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Jargon Busting part 2


Should we avoid SLS or SLES, and what’s the difference? Do you know how a surfactant works?


Sodium lauryl Sulphate (SLS) is a surfactant, it helps to remove the dirt from your skin and clothes and creates a lather. As far as I can find there is no proof that SLS is bad for people or aquatic life although some people have reported that it irritates their skin. Let us know below if you know any different.

Don’t confuse, as I did, SLS with SLES (Sodium Laureth Sulphate), which some people become sensitized to and it irritates their skin, and may have carcinogenic properties. I’ve just checked my bathroom and pretty much everything has SLES apart from all my Naissance products, my Ecover washing liquids and Jason’s shower gel. Naissance does not use SLS or SLES in any of its products so whatever’s going on you can avoid both of them with us.

Why could SLES be bad for us? I’ve taken this explanation from Quora

“One other concern with sodium Laureth Sulphate is that it is sometimes contaminated with 1,4 dioxane. It goes through a process called ethoxylation (this is where the 'eth' suffix on 'Laureth' comes from). A side reaction of ethoxylation is the production of small amount of 1,4 dioxane. If you're not familiar with it, 1,4 dioxane is a known carcinogen. Thus, some people are concerned about using sodium Laureth Sulphate because of potential long term consequences from exposure to 1,4 dioxane. As a result, some personal care ingredient companies have started making 1,4 dioxane free sodium Laureth Sulphate by adding an extra purification step. It's difficult to ascertain which companies are using the 1,4 dioxane free sodium Laureth Sulphate as it's not required by the FDA to list whether there is trace contamination with 1,4 dioxane on the label.”


How do surfactants (surface active agents) work?

Surfactants break water tension, which allows the water to attach to things more easily. Very basically the surfactants in our personal cleaning products create that rich lather and remove dirt. Imagine a surfactant molecule like a worm with a water hating but oil loving tail and a water loving but oil hating head. The tail gets stuck to the oily dirt and because the head loves water, the whole thing gets washed away when your rinse yourself or your clothes, taking the dirt with it. There are many different types of surfactant with different uses.


So, there you have it. Has it made a difference in your thinking? Do you feel more confident now about how Surfactants work? We hope you do but please let us know.

Coming up Tomorrow … No more fish finger sandwiches!? … I love a good fish finger sandwich, mayonnaise, gherkins, little gem lettuce in the soft floury cocoon of a white roll. Yum yum yum - I conveniently forget about the calories, even though I shouldn’t. I also like ignoring climate change, yolo and all that. Far too terrifying to think about, before you know it your dreams are engulfed with waves. Much like the time I camped a bit too close to the sea, I thought I’d wake up in the middle of the ocean.


Tags: naissance, jargon, beauty, ingredients, microbeads, parabens, no poo, petrolatum, phthalates






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