The dangers of sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)

SLS is a controversial chemical that can be found in a variety of everyday cleansing products such as shampoo, moisturising cream, shower gel, bathing products and even toothpaste. Many companies use SLS for their products because it is very cheap and can provide a good lathering effect. However, there is concern that SLS may not be good for the skin nor the environment. For this reason, many of us are turning to SLS free products such as SLS free shampoo and SLS free moisturiser.

What is SLS?

SLS stands for sodium laureth sulphate (spelt sulfate in the US) and is a synthetic chemical made from palm oil. As it is a detergent, SLS removes oil from the skin which can cause skin irritation and eye irritation. While it is only recommended that companies use a small concentration of SLS, some people with sensitive skin may still find that SLS damages the scalp and dries the hair follicles. Despite this, some ‘natural’ companies such as Lush still use the ingredient in some of their products.

What research has been done about SLS?

SLS has been commonly used by companies for many years, but despite this, most of the trusted research with SLS has been published fairly recently. Research about SLS has focused on potential carcinogenic properties and skin irritation. In order to find out the impact of SLS, extensive research has been carried out on animals including dogs.

The first topic to note is that SLS is not known to be cancer causing and is believed to be relatively safe, especially at low concentrations.

However, SLS has been proven to cause irritation. The results of research stem from various professional sources including the University of Bath and have even been recorded in a BBC production. SLS increases the rate of water loss which can be a defining factor for skin irritation. Because of this, SLS can also cause an outbreak of eczema.

The lathering effect SLS provides is also met with sceptical views, as while foam looks good to the eye it does not necessarily provide a good amount of cleansing.

Why is SLS bad for the environment?

SLS is derived from palm oil which is having a terrible impact on the environment. Massive deforestation and social-political issues have been caused by high demand, which has caused a catastrophic impact on native people losing their homes and the local and rare wildlife.

According to sources from The Independent, no manufacturer can claim that their palm oil is sustainable. Organisations such as Say No to Palm Oil are campaigning for alternative ingredients to be used to help make a positive impact on local communities and to save the endangered orangutan.

Where can I purchase SLS free products?

If you decide to purchase SLS free products, why not take a look at our product range such as our SLS free shampoo. None of our products contain SLS, because we are keen on catering to all skin types and feel that if an ingredient doesn’t make you feel 100% fantastic, it’s not worth including.

Follow us on Instagram


5% OFF

Sign-up to our newsletter and receive a 5% discount code to use on your first order with us!

Our cruelty free, sk:incredible products for every body, are bursting with botanicals, gender neutral and free from any nasties.

Something went wrong, please contact us!