1. Health and Wellness

Why you should care that Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is in your products?

Sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate is often known as SLES which is a short form of the original name. It is used as a surfactant to remove surface stains. It is a very popular additive and is used in a variety of products. One of its unique functions is the fact that it is excellent at foaming.

Despite these wonderful benefits, there are certain things that make SLES undesirable and unhealthy to be used.

What are the side effects of sodium lauryl sulfate?

There are a few reasons why using SLS can be unfavorable for you. Some of these reasons include:

Skin irritant

A side effect of sodium lauryl/Laureth sulfate is skin irritation. Some other skin issues resulting from its use are canker sores and dandruff.


Sodium lauryl sulfate is often called a pesticide for very valid reasons. For one thing, most people use it to kill pests or plants that are unwanted. In fact, there have been several appeals for it to be officially called a pesticide. But it has been refused because of the next reason.

Environmental pollution

The use of this SLES has also led to the pollution of the environment. This is because it emits very toxic fumes. These fumes can include sodium oxides which have a bad effect on the environment. 

How does Sodium Lauryl Sulfate end up in products?

Most manufacturers simply put SLES in their products because of its more desirable foaming properties. It is not naturally derived or occurring. It is sometimes chosen as a surfactant because of its tendency to create large amounts of foam. Customers are more likely to believe the product is effective when it has a lot of foam. More natural choices with just as much cleansing powers might foam a lot less.

Where can Sodium Lauryl Sulfate be found?

There are many products that can be carrying SLES. The truth is that it can be found in detergents, cosmetics and so much more. It can be found in almost every product which have cleansing power. It can even be found in some types of toothpaste. It is also added to products marketed as all-natural.

It is, therefore, necessary to read labels and avoid products that have this ingredient. You don’t need an abundance of suds for any reason and this is the main motivation for adding it to products.

How to recognize SLES in products

It is fairly easy to know the products which contain SLES. It is usually listed as sodium laureth/lauryl sulfate, or the shortened names of SLS or SLES in the product ingredients.

Are there alternatives?

Of course! There are so many products out there without SLES/SLS. It might take some getting used to at first because they are not as sudsy but clean just as well. SLS makes a good name for itself because lots of suds gives an illusion that ‘clean’ is happening. However, rest assured that other cleaners are just as effective.

Sodium laureth sulfate is bad for skin