in my perpetual search for the best sunscreen i can get my hands on (yes, it's european), i began to do research on toxins and carcinogens -- the things that poison so many of us on a daily basis, a little bit at a time, from the inside out. what i discovered was more than a little disturbing.
the one ingredient that really freaked me out was sulfates - and yes, there are hundreds of varieties. once upon a time, everyone made their own soap. then in the 1930s, someone put sulfates in soap (and lots of other products we use on our bodies, like toothpaste) to make them sudsier. and it worked - but it also tended to dry out the skin and hair. nowadays, more than 90 percent of shampoos and body washes contain sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) -- widely known as a skin irritant -- or sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). this stuff is linked to premature baldness, enviornmental cancers, cataract formation, contact dermatitis and more. it's in baby products, too. (yeesh.)
this infographic sums up quite a lot. in the meantime, i'm going to go through all the products i use on my body to make sure that they're sulfate, silicone and surfactant free.