sodium lauryl sulfate
Versatile ingredient composed of several non-volatile alcohols. Functions primarily as a surfactant, but can also be used as a skin-conditioning agent, emulsifier, and solvent.
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is one of the most sensitizing cleansing agents used in skincare products. In fact, it’s considered a standard comparison substance for measuring the skin sensitization of other ingredients. In fact, in scientific studies, when the researchers want to establish whether or not an ingredient is problematic for skin, they compare its effect to that of SLS.
In amounts of 2% to 5%, sodium lauryl sulfate can cause sensitizing reactions for many people. Despite the sensitivity issue, it is not the same as the dire and erroneous warnings floating around the web about this ingredient, all of which have been debunked. Sodium lauryl sulfate isn’t a great ingredient in terms of its impact on skin, but its effects are not detrimental to one’s health.
References for this information:
Journal of Clinical & Experimental Dermatology Research, November 2014, ePublication
British Journal of Dermatology, July 2014, pages 115-123
International Journal of Toxicology, July 2010, pages S151-S161
Contact Dermatitis, January 2003, pages 26-32
European Journal of Dermatology, September-October 2001, pages 416-419
American Journal of Contact Dermatitis, May 2001, pages 28-32
About the Experts
Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:
The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!