What Is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate ?

what is sodium lauryl sulfate

What Is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate ?

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is a negatively charged ion and surfactant.  What is a surfactant you ask?  The surfactants job is to allow oil and water to mix well together.  Because these two ingredients do not mix well naturally, this is when sodium lauryl sulfate comes into play.  Adding sodium lauryl sulfate to a concoction allows us to clean surfaces and things on our bodies effectively.  This can include washing dirty dishes or cleaning an oily face.  These ingredients help grime to disappear without any major effects implemented.  I’ll go into more detail in this post about what sodium lauryl sulfate is, how and why it is used in a variety of products on the market.

What Is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate Used For?

You will likely find it in most products you have in your home.  This may include lip balm, make-up remover, shaving cream, shampoo, conditioner, creams, soap and toothpaste.  These are the basics and what most of us on a daily to weekly basis but the list goes on and on.  Surprisingly, it is also used as a food additive to thicken and stabilize foods that are processed.  

Do You Really Need It

Whether you have paid attention to it or not, you probably have been conditioned to believe that you need sodium lauryl sulfates.  For example, when you are washing your clothes, you may feel as though they are not getting clean if there are no suds visible to the eye.  As a result, you continue to pour more and more looking to get that soapy affect.  But did you know that suds don’t mean clean?  There are plenty of products that are made with sulfate free ingredients and it gets the cleaning job done.

Is It Safe To Use?

If you are using products with this ingredient you should stop.  Especially products that you may be using for hair and skin care purposes.  Sodium lauryl sulfate is very toxic to the body.  When used you expose yourself to risk such as it accumulating in your organs, that the body needs to function properly.  Secondly, this ingredient is chemically based and is derived from petroleum.  SLS can also be dangerous and detrimental to small children.  Small children love bubble baths but the toxins and chemicals in these products can cause vomiting, diarrhea and nausea if they are ingested.  Just another concerning reason to avoid SLS.

It Is Cost Effective

Most companies add SLS to their products because it is cheap, cost effective, and easily accessible.  It also creates a lather, that many desire to feel that things are coming clean.  The downside of it all is that companies will not take the time to give you quality.  Because SLS is cheap and easily accessible it is placed in all of your hair and skin care products without any second thoughts.  Keep in mind that if a product is made with cheap ingredients it is probably not the best option for you.

Causes Damage To The Hair

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate has been known to be very damaging to the hair.  African American hair in particular.  This chemical can be drying to natural hair.  Have you ever washed your hair with a shampoo that had sulfates in it and afterwards your hair felt like straw and completely dried out.  The sulfates are added to the shampoos and conditioners to strip the hair of all oils in order to get it clean.  This is horrible for women of color who have natural hair because, it is already a challenge to keep natural hair moisturized.  Don’t add fuel to the fire by using hair care products containing this ingredient.  Going against the grain of what your natural hair needs will cause breakage and dry damaged hair.

Causes Skin Irritation

If you have sensitive skin  you should avoid products that contain sodium lauryl sulfate.  It is a well known skin irritant and sadly strips your skin of its natural oils, that keep the skin moisturized.  Additionally, even if you have skin that can tolerate the most brutal products that contain this ingredient you should still be careful.  Reactions are real and no fun to deal with.  

Skin Reactions

These skin reactions could be the reason why you are developing eczema, dermatitis, itchy scalp and skin.  Rashes on the skin can also lead to further damage and possibly a nasty infection.  At this point the skin is exposed to the elements and nothing is impossible.  Also, be aware of acne products that contain SLS.  You may be trying to get rid of your acne, not realizing that the product is making your condition worst.  Be sure to use a natural, pure product.

Use Baking Soda

For products that you use on a daily basis such as toothpaste opt for baking soda instead.  It’s a great alternative because it helps to whiten and keep your teeth clean.  The upside is that it is cheap, safe and cost effective.  Also it is easy to use, just mix the baking soda with water and you are good to go.  

Use Sulfate Free Products Instead

 Next, for your hair and skin care purposes go for products that are sulfate free.  You won’t be happy to hear that these products cost a bit more but it is worth it, you are worth it!  They are healthier for you overall and you get to have some piece of mind.  It’s always good to know that you’ll be free of toxins, cancer, skin irritation and neurotoxicity.  Natural products are available and give you better results than those products containing sodium lauryl sulfate.