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What is SLS in Body Wash? Approved Big Technology Delighted

By Avi Green October 01, 2023

In today's world, eco-conscious shoppers like yourself are becoming increasingly aware of the ingredients listed on product labels. One such ingredient that often raises questions is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). But what is SLS in body wash, and why should you care? This comprehensive guide delves into the tremendous impact of SLS on your skin and the environment. We're here to provide you with trustworthy insights that will leave you feeling delighted and well-informed about the choices you make for your personal care.

The Basics: What is SLS?

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is a detergent and surfactant found in many personal care products, including body wash, toothpaste, and shampoo. It has the ability to create a rich lather and effectively remove dirt and oil from surfaces. This makes it a popular choice in the personal hygiene industry. However, its efficacy comes with certain drawbacks that have made it a controversial ingredient.

How Does SLS Work?

SLS is a surfactant, which means it lowers the surface tension of water, making it easier to spread and mix with oils and dirt. When used in body washes, it binds with the oil and dirt on your skin, suspending them in the water, allowing them to be rinsed away easily. While this makes for a cleaner feel, it can also strip your skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness and irritation.

what is sls in body wash

Is SLS Safe for Your Skin?

The safety of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate has been a topic of extensive research and debate. Here are some points of interest:

Skin Irritation

One of the primary concerns with SLS is its potential to irritate the skin. Many studies have found that it can cause redness, dryness, and itching, particularly for individuals with sensitive skin. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) notes that frequent use of products containing SLS can disrupt the skin's natural barrier.

Environmental Impact

Beyond skin concerns, there is also significant worry about the environmental impact of SLS. Given its widespread use, SLS is often found in water systems where it can be toxic to aquatic life. Biodegradation studies show that while SLS does break down over time, it can contribute to water pollution if not handled properly.

Why Do Manufacturers Use SLS?

Despite its potential downsides, many personal care product manufacturers continue to use SLS because of its low cost and high effectiveness. SLS creates the kind of foam and lather that consumers typically associate with cleanliness, making it an appealing ingredient from a marketing standpoint. Additionally, its ability to break down oils and grease means it serves as an efficient cleaning agent in a variety of products.

Is There an Approved Alternative?

The good news is, there are many eco-friendly alternatives to SLS that you can look for when choosing body wash. These alternatives, such as Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate and Decyl Glucoside, provide the cleansing power needed without the harsh side effects.

Choosing SLS-Free Products

As eco-conscious shoppers, opting for SLS-free products can be a tremendous step towards better skin health and environmental sustainability. Here are some tips for making the switch:

Read Labels Carefully

Always check the ingredient list when purchasing a new body wash. Look for terms like 'SLS-free' or 'sulfate-free.' These labels are good indicators that the product is formulated without harsh sulfates. For more about reading labels effectively, check out our guide on ingredient tips.

Look for Natural Ingredients

Opt for body washes made with natural, gentle ingredients such as aloe vera, chamomile, and essential oils. These ingredients can cleanse your skin without stripping it of its natural moisture. You can find more about natural ingredients here.

Consult Reviews

User reviews can be a valuable resource. Check online platforms to see what other eco-conscious shoppers have to say about the product. Their experiences can guide you towards a body wash that is effective and gentle. Read our take on the importance of reviews here.


Is SLS the same as SLES?

No, SLS and SLES (Sodium Laureth Sulfate) are different. While both are used as detergents and surfactants, SLES is often considered less irritating than SLS.

Can SLS cause allergies?

Some people may experience allergic reactions to SLS, such as hives or rashes. If you have sensitive skin, it is advisable to perform a patch test before using products containing SLS.

What are some common signs of SLS irritation?

Common signs include redness, itching, and a stinging sensation. If you experience any of these symptoms, discontinue use and consult a healthcare professional. For more tips on skincare, refer to this comprehensive guide.

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