Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is an inexpensive cleansing agent used in many skincare and home cleaning products for the removal of oil, dirt and residues. It is found in very high doses in cleaning agents like floor cleaners and laundry detergent and lower amounts in skincare products like shaving creams and facial wash degreasers, floor cleaners, and car wash soaps. SLS (as it is commonly referred to) is responsible for the lathering action – think bubble bath.
I don’t know about you, but i don’t really want to use the same cleaning agent for my face that cleans my floor. Because SLS is a charged particle that attracts dirt, removing it from the pores and the surface of the skin, it causes irritation. So, for this reason, SLS is now being avoided in many professional skincare products.
When shopping for skincare products, look for the gentler alternatives like Sodium Cocoyl Methyl Taurate, Decyl Glucoside and Cetearyl Glucoside which are all plant based cleansing agents (amino acids, sugar and coconut.)
Here’s a great informational site on some of the harsh effects of SLS (note that in very small doses the FDA has approves SLS for use, but that for total well-being, bien-être suggests avoiding them whenever possible).