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  • Lisa

SLS and SLSa - What is the difference?

SLS vs SLSa - what is the difference ? And some other SLS's

I will try to clarify the difference between the two so you know what you are purchasing.

They are surfactants or surface active agents. SO what exactly is that and what does that mean? Surfactants act as detergents, wetting agents, emulsifiers, foaming agents, and dispersants. They make the products that you use on your body, in your washing machine, in your dishwasher, and in dish soap, foam. There are many surfactants, but we will talk about the SLSs.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS), sodium lauryl sulfate (SLES), and sodium lauryl sulfoacetate (SLSa) ingredients that sound and look similar, but are, in fact, completely different.

SLS has a small molecular structure and therefore, penetrates the skin easily. SLS, as well as its close relative SLES, are esters of sulfuric acid. Both can be skin irritants if you have sensitive skin.

SLS is deemed 'safe' to use according to The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) panel, Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CTFA) and other regulatory bodies.

SLES is often contaminated with dioxane, which is a known carciogen. Although SLES might be somewhat less irritating than SLS, it is unable to be metabolized by the liver, which means its effects are much more long lasting. These are generally used in dish detergent, laundry detergent, and other harsh detergents that are used on a day-to-day basis, and also on items not used on skin.

SLSa is derived from coconut and palm oils. SLSa is a safe, skin friendly cleanser that offers rich lather without the irritation potential of some of the other good foamers. Because the molecular size of this surfactant is large it doesn’t penetrate the skin or the mucuos membranes, so it does not cause the skin irritation as other sulfates, making it an excellent choice for soaks and facial cleansers and any other gentle cleansing products.

Is SLSA bad for your hair?

“It’s not proven to be bad for the hair. It’s in fact very mild and removes oils and bacteria and it has good cleansing properties.” But it could be “a tad bit drying on coarser textures.”

Riverlea has SLS in stock (know as GINOPOL - 24 N Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) Needles - Natural based)


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