Ingredient Safety

Have you ever wondered what causes all the foam in commercial products like bubble bath? It’s a chemical called sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) or a similar chemical called sodium laureth sulfate (SLES).  These two chemicals are used not just in bubble bath, but in a huge range of bath and body care products such as shampoo, shaving cream, body wash, toothpaste, and many other products for your skin.

Both ingredients have been known to cause irritation for a lot of people.  But those with sensitive skin and conditions such as eczema and psoriasis often find the irritation to be more severe.  It should be pointed out that of the two, SLES causes less irritation.

Part of the reason they are so irritating is because they are very strong cleaners and degreasers.  They are such good cleaners that they are used in higher concentrations in commercial applications such as carpet cleaners, engine degreasers, and garage floor cleaners.

There is a lot of controversy over the two ingredients right now.  Mostly because not enough studies have been done at the concentration levels that are used in bath & body care products.

Some of the concerns and accusations against SLS and SLES are that they:

  • Are used in animal testing to produce skin irritation (on purpose).  Then the product that is intended to heal skin is tested to see how effective it is.
  • Remain in organ tissues such as the heart, liver, and brain for extended periods of  time.
  • Lead to development of cataracts if there is prolonged contact with eyes.
  • Dry out skin by removing skin’s protective lipids.
  • Cause hair loss by corroding hair follicles.
  • Can be carcinogenic when combined with other nitrogen ingredients.

At Goat Milk Stuff, we do not use chemicals and ingredients whose safety we doubt.  To us, the safety of SLS and SLES is unclear and we do not use either chemical in any Goat Milk Stuff products.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Sarah

    SLS is in a lot of toothpaste, too. I was getting canker sores a lot, and did some research and discovered that SLS was probably causing the irritation. Switched toothpastes to a brand without SLS. I hardly ever get them anymore. For those interested, Burt’s Bees and Sensodyne Pronamel are both SLS free.

    • Sarah – I knew that it was in toothpaste, I didn’t realize that it could cause canker sores. But I’m not surprised.


  • Teresa

    SLS is also in most toothpastes.  My son was told (by his dental hygentist) that he should find a toothpaste without SLS in it to minimize the number of canker sores that he experienced.  So far, in over 2 years since he has changed toothpastes, he has only had 1 canker sore as opposed to having multiple sores at one time.

    • goatmilkstuff

      Isn’t that insane?  It drives me crazy what the FDA allows.