Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: SLS, in Your Personal Care Products
Used to strip oils from skin, hair and teeth, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
(SLS) is a common ingredient in many hair care products, soaps and
toothpastes. Studies are currently being done to establish health risks
associated with use of this ingredient. One report, published in the Journal of The American College of Toxicology, indicates even low concentrations of SLS can be harmful to health.
What is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)?
Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is an anionic surfactant, used as a cleansing
agent. Its relative, Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) is also found in
personal care products. Both SLS and SLES are esters of Sulfuric acid.
SLS is used to strip oils from surfaces.
What is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) Used In?
used as a degreaser for car engines or to strip barnacles off the
underside of boats, SLS is also used in cosmetics and personal care
It dissolves the oil on skin, hair and teeth and also
creates a drying effect as a result. This drying effect can cause
irritation of the area. Long term effects are not yet known.
Common everyday products with SLS and SLES:
- Toothpaste & whiteners
- Hair color and bleaching
- Bar soaps
- Body wash
- Bath oils and soaks
- Dish soap
What Other Names Does SLS Go By?
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate goes by many names and can appear in many variations on product labels.
Some of the names to watch for are:
- Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate
- Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
- Sulfuric Acid
- Sodium Salt
- Mondeodecyl Ester Sodium Salt
- Aquarex Methyl
Health Risks Associated With Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, SLS
Environmental Working Group considers Sodium Lauryl Sulfate a moderate
hazard drug. The health risks all depend greatly on exposure to SLS and
concentration of exposure. Other forms of SLS, like SLES, are often
contaminated with dioxane, which is a known carcinogen.
Some possible health risks are:
- Hormone imbalance
- Irritation of skin, eyes, nose, mouth
- Respiration Problems
- Organic Toxicity
information contained in this article is for educational purposes only
and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the
opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his
or her health should contact a doctor for advice
Natural Health Information Center. “Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES). The Killers in your bathroom.” (accessed September 22, 2010)
Natural Health Information. “Journal of The American College of Toxicology” (accessed September 22, 2010)
Environmental Working Group. “ Sodium Lauryl Sulfate” (accessed September 22, 2010)
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