SLS and Parabens: What are they and what do they do?

We at Amrutam firmly believe that it is the right of all our customers to have access to knowledge about their products and what is put in them. Today’s article will cover a brief introduction and discussion on what SLS and Parabens are and why they are used in products like shampoos, toothpaste, etc.


Let’s kick things off with SLS or Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. Researchers and scientists better know this synthetic chemical as SDS or Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate. A variety of domestic as well as industrial products contain SLS. Most notably, it is used in detergents for its cleaning property. Personal hygiene products also make use of it in lower concentrations. Toothpaste, Shampoos, Soaps and Shaving Creams all contain SLS as a foaming and thickening agent. It is also used as an emulsifier in certain foods and the FDA classifies it as a safe ingredient for consumption.

Due to the nature of the compound, it acts as an excellent de-greasing or oil-removing-substance. Its use in shampoos and other products can potentially strip your hair and skin of its natural oils. SLS is classified as a surfactant, a compound that allows the intermixing of two liquids by reducing the surface tension. Simply put, SLS is capable of removing oils from clothes or other surfaces while producing foam. SLS is an active ingredient in several industrial-grade cleaning and degreasing products. However, the concentration of the compound is much higher in such products.

“Dangers” of Using of SLS

Concerns regarding the use of SLS have increased over the years. The major reason being the use of SLS in both personal sanitation products as well as industrial products. A safety assessment of SLS published 1983 states that the compound is not harmful for human use. The reports advises against prolonged exposure to skin or hair and states that one should rinse the product off thoroughly after use.

The dangers of using SLS seem restricted to mild irritation and dryness according to various studies conducted over the years. Several studies have concluded that SLS is not carcinogenic in nature and is safe for “discontinuous, brief use followed by thorough rinsing from the surface of the skin”. Prolonged exposure to SLS may cause irritation and dryness, although the effects may be harsher for people with skin issues.

Our Shampoos contain a meager 0.0009% of SLS to induce foaming and is completely safe for use. As long as application times do not last more than a minute or two, no adverse effects will be observed.


The next compound we shall be talking about are Parabens. They are preservatives that prolong the shelf life of cosmetic and personal care products. In addition to being used in Shampoos, Soaps, Moisturizers and Makeup, Parabens play an important role in the food industry. These compounds and their salts have potent anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Research has yet to identify the exact mode of action of Parabens. The most commonly accepted theory is that they disrupt the membrane formation process and hinder microbial growth. Most commercially used varieties are synthetically manufactured, despite the existence of natural sources of Paraben.

“Dangers” of Using of Parabens

Over the past few years, much controversy and discussion about Parabens and their use has emerged. Although studies state that exposure to single Paraben types has negligible health risks, the widespread presence of the compound in several daily objects multiplies this risk. The FDA states that they the presence of Parabens in cosmetics has no effect on human health. Topical application will not result in dryness or irritation.

The human skin is capable of easily absorbing Parabens and transmitting them to the blood, according to recent studies. This is particularly troubling as Parabens are capable of affecting the endocrine system and may induce harmful reactions. Most Health and Food Administration Agencies over the world are of the opinion that the current levels of Parabens in foods and cosmetics are not a problem.

The low levels of the compound in one single product are incapable of inducing severe reactions. However, these claims take into account single-product exposure and do not consider the “cumulative impact of many products used over many years” as put by the U.S. Environmental Working Group. Several types of research also claim that Paraben usage is linked with the development of cancer, especially Breast Cancer. Although no study has yet proved the claim, the presence of Parabens in cancerous tissues is cause for concern.

In addition to the above mentioned health effects, Parabens also find their way into the environment relatively easily. The use of the compound in a large number of products allows them to find their way to water sources. Parabens and their derivatives have potent endocrine disrupting factors when present in higher concentrations. As such, the accumulation of these products in the environment is potentially dangerous.

Amrutam Products are 100% Paraben Free and use safer, environmentally viable alternatives for the same.


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