Friday, February 13, 2015

Ingredient Spotlight! Sodium Lauryl and Laureth Sulfates

It's here! The first ingredient spotlight post! I have had many clients asking about these two ingredients/chemicals. I'll be breaking it down into a (hopefully) easy to digest format.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)

What it does: A foaming agent (surfactant) found most commonly in shampoo, face and body washes. Also found in some toothpastes.

Concerns raised: That both SLS and SLES are irritants and possible carcinogens, through a by-product (1, 4 Dioxane), that occurs in some production methods.

What I've Found: SLS and SLES are skin irritants.(1) (2) I have not been able to find any study that substantiates the cancer risk in SLES. It has not been listed as carcinogenic by OSHA on their material safety data sheets (3), by the American Cancer Society,  or the International Agency for Research in Cancer.

Bottom line: I don't use products with SLS or SLES. Being on a constant crusade to lower inflammation in the skin, I see no need to start off with a cleanser that may cause irritation, even if in a formulation made to buffer that (too much inflammation being the source of all evil....don't get me started). We have other options. The cancer risk? From what I've read- I'm not concerned about the risk. With that said- the point is moot since I don't use it in my practice.

Want to see something featured in the ingredient spotlight or have questions? Email me or leave a comment!