Monday, June 18, 2007

No 'Poo!!!

Oh, get your minds out of the gutter. Over the past year or so, the condition of my scalp has seemed to get worse and worse. Itching, flaking, red spots... Given the apparent shortage of dermatologists, which prevents one from getting an appointment for six months, if you're lucky, I've decided to take matters into my own hands.

A while back, I remember reading an article called Why You Should Go No ‘Poo - the thing that struck me about it was this:

Following are just a small sample of the toxins found in most shampoos and their detrimental side effects.

• Alcohol, isopropyl (SD-40) is a very drying and irritating solvent and dehydrator that strips your skin’s moisture and natural immune barrier, making you more vulnerable to bacteria, molds and viruses. It is made from propylene, a petroleum derivative, and is found in many skin and hair products, fragrances, antibacterial hand washes as well as shellac and antifreeze. It can act as a “carrier,” accelerating the penetration of other harmful chemicals into your skin.

It may promote brown spots and premature aging of skin. A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients says isopropyl alcohol may cause headaches, flushing, dizziness, mental depression, nausea, vomiting, narcosis, anesthesia and coma. A fatal ingested dose is one ounce or less.

• FD&C color pigments are synthetic colors made from coal tar, containing heavy metal salts that deposit toxins onto the skin, causing skin sensitivity and irritation. Absorption of certain colors can cause depletion of oxygen in the body and death. Animal studies have shown almost all of them to be carcinogenic.

• Mineral oil is a petroleum by-product that coats the skin like plastic, clogging the pores. It interferes with skin’s ability to eliminate toxins, promoting acne and other disorders.

• Propylene glycol (PG) and butylene glycol are petroleum plastics which act as surfactants (wetting agents and solvents). They easily penetrate the skin and can weaken protein and cellular structure. Commonly used to make extracts from herbs, PG is strong enough to remove barnacles from boats!

• Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) are detergents and surfactants that may pose serious health threats. They are used in car washes, garage floor cleaners and engine degreasers — and in 90 percent of personal care products that foam. Animals exposed to SLS experienced eye damage, depression, labored breathing, diarrhea, severe skin irritation and even death.

Terrifying stuff. So, as the article's name suggests, I've decided to go sans shampoo. Today is day three- this morning I did the baking soda treatment to stimulate the scalp. The girl, whose nose would most certainly know, indicates that my hair smells "like nothing"- a good start!

So we'll see what happens over the next days and weeks. I'm on the fence about the apple cider vinegar rinse, since I've got really short hair right now, and I don't want to undo the work, but I'll probably break down and try it soon.

More updates to follow!

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