Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Dangers of Sulfates

I want to share my story with you about how I got into making my own soap in the first place.

A few years ago, I noticed an itchy, bubbly patch on my right forefinger. It was annoying, but it went away. Then it came back, a little worse than the last time, but again, just annoying, not overly dramatic. I didn't really think much of it. Busy mom with little children, you know! :)

The cycle repeated, each time getting worse until the rashy stuff had spread to cover my entire finger and part of my hand. My finger was swollen to the point of not being able to bend well as being cracked and bleeding. The pain would wake my up during the night and at times I would lose feeling in parts of my finger.

I went to the doctor and she matter of factly told me it was Eczema and gave me a prescription for some steroid cream. At first the cream worked. Whew. I stopped using the cream (who wants to keep putting steroids on their skin?) and the eczema came back with a vengance. By then I was pregnant. Steroids + Pregnancy = umm NO!!! I tried other creams and lotions. They would work for a while and then it seemed like my body build a resistance to them and the eczema would be back again.

I started researching and stumbled across some articles on the dangers hidden in most of our soaps, lotions, shampoos, and more. These dangers were named "Sodium Laureth Sulfate" and "Sodium Lauryl Sulfate".

Apparently these two chemicals are added to our cleansing supplies to encourage foaming. They are very effective foaming agents. Unfortunately, these are also very dangerous, highly irritating chemicals which dissolve the oils on your skin and cause a drying effect. These chemicals are absorbed into the body from skin application. Eek!

I read a few testimonials from people with similar skin conditions as me who had stopped using products containing these sulfates.

Okay, great idea! Worth a try! Now what? Where was I supposed to find soaps that was sulfate free?

A little more research led me to homemade soap. I bought 3 bars from a lady who made her own soap from scratch. I mean, after all the money I had spent on meds and creams that hadn't worked, why not try this? It obviously wouldn't hurt.

When my order of homemade goat milk soap WITH NO SULFATES arrived in the mail, I used only that. Within days I saw improvement! In a few weeks my eczema was nearly gone...and shortly after that IT WAS COMPLETELY CLEARED UP! (I also applied Neutrogena Hand Cream to help with dryness...the only lotion I've found so far that my body tolerates.) I was so relieved I literally wanted to cry! No more pain! No more itching! No more throbbing! No more cracked and bleeding finger!

Okay, sorry. Got a little caught up in my excitement there! :)

I have tried sulfate soaps on occasion since then. Literally, after one use, my eczema comes back within a day or two.

This is why I make my own soap. But, I will confess, I don't make mine from scratch. The whole "lye" thing with little ones clinging to my legs...umm, yeah. I don't think so.

So I make what is called "Melt and Pour" soap. Basically, the hard and dangerous part...i.e. done. All I have to do is melt the premade base and have FUN coloring and designing my soaps!

So, that is my story! That is why I love handmade, homemade, sulfate free soap! It's so worth the extra cost! Sure, I could buy a bar for a buck at Walmart...but the pain that follows is so not worth it!

So, if you have a skin condition, why not try cutting out sulfates? If it helps, great! If not, it's still better for you!



  1. Thanks for sharing this Chelsea! I've been sulfate free for a few years now and it makes such a difference doesn't it?

    I find sulfate free shampoos/soaps very pricey here, so have started experimenting with making my own as well.

    If ever you need an all natural, cheap and luxuriously gorgeous moisturiser you should try pure unrefined shea makes your skin so strong and is mega healing!!

    Great post...don't you think it's scary that a doctor automatically prescribes steroids? I know I do!!

    Peace x

    1. Hi Karen! Thank you for your reply. I am so sorry it took me so long to answer back. This month has been crazy hectic as I was struggling to come up with a new name for my Etsy shop. Blogging took back seat for a while. *blush*

      Thanks for the tip about shea butter! I will keep that in mind!

      Oh, and yes...I think it is very scary that doctors immediately prescribe steroids. It doesn't exactly inspire trust!

      I hope you have a had a wonderful month!


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