The Sixth Skin No-No: What is SLS and 3 Skin Damaging Causes


Skincare lovers; you might be familiar with parabens and silicones, but are you in the know of SLS? What is SLS? Known as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, it is a chemical agent commonly found in shampoo, dish detergent, and your favorite facial cleanser. SLS is what makes cleaning supplies foam when you lather. They are also added in skincare products to remove dirt and oils from your skin and hair.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate vs Sodium Laureth Sulfate

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Before we unravel exactly what is SLS, there is another similar sulfate that occurs in beauty products, known as Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES). Do not get both of these mixed up as there is a notable difference between the two.

Both sulfates produce that foamy texture but SLS binds proteins on the surface of the skin more than SLES. Simply put, SLS can potentially be more irritating than SLES.

But does this mean SLES is safer than SLS? Are they even safe to begin with? Here is what you need to know about these ingredients.

What is SLS #1: They cause skin and eye irritation

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SLS is a well-known irritant that can aggravate the skin and eyes. Its irritation depends on its concentration—the higher its concentration, the more irritation it may cause. Anyone with an allergy, or those with sensitive skin should keep a lookout on skincare products with SLS to prevent further irritation.

What is SLS #2: They dry out the skin

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Have you ever stepped out of the shower with skin that feels flaky and dry? This is SLS at its finest, stripping your skin of natural oils, causing it to flake. For those suffering from skin ailments like rosacea, SLS can make matters worse.

Foaming cleansers with SLS or SLES will not spare those with acne and other inflammatory skin conditions as well. Those who have these skin concerns should avoid these products to refrain from dryness and irritation.

What is SLS #3: They cause more acne

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The foaming nature of SLES and SLES can create micro tears, which leaves a film on the skin. This allows dirt and bacteria to get easily trapped underneath. These impurities irritate the skin barrier, causing acne.

Moreover, SLS leaves the skin with that tight feeling, which causes the sebaceous glands to overcompensate and produce more oil. Excess production of oil can clog the pores and cause acne.

Bottom line

SLS and SLES are not irritating for everyone—it really depends on your skin type and concerns. But wiping out these toxic no-nos from your regimen can determine what is truly irritating your skin.

For your next skincare quest, search for products with the “SLS-free” labels on them. Or, opt for oil-based cleansers instead. Keep in mind that foam is not a must to keep you clean, when sulfate-free products can do the same.

Another sulfate-free alternative is the IRÉN Superfruit Booster Customized Serums. These highly concentrated serums use the patented Ziplock Encapsulation to “zip lock” the freshness of active ingredients. This unique technology releases nano-sized actives strategically into the skin, for better absorption.

Mix and match up to three serums for a customized blend. These serums work synergistically to target specific skin concerns. We rid all our serums from the Seven Skin No-Nos, including SLS and SLES. Each serum is packed with an added kick of actives and natural superfruits, designed for happy skin.

The IRÉN Superfruit Booster Customized Serums

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