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Is Your Toothpaste and Shampoo Safe to Use?


Sadly, just about everything we go to use will have been contaminated with unwanted chemicals.  And toothpastes and shampoos are no exception...

There are two such unwanted ingredients commonly found in both toothpastes and shampoos.

And here is more information about these two - sodium lauryl sulfate and parabens.

What Is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate?

Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is an ingredient that helps bind together any oil and water molecules while also acting as an emulsifier or thickener.  It can also be known as sodium dodecyl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate.  It is found in many skin care and household products.  While it can be derived from natural sources, such as coconut and palm kernel oil, it is also manufactured in a lab synthetically.  It is cheap to produce and works well to create those products that foam, lather and bubble such as shampoos.  It is also often used as an ingredient in toothpastes.

There is a downside in applying products containing SLS to your skin and that is they can cause irritation and be allergenic. They can remove protective oils from the surface of the skin, leaving it susceptible to dryness, inflammation and short-term damage.

In addition, SLS is often used in combination with other harmful ingredients including perfumes, paragons and synthetic additives.  Those who are sensitive to SLS will often develop side effects including:

  • skin dryness
  • redness
  • itchiness
  • peeling and scaling
  • sore or swollen skin

If you have sensitive skin, always read ingredient labels carefully, and opt for natural skin care products as much as possible, including those that are homemade - or store-bought but labeled hypoallergenic and organic.  Safe and natural beauty products can be found here.

Parabens are another ingredient to try and avoid

The main concerns regarding the use of the synthetic chemicals known as parabens is that they may disrupt hormone levels in the body, making them potential endocrine disruptors and meaning they can mimic the effects of reproductive hormones (like estrogen) and therefore change how the body produces its own hormones.

Parabens are found in a variety of personal care products that people use every day including toothpastes as well as shampoos and conditioners.

Based on the latest research, some experts speculate that parabens may contribute to fertility and reproductive problems with the additional concern that they could be harmful during pregnancy, possibly making their way into the bloodstream and affecting the fetus and birth outcomes.

What are the ingredients in modern toothpastes?

Below are some of the questionable ingredients often found in commercial toothpastes:

  • Artificial food dyes.
  • Artificial flavorings. 
  • Fluoride.
  • Glycerin.  Although is is a natural food by product, it may interfere with tooth mineralization. 
  • Hydrogen Peroxide. 
  • Propylene glycol.
  • Saccharin and other artificial sweeteners.
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate.  Described in detail earlier in this post.
  • Titanium dioxide. This white powder is used to make toothpaste bright white and has been linked with poor gut health.
  • Triclosan.

What are the ingredients in modern shampoos?

These are more undesirable ingredients to be avoided...

  • Sulfates which are the chemicals used as cleansing agents with the most common being sodium lauryl sulfate described in detail earlier in this post.  Sulfates may increase skin sensitivity while worsening existing conditions such as rosacea and eczema.  In addition, sulfates can strip hair of natural oils and cause dryness while further damaging the hair by disrupting natural sebum production.
  • Formaldehyde.  As well as being a known human carcinogen, this chemical compound can make eczema worse.
  • Parabens as described earlier in this post.
  • Hexachlorophene.  This antiseptic agent can cause eye and skin irritation and, if swallowed, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea.  Other side effects may include skin redness, dryness, scaling, skin swelling, and sensitivity to light.
  • Phthalates.  This group of chemicals (used as a binding agent in shampoo) can also come with a long list of side effects.

There is some good news!

Fortunately, there are many natural and safe alternatives out there that you can use in place of commercial toothpastes and shampoos.  Look for these online or from your local health store - and always check the ingredients before buying and using.

For example, natural shampoos in a bar have become very popular.

And if you prefer not to use a commercial conditioner after washing your hair, then consider our own Simply Hair Oil which is 100% natural, safe and gentle. 

You can massage a few drops into the hair before bedtime to allow the Hair Oil to do its work overnight before shampooing the next morning or instead, and after washing your hair, apply a small amount to the palm of your hand. Then with your fingers, work the oil evenly throughout damp or dry hair. Once you are done styling, you can apply more to intensify shine and to eliminate any frizz. 

How to make your own coconut oil toothpaste

You will need:

  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons baking soda
  • 15 to 30 drops of peppermint essential oil

Melt coconut oil and blend with other ingredients. Pour into a glass jar and let cool. Then use as you would use normal tooth paste – preferably with an electric tooth brush for optimum cleaning.




What is sodium lauryl sulfate and is it safe to use? - Faculty of Medicine - University of Queensland (uq.edu.au)

What Are Parabens, and Why Don’t They Belong in Cosmetics? | Environmental Working Group (ewg.org)