The labels on baby shampoos sure sound good. Gentle. Non-irritating. Everything a good mother could want. And some have pictures of smiling, happy babies to seal the deal.

Most of those labels don’t tell the truth. They can’t, because if moms knew the truth, they wouldn’t buy the shampoo.

Why not? Most baby shampoos–most shampoos for any age–contain sodium lauryl sulfate or its equally ugly cousins sodium laureth sulfate or ammonium lauryl sulfate.

Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is an inexpensive industrial solvent with a talent for making suds–exactly what we expect a shampoo to do. But caustic SLS really stings when it gets into your eyes, just what you don’t want a baby shampoo to do.

So manufacturers add what’s called a nonionic detergent to numb the eye. That way, babies won’t feel any irritation. Problem solved? Well, no.

Studies show that SLS can cause permanent eye damage. If your baby doesn’t react to SLS, you won’t know there’s problem, and you won’t flush those tender eyes with water. The SLS will remain, doing its damage.

Besides that, many of us are allergic to sodium lauryl sulfate and its ugly cousins. Switching to products that don’t contain the bad guys frequently resolves unexplained rashes and general discomfort from itchy skin.

How come the rashes and the itchiness? The same protein denaturing properties that cause eye damage can also cause skin inflammation. Skin layers actually get separated from each other. Which may be the reason SLS also damages hair follicles.

Consider shampoos from companies like Aubrey Organics, Avalon Organics, Jason Natural or Kiss My Face. No SLS to worry about–and also no disastrous parabens to do a number on your endocrine system. You can get these shampoos in health food stores or on-line. On-line offers a better selection.

Most toothpastes include SLS, too. Tom’s of Maine toothpaste has a reputation for natural ingredients, but it contains SLS. I use Kiss My Face Triple-Action gel and like it a lot. I have no connection with the company; I just like their stuff. It’s available at health food stores or on-line.

Most cosmetics contain SLS, too, but that’s another article for another day. I’m talking babies and little kids here.

Why am I jumping up and down, yelling about SLS? A month’s worth of hives that took a course of steroids to clear up, that’s why. Don’t let that happen to your baby–or you.

Author's Bio: 

Bette Dowdell is not a doctor, nor does she purport to be one. She's a patient who's spent the past 30+ years studying, with great success, how to handle endocrine problems. Doctors are a tad put off by all she’s accomplished. Subscribe to her free health information at If you’re dragging your patooty, and the doctor says you’re just fine, this is the place to get some answers.