What’s that in your cleanser?

Did you know that in many facial cleansers, especially those for oily skin, there is this ingredient ‘Sodium Lauryl Sulfate‘ or ‘SLS’ and usually listed in the first 3 items in the ingredient list? And the higher up the list, the more percentage of it being used in the product. It is actually derived from coconut or palm oil and used as a surfactant in many cleaning products. As natural as it sounds, the chemical involved or produced is totally not. SLS is present in many of the cosmetics or skin products. So what’s the problem?

Yes, SLS is there to remove oil from the skin. Ironically, it actually strips your skin of its protective barrier as well, over-drying your skin and thus causing irritation. And needless to say, breakouts on skin happen thereafter. This is so true for me! Ever since I discovered this fact, I started looking into the ingredient list of my skincare products and tossing those with SLS out. And my skin has calmed down very much as compared to the many years that I struggled with acnes.

Sadly, MANY of the cleansers in the market contain SLS. Besides, the irritation on the skin, it could cause greater harm, such as cancer. Exaggeration? I don’t know about that. Nowadays, almost every other thing can be cancer-causing.  You can google for ‘Sodium Lauryl Sulfate’ and read up. Another lesser evil, but still an evil, is “Sodium Laureth Sulfate“. Read again. It’s a different name. What’s with all these ingredient names? Basically, it has the same purpose, just a lesser evil.

Ok, now, let me introduce the cleanser I am using now that has no SLS. Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser.


It costs me approximately S$10 at Venus Beauty or Pink Beauty stores. It costs a bit more at other drugstores. Still, it’s very cheap for a cleanser that does its job on my skin without breaking me out. Don’t expect too much from it though. It basically does just that. Washing away dirt. It cannot remove makeup. No extra skincare benefits. It doesn’t foam up. So it actually does feel kinda weird and leaves you wondering if it really cleans your skin or not. I wonder why this cleanser was formulated this way. Anyway, I am still quite happy with it!

Interestingly, I also did some random search on some cleansers under the different brands and realised that most of the high end brands  DO NOT contain SLS or SLES. It’s no wonder that those products cost that much. One of such example is SK-II Facial Treatment Cleanser. It uses Sodium Lauroyl Glutamate as the surfactant. It is indicated, under the Naturopathica Holistic Health site, that it has excellent cleansing and foaming properties, is environmentally-friendly and well-tolerated by sensitive skin types. Makes me wanna own a SK-II Facial Treatment Cleanser! Only when I feel really rich I would actually splurge US$70 on this! But then, you just never know, it might just be tomorrow that I would feel rich. ;D


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