On your skincare ingredient label, you’ll see SLS listed as
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. SLS is a surfactant that is commonly used in many
personal care products such as toothpaste, shampoo, shower gel, soap, bubble
bath. A surfactant is a substance which can act as a foaming agent (creates a
foam for example in shampoo), or a detergent, or a wetting agent.
As seems to be the case with many skincare ingredients, there
has been a growing fear of the link of SLS with cancer. There is so much
scaremongering going on in the skincare industry from those who wish to promote
natural and organic products that often rumours arise which are difficult to
quash and flood the internet without much, if any, scientific backup. Such is
the case with SLS. Whilst it may be touted as linked to cancer, there is, as
yet, no scientific research which can prove this.
Why Should I Avoid SLS?
There are a number of good reasons to still avoid SLS such as:
- Whilst it may not have proved to link/cause cancer, it is a known skin irritant which could be causing you itchy skin, dandruff or even dermatitis.
- According to a study run by the University of Georgia Medicine, SLS can permeate the body’s tissues, including brain, eyes, heart and liver, for a long period of time.
- SLS is a recognise eye irritant which may cause cataracts in adults and inhibit the proper formation of the eyes in small children.
- SLS is a penetration enhancer meaning it can help other chemicals enter your body. SLS molecules are so small that it can cross the membranes of your cells. Once these cells have been compromised, they become vulnerable to other chemicals that may be found alongside SLS.
- It pollutes our water. It is toxic to aquatic animals including fish and can go undetected in our drinking water.
- The manufacturing of SLS
is highly polluting. It emits sulphur compounds, air particles and even
cancer-causing volatile compounds.