is to say it creates lots of foam when mixed with water. In addition, as well as making shampoos foam, SLS also helps them to cleanse the hair of oil and dirt.
As can be seen here, there are a number of good reasons why so many manufacturers choose to use SLS, so why would you want an SLS-free shampoo?
What else can SLS do?
SLS is a pretty powerful chemical which has several functions in shampoos. Unfortunately, not all of its effects are good, which is why it is sometimes mentioned in relation to scalp problems.
SLS is a known to be irritating to the skin and is even used as a standard skin irritant in clinical studies! It is not surprising, therefore, that it can cause scalp problems when frequently applied as part of a shampoo. It is recognised as being one of the most irritating chemicals of its kind which are used in shampoos.
Its irritating effects can create an itchy, flaky scalp in some people and manufacturers are slowly realising that SLS in shampoos is affecting their customers in this way. There is a gradual move to using less irritating chemicals in its place but SLS-free shampoos are still not that commonplace on supermarket shelves.
SLS has also been found to have some other undesirable effects. One such effect is its ability to penetrate the cornea of the eye, even if absorbed through the skin, where it can accumulate and then be released slowly. This is particularly a concern for babies and children, where the effects are greater.
Choosing an SLS free shampoo
There are plenty of companies offering natural body care which produce SLS free shampoo and you may well find that switching to one of these products can help the condition of your scalp. Instead of SLS, much less irritating foaming agents can be used so that the shampoo remains effective but is kinder on the scalp and skin.