This ingredient can be found in many of our hair and skincare products. Its primary function is to remove dirt, oil and buildup regardless of the surface. I say this because the same ingredient that we spread on our body surfaces is also used (in higher concentrations of course) in engine degreasers and floor cleaners! Can you imagine using the same chemical to clean your face/hair to clean your engine?!
In addition to removing oil, dirt and buildup SLS also:
- Affects Oestrogen levels in the body
- Possible damage to the immune system
- Causes epidermal changes
- Possible damage to the hair follicle
While SLS is deemed to be noncarcinogenic, check out what Snopes has to say about it.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (or SLS) is the cheap chemical used primarily to create the lather that we have all come to associate with cleanliness. Lather equals clean, right? NO! So, how should we go about cleansing our hair? As Lorraine Massey advises us in Curly Girl, you can adopt a No-Poo technique (also called co-washing).
When using products containing SLS, you are stripping your skin and hair of oil and dirt. Because you have stripped all oil (including your natural oil), this leaves you with dry skin and hair. No wonder it is so critical to 1. shampoo and 2. condition. The conditioner is making an attempt to restore the natural oils that you just removed with the aid of SLS.
There are a few alternatives to SLS and we will discover those in future posts.