Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) in skincare products

A study in ScienceDaily has proven that SLS when used on the skin thins this protective barrier, making the skin more susceptible to irritation by chemicals.

SLS is a detergent used to mix oils into water-based moisturisation creams to give a nice creamy texture. It's also used widely in shower gels, shampoos and other cosmetics.

One more reason to read the ingredient lists carefully before purchasing and using simple homemade remedies as far as possible.


  1. Tanz SLS is every where..In our shampoos , soaps , creams ..too difficult to avoid it na...:(

  2. Nice info Tanveer. Thanks for sharing :)

  3. hmmmmmmmm does explain things a lot as to why some soaps tat lather a lot irritate the skin

  4. Thanks for sharing :). Dangerous yet unavoidable :(

  5. this is a nice info to pass on... important things is wat to do about it???....

  6. I use SLS free face washes but its very difficult to find other products that are SLS-free. Is there a solution?

  7. Hi,
    Have been reading most of your posts and love most of them. However, sometimes the information you give is not scientifically correct. SLS is not the demon that it is made out to be. Its the mildest surfactant and therefore its used in facewashes and shampoos. Its primary job is to stick to dirt and grime during a body wash or hair wash and remove it. There is a bit of chemistry to this action which i don't want to go into.Those interested can go to Pubmed and type SLS. It'll throw all kinds of studies done. At worst it causes drying due its stripping action however it gets washed off and therefore remains for very little time in contact with skin.

  8. As far as the article goes, it tests a particular formulation- a BP cream which they concur contains SLS.Now when a cream is kept on for hours its bound to show an effect on the skin since SLS dries the skin.And again the abstract doesn't mention other ingredients of the cream.
    However in facewashes,shampoos and bodywashes there is no persistent contact and SLS is too big a molecule to cross skin barrier.

  9. @Anamika: Yup :).. I think that is because there is no regulating body that tests these products for safety.

    @BeautyDiva: Thks :)

    @IMW: Yea, I think these soaps also leave behind residue.

    @Shopping in B: What to do? - Read ingredient lists carefully & opt for products that don't contain this - there are some brands like Lush. I wld also say use natural home made products for the face, they are better in the long run.

    @M.275: There are brands that SLS free, not all creams contain SLS.

    @Zee Bee: Thanks for reading :)

    I have in the above post, literally quoted the study - that SLS in products will cause the skin barrier to weaken. While SLS may not be the demon it is made out to be, it is certainly no angel also. For people with already dry skin like mines or sensitive skin - even a mild, stripping action can cause damage - and consider this, we use this every single day in multiple products - in our soaps, body wash, gels, shampoos, creams & lotions for mattifying effect. So its not just once a day - only one product. This thing is present in multiple products - many of which we use several times.

    However in the end, it is our skin, our responsibilty & our choice. I would choose SLS free products.

    @Simran: Thks :)

  10. Yep its personal choice. However, do SLS free products mention what surfactants they are using to clean the skin? i don't know. I suspect its just a marketing gimmick.The detergent /surfactant family contains ammonium laureth/lauryl sulphates which is again used widely.

  11. And then again quoting one study is never enough to make any assertion. its always a best practice to investigate and go through 20=30 studies about any molecule or ingredient before making a comment because usually after reading a large number of reliable studies can one come to any conclusion.there are people out there who are listening /believing you implicitly.


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