Sodium Lauryl Sulphate is probably one of the most controversial ingredients in the beauty industry, but is its reputation undeserved? Sodium Lauryl Sulphate is used in cleaning products like shampoos, detergents, and body washes because of its unique ability to create a lather and remove oils and dirt from the skin. The controversy surrounding this ingredient has to do with this unique ability to cleanse and lather. Those who advocate avoiding Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, or SLS, argue that the ingredient rids skin and hair of their natural oils, making them prone to irritation and sensitivity. This is partly true.
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate removes the natural oils from the skin and hair in order to cleanse them. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing and is unlikely to cause irritation or tenderness for most skin types. Do the benefits of the Sodium Lauryl Sulphate formulation outweigh the risks? First, let’s understand why Sodium Lauryl Sulphate is and how it’s made.
Sodium lauryl sulfate is usually extracted from the fatty acids in coconut or palm oil and is known as a common surfactant. This means that it’s an excellent ingredient for breaking down oils and removing dirt from your skin. Sodium Lauryl Sulphate can also be produced synthetically, which reduces the impact on environmental resources such as coconut and palm oil. Synthetic manufacturing also keeps costs down and makes your products affordable. One of the main reasons why sodium lauryl sulfate is so widely used is because it’s a milder surfactant than other similar ingredients like sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES) and ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS). It also gives the products the foam and foam that we are used to when cleaning.
Sodium lauryl sulfate
the good:Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is a great foaming agent and helps remove oils and grime from your skin so that it can be washed off.
not that good:It has been linked to irritation and tenderness in some skin types.
For whom is that?All skin types except those identified as having an allergy.
Synergetic ingredients:Works well with most ingredients.
Keep an eye on:Note that many brands that advertise SLS on their products for free use similar surfactants in place of SLS. So if you want a gentle product or are prone to sensitivity, low-foaming products are less likely to irritate and peel off.
What are the benefits of sodium laurel sulfate?
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate is a powerful cleaning ingredient that helps break down oils and remove dirt so they can be washed off. This is why SLS is used in so many cleaning products like body washes, facial cleansers, shampoos, and even toothpaste. Skin care products containing this ingredient also provide a strong lather and are great cleansing options in the summer when the amount of oil secretions on the skin increases. A good facial cleanser with a surfactant like sodium laurel sulfate or similar compounds can be helpful in getting rid of acne in such situations. It won’t be effective on its own, however, as it does little to break down the sebum in already clogged pores like salicylic acid does.
SLS helps improve the foam or lather of a product. This is an important part of the formulation process. The foam not only helps cleanse the skin, but also improves the texture and sensory feel of the product. This makes the skin feel cleaner and refreshed.
Some studies have shown that SLS can also have mild antibacterial properties. This can help aid healing and reduce minor infections. While this is an interesting area to study, the results do not yet suggest any new use for the ingredient. Keep an eye out for more research on this effect.
Sodium lauryl sulfate is considered to be helpful in stabilizing the product. As an emulsifier, the ingredient helps to keep the other ingredients in the product mixed, preventing separation or splitting. This makes the ingredient popular with manufacturers, as several desired product properties can be achieved with just one ingredient – which makes products slightly cheaper. The SLS concentration is comparatively lower in skin care products compared to cleaning products that are intended for washing off.
What types of products contain sodium lauryl sulfate?
Sodium lauryl sulfate Used primarily in toothpaste, shampoos, soaps, and facial cleansers, but can also be found in skin care products such as moisturizers, hair gels, lip balms, and hair removal creams.
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate versus Sodium Laureth Sulphate
If you’ve heard of Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, you’ve likely come across the similar-sounding Sodium Laureth Sulphate. The two sulfates are commonly used in skin care and cosmetic products, sometimes together. Their similar-sounding names may be confusing, but you would rightly think that they share similar properties in skin care products. The main difference is that sodium laureth sulfate binds less to the skin, resulting in a reduced chance of irritation or sensitivity.
What are the side effects of using Sodium Lauryl Sulphate?
The two main points of contention with using SLS in skin care and hair care products are that it can remove the natural oils and cause irritation.
Natural oils protect the skin and regulate the moisture content. Some argue that using SLS products can remove this protective barrier and cause sensitivity. That’s right, using an SLS product can result in the natural oil barrier being lowered. Unfortunately, these natural oils keep dirt and grime close to the skin, so cleaning is important too. The balance really lies in knowing whether your skin needs a powerful cleansing ingredient like SLS or if it needs something a little milder. If you have oily or normal skin that isn’t sensitive or irritated, SLS products are generally fine and likely not to cause irritation or dryness. However, if you have dry or sensitive skin, avoiding SLS can be a good decision.
In terms of hair care products, products containing SLS may also not be suitable for you if you have colored, fine, or dry / textured hair. During the stripping process, SLS can remove the natural oils and dull colored hair, and dry out dry or textured hair.
Is Sodium Lauryl Sulphate Safe?
Practical experience and studies have shown that sodium lauryl sulfate, although milder than the SLES, can cause skin irritation during and after use of a product containing SLS.
The ingredient can cause itching, pain, and redness when in contact with the eyes, and high concentrations of the compound in skin care and hair care products can also cause excessive dryness. In some cases, the presence of sodium laurel sulfate in toothpaste can even lead to the development of mouth pain. Although there is little risk of bioaccumulation problems after using products with this ingredient, side effects are unlikely and not long term. However, there is the presence of sodium laurel sulfate Hair dye can dry out the strands of hair, making them brittle and difficult to repair quickly. This can become a nuisance for those with long or dry hair.
References:Bondi, C, Marks, J, Wroblewski, L, Raatikainen, H, Lenox, S & Gebhardt, K, 2015. “Human and Environmental Toxicity of Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS): Indications for Safe Use in Household Cleaning Products,” Environmental Health Insights, 9, 27-32.
CIR, 1983. “7 Final Report on the Safety Assessment of Sodium Lauryl Sulphate and Ammonium Lauryl Sulphate”, International Journal of Toxicology