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Chemicals to watch out for in daily life ~Part1~

In your daily life you probably don’t give too much thought that we come in contact with chemicals that may negatively affect our health. Chemicals are found in everything from shampoo and laundry detergent to cooking pans and drinking water.


Let’s stay safe and make a better informed choice when buying household products!


SLS ラウリル硫酸ナトリウム

If you look at the shampoo’s label with ingredients, usually the first one you’ll see will be sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate (SLS).


SLS work as a surfactant, trapping oil and dirt in hair so it can rinse away with water. SLS is also an effective foaming agent, it can help create a rich lather in products like body & hand wash or facial cleansers. 


In toothpaste SLS helps create the foaming action and remove food particles from teeth.


So why is it important to have a product  labeled “sulfate-free” or “SLS free”?


Originally, sulfates were developed by the laundry industry as synthetic detergents to wash your cloth. Later on they started using them in products like shampoos and body soaps because they were cheap and lathered really well   which gave people a sensation of “powerful, super cleansing” when the lather rinsed off.


However, even though they are great at cleaning  fabrics and objects, sulfates are too harsh for your hair and body. Sulfates like sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate don’t just lift away dirt and grime, they also strip away the delicate layers of natural moisturizers (created by your body’s own sebum) that protect, smooth and keep your hair and skin optimally healthy.


They can be very drying for people with curly or color-treated hair and irritating for people with skin conditions like  eczema, dermatitis or psoriasis. Sulfates  also cause hair color to fade. 


When shopping for shampoo online or in store look under “SLS free shampoo” (ラウレス硫酸ナトリウムフリーシャンプー) like this one , for example:

シャンプーを購入する際には、ラウレス硫酸ナトリウム フリーシャンプーの項目を探してみてください。

Herbanica Herbs and Lavender Shampoo

Parabens パラベン(防腐剤)

Parabens are chemical preservatives used to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria in various health and beauty products. 


Parabens come in a variety of types with different preservative qualities including butylparaben, ethylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, and isobutylparaben. 


Several studies have shown that parabens have weak estrogen-like properties that can be linked to breast cancer. These initial studies were linked to other research that detected parabens in the breast tissues of patients with breast cancer. 


Experts estimate that 85 percent of all personal care products contain parabens. Personal-care parabens—shampoos, makeup, shaving gels and more—are absorbed through the skin. 


Paraben free products use Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate (and Benzoic Acid), or Benzyl Alcohol as an alternative for preservatives.


More niche paraben alternatives include  lemongrass oil, sodium anisate, clove oil and grapefruit extract.


The reality is, it is impossible to avoid all the ingredients stated above completely, but it is always good for us to be equipped with some knowledge to make an informed decision.



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