What is sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS?)
What products contain these chemicals and how bad are they?
Find out here!
What is it and where does it come from?
A cheap synthetic chemical called “sodium lauryl sulfate” (SLS) is added to most cleaning products. It creates “the bubbles” and aids in removing oils from the skin. It is derived from palm oil, which has a terrible impact on the environment itself.
Toxin or Irritant?
While kids love the bubbles and adults love the detergent aspect from SLS, studies show the chemical can be a skin irritant if concentrations are over 2% (source.) SLS usually the second largest ingredient after water and is found up to 50% concentration. On our skin, it causes a breakdown of proteins, increase in inflammation, clog pores, increases risk of contact allergens and decrease in moisture. This can be damaging for our skin, especially for areas like your face.(source)
SLS is a controversial ingredient in many blogs. Another reason it is important to know where the information is coming from. Many blogs say SLS can cause severe damage such as being a carcinogen, neurotoxin, organ toxin, skin irritation and endocrine disruptor. There is also concern that SLS could be contaminated with 1-4 dioxane, a well known carcinogen. Those are hefty claims.
What the experts say about SLS:
While I haven’t research every study done on SLS, these two biochemist/molecular biologists do a great job explaining the potential dangers. Concern for being potential carcinogen isn’t one of them, but it definitely can cause skin irritation/inflammation. (source)
Many studies say SLS is “safe” in small doses, but it is found in a majority of our cleaning, beauty and daily products, which means we are exposed to it often.
Is SLS and SLES the same thing?
It is important to note another form is “sodium laureth sulfate” or SLES and IS WORTH AVOIDING due to chance of 1-4 dioxane contamination. As well as avoiding any ingredients with of these listed: “laureth, myreth, oleth or ceteareth.” (source)
Overall, my personal choice would be to avoid the ingredient if possible. There are plenty of other great options out there without it, but it’s not the most dangerous ingredient out there.
Check out our favorite clean non toxic baby soaps HERE!