The Evils of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)

Some skin care ingredients really don’t make sense. One of these is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – called SLS for short.

Posted on | Arthur Perry, MD, FACS | Comments ()

Some skin care ingredients really don’t make sense.  One of these is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – called SLS for short. 

This is a surfactant – a detergent. It causes suds and foaming.  And it’s in shampoo, soap, and toothpaste. 

But SLS irritates skin for up to a week after use.  And this is so predictable that scientists use it as the gold standard – for irritation!  

It fries skin proteins and destroys your good oils.  It causes inflammation, free radicals, and you get a burning sensation and red, tight, and dry skin.   If your skin feels dry when you come out of the shower, it may well be an SLS effect. So, what do you do?  You reach for a moisturizer.

Another product that you probably don't need.

Many moisturizers contain vitamins and steroids and antioxidants that help this irritation.  But the real answer?  Look for SLS on the label and simply avoid it.

Blog written by Arthur Perry, MD, FACS
Dr. Perry has over 2 decades of experience as a clinical surgeon and has been named to the “Best Doctors in the NY Area” book...