Have you ever wondered what causes all the foam in commercial products like bubble bath? It’s a chemical called sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) or a similar chemical called sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). These two chemicals are used not just in bubble bath, but in a huge range of bath and body care products such as shampoo, shaving cream, body wash, and many other products for your skin.
Both ingredients have been known to cause irritation for a lot of people. But those with sensitive skin and conditions such as eczema and psoriasis often find the irritation to be more severe. It should be pointed out that of the two, SLES causes less irritation.
Part of the reason they are so irritating is because they are very strong cleaners and degreasers. They are such good cleaners that they are used in higher concentrations in commercial applications such as carpet cleaners, engine degreasers, and garage floor cleaners.
There is a lot of controversy over the two ingredients right now. Mostly because not enough studies have been done at the concentration levels that are used in bath & body care products.
Some of the concerns and accusations against SLS and SLES are that they:
- Are used in animal testing to produce skin irritation (on purpose). Then the product that is intended to heal skin is tested to see how effective it is.
- Remain in organ tissues such as the heart, liver, and brain for extended periods of time.
- Lead to development of cataracts if there is prolonged contact with eyes.
- Dry out skin by removing skin’s protective lipids.
- Cause hair loss by corroding hair follicles.
- Can be carcinogenic when combined with other nitrogen ingredients.
At Goat Milk Stuff, we do not use ingredients whose safety is questionable. To us, the safety of SLS and SLES is unclear and so we avoid it.