sodium laureth sulfate
- Categories: Cleansing Agents
Sodium Laureth Sulfate at a Glance
- Cleansing agent that produces a foaming/lathering effect
- Commonly found in facial cleansers, body washes, and shampoos
- Can be derived from coconut or produced synthetically
- Recognised as gentle and safe by numerous industry experts/organisations
- Appears as a slightly hazy or clear solution in its raw state
Sodium Laureth Sulfate Description
Sodium laureth sulfate (also referred to by its acronym, SLES) is a commonly used cleansing agent that can be derived from coconut or produced synthetically, although even the coconut-derived source is processed to the point where it is no longer considered natural. It is known for producing a foaming/lathering effect and is considered gentle in normal cosmetic use (typically in face/body cleansers and shampoos).
In the late 1990s an e-mail hoax surfaced claiming that sodium laureth sulfate was a dangerous ingredient. This allegation has been dispelled by numerous industry experts/organisations. For decades, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review has officially deemed sodium laureth sulfate as safe, with the latest reported use studied in up to a 50% concentration.
Despite the name similarity, sodium laureth sulfate is NOT the same as sodium lauryl sulfate, which can indeed be irritating to skin. Sodium laureth sulfate is a milder on skin due its different chemical structure.
As a raw material, sodium laureth sulfate appears as a slightly hazy or clear solution.
Sodium Laureth Sulfate References
CosmeticsInfo.org, Accessed April 2021, ePublication
International Journal of Toxicology, July 2019, pages 151S-161S
American Chemical Society, October 2017, ePublication
Contact Dermatitis, January 2003, issue 1, pages 26-32
Food and Chemical Toxicology, March 2001, pages 279-286
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