Ever dropped one of those glittery bath bombs into your bath and regretted it a couple of hours later? Tight, sore, reactive skin is a curse for those of us that suffer. If you have sensitive skin you will be fully aware of the perils of harsh chemicals in everyday products.
Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) is a detergent that is very commonly used in the UK to make products foam up and lather. SLS is effective at removing dirt and grime from the skin, but it can also strip it of its natural protective oils. Even people without sensitive skin may experience irritation when using beauty products that contain SLS, including shampoo, body wash and some toothpaste.
We are very guilty of believing that a horse's skin is naturally thicker than our own. The skin is the largest organ in the horse's body and it needs proper care.
Unfortunately our equine industry is a little behind that of human skincare. Harsh chemicals are still being used, ingredients are not being listed and some even carry hazardous warning labels. A recent visit to the tack shop uncovered some shocking truths - 'causes eye damage' one well known shampoo brand warned, 'dangerous to aquatic life' said another. With no ingredient lists to be seen - people are still willingly and worryingly applying these substances to their horses, and also getting covered themselves.
A study by Professor Paul McGreevy from the University of Sydney School of Veterinary Science and his colleagues has found that not only have horses evolved to feel as much pain as humans - the skin is not much thicker and is actually thinner in some layers and areas. The study concentrated on the area of the skin on the rump of a horse that is struck most often with whips during a race. Researchers led by veterinary pathologist Dr Lydia Tong of Australia’s Taronga Conservation Society found that, in the outer pain-detecting layer of skin known as the epidermis, there was “no significant difference between humans and horses in either the concentration of nerve endings … or in the thickness of this layer.”
With the above study and information in mind, I draw the conclusion that using abrasive products and chemicals on a horse's skin is unacceptable - it could cause discomfort, soreness and dryness (which leads to chronic skin conditions). We are more well equipped in our knowledge now, good natural products are available. You wouldn't dream of putting furniture polish on a baby's skin - so why put it onto your horse? We have amazing feeding programmes, great exercise and fitness regimes and incredible stable management. Let's back that up with decent skin and hair care... put down the washing up liquid and join us in taking the step towards a more natural horse-care routine.
Shop Pommel's range of natural horse grooming products at: https://www.pommel.co.uk/