SLS is a ‘surfactant’ that creates foam & bubbles and can effectively remove dirt & excess sebum from our skin. A high percentage of this ingredient can leave your skin feeling squeaky clean. Hence, it is found in all types of cleansing products around us, such as shampoos, body wash, hand wash & face cleansers. It is found in household cleaners as well, which causes people to associate the ingredient to being a harsh substance to be used against their skin.
There are two downsides to this ingredient:
1. It strips our skin of its beneficial natural oil
This can cause our skin to become overly dry, which results in irritation & itchiness to the skin.
2. May create & become carcinogens
Carcinogens are basically the thing that causes cancer, and only when exposed & mixed with another substance called formaldehyde will it create nitrosamines, which is cancerous.
However, studies show that it is almost impossible for SLS & formaldehyde to react & form nitrosamines due to the lack of nitrogen atoms found in both the substances. Hence, there is nothing to worry about 🙂
The Bottom Line:
To me, SLS is a misunderstood ingredient. People are quick to shun cleansers that contain this ingredient. However, depending on the amount, small amounts are generally harmless as it will not be harsh on your skin. Although we would sometimes want that squeaky clean feeling after cleansing to assure us that it has done its job to remove all dirt and oil, we should pay attention to the amount of SLS used in order to avoid robbing our skin of its natural oil! Therefore, products with small portions of SLS are still acceptable to be used.
So, don’t panic when you see SLS on your product’s ingredient list and pay attention to the amount incorporated in the product. If the aftereffect of using the product irritates & makes your skin burn & itch, it is most likely due to the high amount of SLS used, and you should consider switching up to a more gentle & mild cleanser for your skin 🙂
Recommended products with a low percentage of SLS:
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
Note: All the information presented in my posts are based on my personal experience with the products & secondary research that I found online, either through journal articles, professional website or other credible blogs. I am neither a professional dermatologist nor a scientist, hence I am no expert. Please feel free to do more research instead of deciding on trying a product based purely on my posts to avoid any misunderstandings and mistakes!