Sodium Laureth Sulfate (aka SLES)

Written by
on August 29, 2017

Hi and welcome to Talking Toxins with Rachel…

Toxin of the week:  Sodium Laureth Sulfate (aka SLES), not to be confused with Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)


So what are they?

SLES is a surfactant and cleansing detergent that is used as a foaming agent in products.


What do I find them in?

Shampoos, personal care products such as body wash, face wash, toothpaste and bubble bath to name a few, it is also used in cleaning products.


Why should I be concerned?

Can be a skin irritant or trigger allergies (through sensitization). SLES goes through a process called ethoxylation. A side reaction that sometimes occurs during ethoxylation is that a small amount of 1,4 dioxane is produced. 1,4 dioxane is a known carcinogen. Some companies take extra precautions and make a 1,4 dioxane free SLES.


So what can I do?

Read labels, educate yourself about the ingredients in your personal care products.



The FDA does not require to list trace amounts of 1,4 dioxane on the ingredient list.



Beauty Counter:


Rachel Kuehn
Wife, Mother, Nurse and Oil Lover!

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