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Sodium laureth sulfate
Sodium laureth sulfate, or sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES), is a detergent and surfactant found in many personal care products (soaps, shampoos, toothpaste etc.). It is an inexpensive and very effective foamer.
Its chemical formula is CH3(CH2)10CH2(OCH2CH2)nOSO3Na. Sometimes the number represented by "n" is specified in the name, for example laureth-2 sulfate. The commercial product is heterogeneous, both in the length of the alkyl chain (12 being the mode of the number of carbon atoms), and in the number of ethoxyl groups, where n is the mean. n=3 is common in commercial products. SLES can be derived from ethoxylation of SDS.
Effects on sensitive skin
Products containing these substances can affect those prone to eczema and other irritants. These substances provide a foaming quality to the product, allowing for better distribution of the product while washing hair or skin and while brushing teeth. When rinsed off, the product will have cleaned the area but will have taken moisture from the top layers of skin. In people with sensitive skin (prone to dermatitis, acne, eczema, psoriasis and chemical sensitivity), the drying property of these type of detergents can cause flare-ups of skin conditions or may worsen existing conditions.
The Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association (CTFA) and the American Cancer Society have stated that the common belief that SLES is a carcinogen is an urban legend, a view confirmed by toxicology research by the OSHA, NTP, and IARC. SLES and SLS, and subsequently the products containing them, have been found to contain parts-per-thousand to parts-per-million levels of 1,4-dioxane, with the recommendation that these levels be monitored. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers 1,4-dioxane to be a probable human carcinogen (having observed an increased incidence of cancer in controlled animal studies, but not in epidemiological studies of workers using the compound), and a known irritant (with a no-observed-adverse-effects level of 400 milligrams per cubic metre). While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration encourages manufacturers to remove this contaminant, it is not currently required by federal law.
Connections to ulcers
The large majority of toothpastes sold in the U.S. contain Sodium laureth sulfate (SLS), which is known to cause aphthous ulcers in certain individuals. Using a toothpaste without SLS will reduce the frequency of aphthous ulcers in persons who experience aphthous ulcers caused by SLS. However, some studies find no connection between SLS in toothpaste and mouth ulcers.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Sodium_laureth_sulfate". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|