What is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)?
BY Bruce Shane 6 July, 2007
SLS is an inexpensive detergent used in almost all shampoos, body washes, bath and shower gels, bubble baths, etc.
A variation of SLS is SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE (Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate- SLES). It exhibits many of the same characteristics and is a higher-foaming variation of SLS.
SLS is probably the most dangerous ingredient used in skin and hair-care products. It started its career as an industrial de-greasant and garage floor cleaner and is also used in car-wash soaps, etc. It is very corrosive and readily attacks greasy surfaces.
SLS is used throughout the world for clinical testing as a primary skin irritant. Laboratories use it to irritate skin on test animals and humans so that they may then test healing agents to see how effective they are on the irritated skin.
SLS is potentially harmful to skin, especially very dry skin and eczema and psoriasis prone skin because it dries skin by stripping the protective lipids from the surface so it can’t effectively regulate moisture. In addition SLS can damage normal skin as it has the effect of stripping off the oil layer and then irritating and eroding the skin, leaving it rough and pitted.
A study at the University of Georgia Medical College, indicated that SLS penetrated into the eyes as well as brain, heart, liver, etc., and showed long-term retention in the tissues. The study also indicated that SLS penetrated young children’s eyes and prevented them from developing properly and caused cataracts to develop in adults.
SLS has also been found in some studies to cause hair loss by attacking the follicle.
Another extremely serious problem is the connection of SLS with nitrate contamination. SLS reacts with many types of ingredients used in skin products and forms nitrosomines (nitrates). Nitrates are potential cancer-causing carcinogenics.