Skin IQ (38 of 60) – What is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate?

October 27, 2011

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is an anionic surfactant. 1 It is widely used in cosmetics and oral topical pharmaceutical formulations, and is often included in products as an emulsifying agent or detergent1.

Some people are concerned that SLS may be harmful.  NICNAS, the government body regulating chemicals including cosmetic ingredients in Australia, notes that the risk from this ingredient is minimal2.

1 Rowe RC, Skeskey, PJ, Quinn ME (eds). Handbook of Pharmaceutical Excipients 6th ed.  Pharmaceutical Press:London, 2009:651-653. 
2 NICNAS. Chemicals commonly used in cosmetics factsheet [online]. [cited 30/07/2013]. Available from URL: http://www.nicnas.gov.au/issues-and-consultations/publications/information-sheets/existing-chemical-info-sheets/factsheet-1

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