Sodium Laureth Sulfate - 11 Interesting Facts


Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) is considered to be something of an extremely close relative to sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). If either of these chemicals sound very familiar to you, there’s a good reason for that.

Both of these chemicals are quite prevalent in some of the products you use every single day of your life. Both SLS and SLES are a very common ingredient in shampoo.

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SLES In Modern Times
In recent years, sodium laureth sulfate, whose origins can be traced back to the fact that it is derived from the coconut, and the fact that the coconut tree was so important in certain cultures, has received a bit of negative attention.

A growing number of people are becoming concerned that SLES is the cause for a number of skin and hair problems. As more and more people become concerned with the potential negatives of using shampoos and other products containing SLES, it is something that you may want to look into for yourself.

By understanding the basics of SLES, you can better appreciate its good and bad points.

While a lot of people, including a number of health experts, will tell you that the negatives of SLES are more significant than its positive points, the final decision on the matter is actually yours to make.

Is Sodium Laureth Sulfate Good Or Bad?

Answering the question of whether or not sodium laureth sulfate is good or bad is not as easy as matter as you might think. You’re going to need to become familiar with the basics of SLES, and you’re going to want to determine whether or not this knowledge applies to your situation.

As the number of people who have complained about different consequences arising from the use of SLES shampoos increases, there’s a very good chance that you may need to begin exploring alternative shampoo products.

Thankfully, there are alternative shampoo products that you can explore. But first, let’s take a look at the basics of sodium laureth sulfate:

  • Sodium laureth sulfate (in addition to sodium lauryl sulfate) is the primary foaming agent in your shampoo. That chemical is the reason why you’re enjoying that rich, foamy lather, as you work to apply the shampoo to your scalp.
  • The inclusion of SLES in shampoo and other products is a practice that has been going on for quite some time now. You can trace back its use by a number of decades.
  • Because of this foaming property, SLES is chemically referred to as a surfactant.
  • Although SLES is responsible for eliminating that feeling of oily buildup in your hair, there are a number of negative components to SLES that are getting an increasing amount of negative attention from both consumers and others.
  • One of the first negative aspects to SLES is that it has been shown in a number of individuals to act as something or an irritant. Although SLES is considered to be slightly less irritating than SLS, consumers from all walks of life still complain that shampoos containing SLES have irritated their skin and hair in a variety of ways. Typically, the complaints revolve around their scalp feeling irritated after use, as well as their eyes.
  • SLES shampoo products have also been known to leave the hair feeling uncomfortably dry, fuzzy, or even tangled.
  • Some people even have strong allergies to SLES shampoo products, which compels them to seek alternatives to SLES shampoos.
  • Sodium laureth sulfate has also been known to contain dioxane, which is a known carcinogen.
  • Studies show that a concentration consisting of as little as 0.5% has the potential to act as an irritant. Conduct a little research, and you’ll find that a number of products have an SLES concentration of as high as 10-30%. For those who are particularly sensitive to SLES, we’re talking about a considerable irritant that can affect the eyes, scalp, hair, and skin.
  • SLES has also been shown to strip your hair of essential oils. This is what causes the hair to feel and even look dried out.
  • It is also possible for SLES to strip your skin of some of its proteins. This can lead to your skin becoming overly sensitive to environmental contaminants.
  • SLES is also a chemical that is capable of causing both short and long-term damage to the environment itself.

Alternatives To SLES
All of the above information should be kept in mind, when it comes to the subject of sodium laureth sulfate. The more you learn about this chemical, the more likely you are to want to explore your alternatives. Thankfully, there are indeed alternatives that are available to you. SLES free shampoos are becoming more and more popular with consumers.

Using natural ingredients, these organic shampoo alternatives have definitely found a place with those who no longer wish to use SLES-based shampoo products. These shampoos have also been proven to offer consumers a green-friendly alternative.