creative 1975

Parabens and Sulphates

In Non-Fiction on October 16, 2013 at 7:50 am

Test Tubes of Colored Liquid

The products I put on my skin not only changed but became prevalent in my life when I developed skin psoriasis over a year ago—startlingly it advanced over a couple of months until it affected my whole-body.

I had heard of Psoriasis; however I did not know that Psoriasis was an incurable and chronic auto-immune skin disease that affected all the body including the scalp. There’s no doubt it’s partly changed my life, affected my self-esteem and at times it becomes exhausting to keep it under control.

Topical treatments work for a short time and there are various other options like UV treatment and more potent drugs. Personally, and after looking into these more evasive treatments, I want to avoid all of them for as long as possible.

I began looking in to natural products, vitamins, diet and anything to help myself. I have psoriasis everywhere except for my neck and face. Some areas are worse than others and unfortunately I have three types: inverse, plaque and guttate psoriasis. It took me a long time to cope with the itching, the uncomfortable nature of the disease, but also the visualisation of it—that I don’t look the same anymore. It overwhelms your self-esteem. I still hope it will just disappear and try to remain positive, but it’s difficult to be optimistic all of the time. Nevertheless, I am aware this could be much worse.

Even though this is a disease that erupts from what’s going on inside the body, it would not be helped by using products that contain chemicals on my skin. Parabens and sulphates are in our shampoo, body wash, moisturisers, and creams and so on. They’re there to give the product extra shelf life, but over a period of time they enter the bloodstream. We live in a world where are bodies are consuming so many toxins, which we do not need and can not cope with. I decided that the way to go for me was to be as natural as possible and completely avoid using anything made with sulphates and parabens.

There are many websites on the Internet that tell you all about these potentially dangerous chemicals; therefore I would only be paraphrasing in my writing if I used all the information here. For that reason I will simply provide some basic facts:


On the labels of products these are the ones to avoid – basically anything ending in paraben.

  • Methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben are the most commonly used parabens. Less common parabens include isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben and benzylparaben.

Parabens are inexpensive and give a shelf life to a product for up to two years, yet they mimic the female hormone, estrogen.

As with parabens, phthalates are considered estrogen disruptors and the cause of reproductive problems, especially in males. They also have been indicated as causing fat-related health risks.

SulfatesPerson Washing Hands with Soap in Washbasin

  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Myreth Sulfate. These ingredients generally act as detergents or foaming agents and are found in cleansers and shampoos.

You can read more scientific explanations of  these products at including many more, such as petroleum.

There are copious amounts of information out there about all these chemical ingredients.

When looking for natural products in New Zealand I came across a fabulous place I could purchase natural shampoo; a base shampoo that was free of all the aforementioned chemicals, and I could add essential oils to it that would support my scalp rather than irritate it.

I found this shampoo and essential oils from Lotus Oils NZ and their Office Manager, Nik, was most helpful when I emailed her for advice. The cost is no more than what I’d be normally spending in the supermarket or pharmacy, and they were posted out to me quickly. I’ve been using it for nearly a year now and have added organic argan oil, lavender and chamomile essential oils to the shampoo base. I can also apply the argan oil directly on to my scalp to soften the plaques.

Since the first order I have used more products and feel assured that I am not putting anything harmful on to my psoriasis. I still have to use topical treatments given to me by a dermatologist otherwise it gets out-of-control, but with natural products supporting me I don’t use them everyday anymore.


More recently I found ‘Naturalus’ –  another provider of natural products, equally as fabulous. I emailed them for advice so that I was ordering the correct products. I made contact with Tanya who was amazingly helpful and went above and beyond what I expected giving me tips and advice for my condition.

Tanya Townsend is a Clinical Medical Herbalist, who was also an advocate of natural products long before Graduating from Canterbury College, and has been using them personally for the past twenty years. There are many different creams and oils that I can use from Naturalus, but it doesn’t stop there as they also sell a large range of teas that can help anything from your complexion to your menopause. One of the ingredients I have discovered is ‘calendula’ that is used in creams, teas or soaps: it soothes and heals the skin, which is great for me. I have the soap to wash with in the shower that smells divine and the infused calendula oil for my scalp.


My natural product endeavours have expanded to my family too, with products from both Naturalus and Lotus Oils being used by them also.

To find out more information about anything mentioned in this blog click on the links below:


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