What role do sulphates play in skin care products?

Sulphates are so-called wash-active substances used in products for cleansing the skin or hair. Like other cleaning chemicals, sulphates can contribute to dryness and irritation, but the extent of which depends on many factors. To see sulphates on a list of ingredients is not enough to determine whether the product contributes to dryness or not. It depends on the composition of the remaining ingredients and how the product is manufactured.

The two most commonly used sulphates are Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES) and Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS). Both are wash-active substances and are used primarily in rinse-off products, i.e. products that you rinse off after use, such as soaps or shampoos.

Experts and authorities in Europe do not believe that SLES and SLS pose a health risk in cosmetics.

Asthma Allergy Nordic and AllergyCertified allow SLES and SLS.