Categorized | Acne

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Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Acne Breakouts

There are several household products which we use on a regular basis that seem safe in respect to acne. Among these multiple items are shampoo and toothpaste. If these two products pose no risk to our skin’s health, why is it that so many of us suffer from acne that is unresponsive to traditional treatments? Could the ingredients contained within these two commonplace products be interfering with the effectiveness of benzoyl peroxide and the like? Common sense says yes.

Most people would be hard-pressed to guess the common denominator that exists between soap, shampoo, toothpaste, and car wash fluid. The similarity which all of these products embody is none other than sodium lauryl sulfate, or SLS. This harmful additive has been in use for several decades, for reasons that stem from our limited accessibility to pure water. In the United States, most homeowners and apartment dwellers are supplied with hard water. This form of water contains a significant concentration of minerals. While these minerals may be beneficial to consume, they pose a problem when it comes to skin care.

When we shower, most of us expect soap to lather when it comes into contact with our wet skin. The problem is that hard water impedes this lathering effect. The minerals within the water react with soap to form soap scum. This soap scum creates a film on our skin, sealing in contaminants and preventing acne medications from properly penetrating. To give the illusion of cleaning, skin care product manufacturers started to include SLS in their products. SLS allows soap to lather despite the impurity of the water used. However, in utilizing this additive, one problem was simply exchanged for another.

SLS has been identified as a skin irritant in numerous studies. Some even believe that it may be a carcinogen. Although no such claims have ever been verified, this chemical is currently classified as a pesticide. Shampoo and toothpaste that make contact with our skin induces an irritating effect. Even minimal amounts of irritation on acne-prone skin can trigger more breakouts. Over-the-counter and prescription acne treatments can only manage so much acne.

You can spare yourself the hassle of continued breakouts by avoiding products that contain this menacing additive. Check the product labels of any toothpastes and shampoos which you are considering purchasing. If you find this additive, keep looking. This additive serves the same purpose in toothpaste as it does in shampoo and soap, so there should be no concern of any adverse effects.

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