What is SLS and SLES?

Sulphate compounds are found in many personal care products such as shampoos, facial cleansers and body washes.The main sulphates used in skin care are sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), sodium dodecyl sulphate and sodium laureth sulphate (SLES). These compounds are produced from petroleum and plant sources such as coconut and palm oil.

The main use for SLS and SLES in products is to create lather, giving a stronger impression of cleaning power.

When they’re used in shampoos, sulfates are very efficient cleansers — maybe too efficient — and can pull a lot of natural oil from hair and skin.

The potential symptoms of an issue with SLS are redness, sensitivity, dryness, flaking, or a ‘tight’ feeling; most products containing sulphates foam, and your skin will probably feel squeaky clean afterwards - but do you really want your skin to feel like your dishes? That tight, 'clean' feeling is the result of your natural oils being swiped away, your skin drying out and your all-important barrier being impaired.

Some studies have suggested that SLES are safer to use than SLS, however, both have a potential irritant effect.

Try going sulfate-free for a week to see if it makes a difference for you. This can help eliminate sulfate as cause for your irritation.







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