You should know that the sodium lauryl sulfate, the harmful compound the world wants to avoid, is also called sodium dodecyl sulfate. It may so happen that you look into the label of a product to check for SLS and think that it is safe because SLS is not listed. But SLS may be listed as dodecyl sulfate and you may be making an error of judgment in this manner. So, while you think you are buying a safe product, you may be taking home a bottle of the substance you wanted to avoid in the first place!
The name ‘dodecyl’ comes from the twelve carbon atoms present in this compound. You should know that this is toxic compound and is used for removing stains and residues, often in industrial settings. So, the presence of this compound in products such as shampoos, soaps, face wash, toothpaste and many others is quite disconcerting.
But the fact is that sodium dodecyl sulfate, is rampantly used in the above mentioned products because of two reasons:
- It helps remove dirt sticking to your hair and skin, thanks to its function as a surfactant. Just by washing your hair and face with water, you will not get the same results.
- It creates foam or lather, because of it is an industrial grade detergent. Sadly, lots of people think the more foam a shampoo or toothpaste can create, the better it is! The truth is quite the opposite and a really ‘foamy’ product may contain loads of this harmful compound.
This compound, even if it is present in small amounts can cause damage to your skin, hair, eyes, and even internal organs if you are exposed to it over a long period of time.
You must therefore, make a mental note of these facts about sodium dodecyl sulfate:
- Products containing this compound are not suitable for children because of their tender skin. Also, if you suffer from skin problems such as allergies, you may end up aggravating your problem upon prolonged exposure to this sulfate.
- If you use toothpaste containing this sulfate you can suffer from ulcers known as ‘canker sores’. So, foamy toothpaste is clearly not a wise choice!
Thankfully, sodium dodecyl sulfate is not a carcinogen. But still, its many harmful side effects should be reason enough not to use personal care products of which it is an ingredient. Thus as long as you are using it as a floor cleaner, car wash or an engine degreaser, you are safe!