A common ingredient in soaps, shampoos, and even toothpastes, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is a chemical that helps in removing oily stains and residues. This article helps you learn more about this chemical and gives you its possible dangers.
Also known as sodium laurifulfate or Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate (SDS), SLS or Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is a common anionic surfactant that is found in hygiene products. Used in heavy-duty cleaning agents, car washing detergents, and floor cleaners, it is also found in a lower concentration in products that we use everyday which include shampoos, shaving foams, bubble baths, and toothpastes. But is this chemical safe for human beings, and if yes, why is there so much controversy surrounding it? We take a look.
A close relative of Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), SDS is an ester of sulfuric acid, a corrosive acid. It can, therefore, be used to remove oily stains because it has a thickening effect that helps form lather. It is synthesized by the reaction of lauryl alcohol with sulfuric acid. This produces hydrogen lauryl sulfate that is neutralized by addition of sodium carbonate. Commercially available sodium laurifulfate is a mixture of alkyl sulfates with dodecyl sulfate.
After all a chemical, there are certain risk factors related to the use of SDS. This chemical is known to irritate the skin. It tends to strip off natural oils and erode the skin. This causes our skin to become rough and patchy. Shampoos with this compound affect the eye by leading to long-term retention of the chemical in the tissues. When it penetrates the eyes of children it prevents the eyes from developing normally. It can even lead to cataracts in adults.
Wounds near the surface of the cornea take time to heal due to absorption of SLS. As it has a low molecular weight, it is easily absorbed by the body. Thus, it tends to build up in the heart, liver, brain, etc. It affects the skin and causes it to flake and fall off. This makes the skin rough and dry. It is a type of caustic cleanser that corrodes hair follicles, causing problems with hair growth. People with chronic skin hypersensitivity are more at risk when exposed to this chemical.
Shampoos free of SLS
If you are worried about the adverse effect of shampoos that have this surfactant, then you can opt to use a shampoo free of it. These are slightly difficult to find, and also a little expensive. You will need to select a shampoo that suits your hair texture and has a balanced pH. You should opt for organic shampoos or all-natural shampoos.
- Aubrey Organics Shampoo
- Alba Shampoo
- Alaffia Shampoo
- Aloe Jojoba Shampoo
- Avalon Organics Shampoo
- Beauty Without Cruelty Shampoo
- The Body Shop’s Honey Moisturizing Shampoo
- Burt’s Bees Shampoo
- Desert Essence Shampoo
- Jason Shampoo
- John Masters Shampoo
- Johnson and Johnson Baby Shampoo
- Kiss My Face Shampoo
- Logona Shampoo
- Nature’s Gate Organic Shampoo
- Neutrogena Triple Moisture Shampoo
- Pureology Shampoo
- Real Purity Shampoo
- ShiKai Shampoo
- Silken Shampoo
- Ultimate Shampoo
Toothpastes free of SLS
This chemical causes microscopic damage to the oral tissue. It is said to cause canker sores in many people. In order to avoid canker sores, bad breath, and dry mouth, you should be using a toothpaste which is free of this anionic chemical. You can use these toothpastes for better and safer dental hygiene.
- Tom’s of Maine’s
- The Natural Dentist
- Sensitive Toothpaste
- CloSYS Toothpaste
- Biotene Antibacterial Dry Mouth Toothpaste
There are several issues that have been raised against this chemical as it has often been tested on animals. But along with that intolerable cruelty, there is also the question of it posing so many dangers to us.