Is Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate Safe?

by Sebastian

Sodium dodecyl sulfate, also known more commonly as sodium lauryl sulfate, is one of the most common ingredients in consumer products like shampoos, toothpaste, washing products, and even some cosmetics and beauty products. It is basically a cheap detergent derived from palm oils and coconut, but after undergoing various treatments, the applications of sodium dodecyl sulfate expand.

A few years back, rumors spread that sodium dodecyl sulfate is an extremely dangerous chemical that can lead to skin problems, including irritation and even cancer. Clearly, that was not true, but at first, people were quick to believe these rumors because they didn’t know much about this widely-used chemical. 

Now, if you were a chemist, you would know that this is a natural substance with zero harmful effects, but not everyone is a chemist. So we are here to help you understand what exactly SDS is and what are the uses of sodium dodecyl sulfate. 

Is Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate Safe?

SDS, or SLS(sodium lauryl sulfate), is what experts would call a surfactant. It is a substance that reduces the surface tension of the ingredients so they can react better and bond better. That is why SDS is so common amongst cleaning products because it is a very good foaming agent.

However, seeing as it was an ingredient in cleaning products, cosmetic product consumers thought this was a harmful chemical, and that’s when the rumor started to spread. People were so concerned about the use of sodium dodecyl sulfate in beauty products that the International Journal Of Toxicology carried out extensive research and later published an article stating that sodium dodecyl sulfate is not harmful. 

The article stated that if SDS was briefly used on the skin and rinsed off, it can cause no harm at all. So, the use of SDS in soaps and shampoos is completely permitted. Even the Food and Drug Administration(FDA) approved the use of sodium dodecyl sulfate as a food additive. Another study in 2015 proved the use of SDS in cleaning products to be safe as well.

So, if we were to summarize the whole research of FDA and International Journal Of Toxicology, the use of sodium dodecyl sulfate in cleaning products, beauty products, and consumer products is completely safe.

Products That Use Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate

As we said earlier, once it got the green light from the FDA and the International Journal Of Toxicology, sodium dodecyl sulfate became a very common ingredient in a wide range of consumer products. From shaving foam to shampoos and house cleaning products to packaged food, you can find sodium dodecyl sulfate listed on the ingredients list on the majority of the products in your house. Here is a list of consumers products that commonly use SDS:

  • Grooming Products: Whether you look at male grooming products or female grooming products, you can see SDS on the ingredient lists. From make-up removers to hand sanitizer to shaving lotions, everything uses SDS.
  • Creams, Shampoos, & Lotions: Hand creams, hand sanitizers, moisturizing lotions, hair shampoo and conditioners, and even hair gel and dye colors use sodium dodecyl sulfate.
  • Dental Products: Toothpaste, mouthwash, and the new teeth whitening products.

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