Avoid This Ingredient if You Have Sensitive Skin: SLS-Free Recommendations
For a good portion of my adult life I have struggled with acne.
During my twenties, it turned out that a majority of my acne was caused by extreme food sensitivities/allergies. And as soon as those sensitivities where discovered my acne cleared up.
Until…my late 30s.
After having my little one, I started to battle acne again. Nothing I did seemed to make it better. In fact, everything I did seemed to make it worse.
At one point, I even was told by my doctor that it could be cause by candida overgrowth, but the creams that he gave me made it worse.
I tried different cleanses and supplements to help with the possible candida overgrowth, and while I would tell myself I was seeing a little improvement…in reality, I wasn’t.
Honestly, it was humilitating to be a 40 something year old woman with acne on her face.
And then, one day it dawned on my that a majority of the “acne” was near my mouth…where my toothpaste could touch.
A quick google search confirmed my suspicions. Toothpaste (along with countless other beauty products) has an ingredient that can cause a lot of people to experience skin sensitivities. That product is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
I read about recommendations to brush your teeth first and then wash your face. Something I had always done in the opposite way because I drink my coffee while getting ready for the day.
I figured…easy fix. Right? Then I realized that the face wash I used had SLS as well!
Questions about Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
Before you panic like I did, I wanted to make sure to point out some differences in different ingredients that look similar.
Does Sodium Lauryl Sulfate have different names?
One thing to consider if a product is causing skin inflammation, but it looks like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is not listed, is that it might be listed under another name.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is sometimes called by other names, including sulfuric acid monododecyl ester sodium salt, sodium salt, hydrogen sulfate, dodecyl alcohol, sodium dodecanesulfate, and sodium monododecyl sulfate.
Is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate also called Sodium Laureth Sulfate?
No, Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) is a different ingredient, although it is derived from Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS).
Is Sodium Laureth Sulfate as abrasive Sodium Lauryl Sulfate?
No, in fact, Sodium Laureth Sulfate is so much less abrasive that it is even used in products for babies. It wouldn’t hurt to eliminate products that have it temporarily if you think it is causing irritation to your skin.
Is Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate a Sulfate?
No, although the names do sound similar it is not a sulfate. This ingredient might be too strong and drying for some people with sensitive skin. If your shampoo does include this ingredient make sure to follow with a conditioner to make sure the cuticle closes after so your hair does not become too dry.
It might take some searching, but if you determine that SLS is causing skin irritation you can absolutely find products that are free of it.
I have some SLS-Free recommendations that I am currently using and pleased with.
I am really loving doTERRA’s OnGuard Toothpaste. It does take a bit of an adjustment to start using a toothpaste that does not foam up as much when brushing your teeth, but truly it is not necessary. Foaming is just something we have gotten used to and the irritation that SLS causes is not worth it.
I have also heard that Tom’s of Maine Botanically Bright does not have SLS. I have not personally used it so can not say whether or not I would personally recommend it.
I had a hard time finding an SLS-Free shampoo at the stores near me (but I do live in a rural area). Luckily, I did eventually find the L’Oreal SLS-Free line of shampoos and I am really liking the EverPure Moisture Shampoo. I chose it because my hair has been pretty dry lately and I really love the scent of rosemary.
As I mentioned before, I was surprised when I realized that my face wash had SLS. That was a discouraging realization for someone who had been battling acne for a long time. Irritating actually.
I immediately got online and ordered the two different facial cleansers from doTerra. And I am not recommending that you go out and stock up on different products. I had a bunch of points to use and because I have such sensitive skin I want to make sure that I end up with a product that I really love.
I ordered the Facial Cleanser and the Verage line. Turns out I really like the Facial Cleanser and I love the Verage line. The first time I used the Facial Cleanser it was unmistakable how great it made my skin feel. And so I used this cleanser for a few weeks to make sure not to confuse the results of either facewash.
Eventually, I tried the Verage line. And, while my first time using it was not quite as amazing at the first time I used the Facial Cleanser, it was how my skin felt and looked the rest of the day that made me love this line.
SLS-Free Body Wash
Luckily, I was already using a body wash that is SLS Free. I have been using the doTERRA SPA Refreshing Body Wash for some time. About a half a year ago I got it along with the rest of the Total doTERRA SPA Kit by using points.
SLS-Free Shaving Cream
When I realized that SLS was causing irritation to my skin, I was surprised to learn it was in my shaving cream.
I had not had much of an issue with skin irritations on my legs, except for possibly near my knees. I decided to look for a shaving cream that did not have SLS. And it turns out that was a bit difficult (at least in a brick and mortar store) to do but did eventually find Gillette’s Satin Care Ultra Sensitive.
After about a month, I have decided to switch back to the brand I was using before. This time I am going to use their shaving cream for sensitive skin even though it does have SLS. That product is Barbasol Thick & Rich Sensitive Skin.
Honestly, I think the skin on the legs is considerably tougher than the skin on more sensitive parts of the body, so for me, it is not that big of a deal. However, if you are experiencing inflammation or irritation on your legs I would look for a product that does not have SLS in it. You will probably have more luck looking online.
Need help soothing irritated skin?
Check out my post 8 Essential Oils to Prevent or Soothe Dry Skin to learn natural ways to soothe skin.