Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is very popular and controversial ingredient which you can commonly find in cleaning and cosmetic products.
Most possibly you may a lot of question about sodium lauryl sulfate like why it is used in personal care products and its uses.
Well, In this article we will try to answer all your queries in brief..
Sodium lauryl sulfate works as surfactant, when it is added in products it create foam and bubbles which help in cleaning process. SLS create rich leather like layer on body after use.
Since sodium lauryl sulfate works as cleaning agent it is commonly used in hairs washing, hand wash and body cleaning products. And its efficacy is high and it is a very cheap ingredient. So you can commonly find in it a lot of cleaning products.
Uses of sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)
Personal care products
SLS is commonly used in personal care products such as shampoo, body wash, hand washing solutions and soaps. SLS is being used in various types of shampoos since 1930.
Whenever we use shampoo or body cleaners on our body these products quickly create foam or bubbles once you rub them with water, sodium lauryl sulphate create those bubbles and helps to clean your body or hairs.
SLS create a smooth layer of shining moisture on your body once you rinse it with water. You can also find SLS in the ingredients list of your toothpaste, similar to other products it creates spongy foam in the mouth which helps to clean mouth and removes plaque from teeth.
SLS is a strong surfactant and it is widely used in home cleaning products. SLS have ability to breakdown oil and grease marks.
You can find this ingredient in liquid detergents and cleaning products, SLS can easily clean food or curry marks from carpets and bed sheets which makes SLS one of the best detergent.
Industrial cleaning products
SLS is widely used in industrial cleaning products. SLS is very effective to clean thick grease and oil from machine or automobile parts because of that SLS is commonly used in industrial cleaning products.
Machine or automobiles parts which are made of iron, steel or other metals can be easily cleaned with SLS based cleaners.
You may find is shocking but SLS is also used in various processed foods. It is usually added to packed egg whites to add volume or thickness to egg white liquid. SLS in egg whites make omelet soft, fluffy and tastier.
It is also added to marshmallow and various beverages. Saodium lauryl sulfate in beverage drinks make drinks light and tangy, you can check the ingredient list of your favorite packed beverage you may find it in the ingredients list.
Harmful effects of sodium lauryl sulfate
Sodium lauryl sulfate is a very strong surfactant, it is commonly used in skin grooming or cleaning products which can cause dryness and itchiness to skin.
SLS remove all natural moisture from skin which skin produce naturally to protect itself from harsh environment. Skin cleaning or grooming products which contains more than 5% sodium lauryl sulfate can cause serious skin problems with regular use especially to those individuals who have sensitive skin.
Although cleaning products remain on skin for very short period of time because they got rinse with water while cleaning which reduce the risk of skin dryness.
Grooming products with SLS which remain on skin for longer period of time can very harmful for skin especially in regular use. Grooming products which contain around 1% SLS can be considered to be safe for longer use.
Other skin problems
Various studies have proven that regular use of cleaning products which contain more than 5% SLS can cause serious skin problems. SLS can cause white flakes, itching, allergy and cracks on skin.
These problems can be even worse in individuals who have sensitive skin. Animal studies have shown that products with 10-15% SLS caused severe skin problems, diarrhea and death in many animals. High amount of SLS can shown similar effects on humans too.
You can find SLS commonly in toothpaste in fact most kinds of toothpaste use this ingredient. SLS in toothpaste can cause various mouth problems, it can cause allergies in mouth, dry cranking at the corner of the mouth and can cause dental problems in a longer period of time.
Some peoples may also feel irritation in mouth after using SLS based tooth paste and it may make tongue to have weird texture. Since SLS penetrate deep in skin and open the membranes of skin which make your skin vulnerable to harmful germs.
SLS is highly toxic is nature specially if used in large amount on regular basis, it can cause severe itching and pain in eyes in slip into your eyes. There are some claims that SLS can cause cancer although there is no study done yet which can prove this claim.
Since SLS is toxic in nature so it can cause various problems in body especially if it is kept on skin for long period of time. SLS open pores of skin which allow SLS to slip into membranes of skin and further it can reach to blood stream.
To live healthy life and avoid the dangers of sodium lauryl sulphate it is necessary to avoid consumption or use of those products which contains this ingredient.
You should add those personal care products or toothpaste which do not contains SLS, you can also use those products which has SLS which is extracted from coconut or other natural plants.
There are various ayurvedic or herbal products which don’t use SLS, you also have option to use these products instead of SLS based products.