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Is Your Toothpaste Making You Breakout?

November 21, 2017

toothpaste making you breakout
by Kali Kushner

Some of us have tried every trick under the sun to cure our acne, diet changes, extremeworkouts, the cavemanregimen, and the list goes on; but what if I told you that curing your acnecould be as simple as switching out your toothpaste?

You heard that right- it could beas SIMPLEas switching out your toothpaste. "How is that?"you'rewondering, "it's not likeI'm putting toothpasteONmy skin?" (and if youare,plz don’t!).That is because of this one specificingredientin your toothpastethat easily causes skin irritation, hormone disruptions,andcreatesreproductivetoxicity.But it isn't just yourtoothpaste where this nastyingredient lingers,no,we're talking about shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and EVEN face wash! This littleacne-causing-skin-irritatingingredient goes by the abbreviation ofSLS, otherwise known as SodiumLauryl Sulfate.




Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is a commonsudsingagent (basically think of anything that foams)used in thousands of cosmetic products and cleaning supplies.It is used in almost every single toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoo, body wash, hair coloring, and liquid foundation on the market.But,it's alsousedas a degreaser inmore "heavy duty" products, includingdishwashing detergent andcarwashing liquid.Although it has a "moderately hazardous" rating and over 90,000studies inPubmed alone linking SLS to various health concerns, the FDA has approved for its use in such products because it isdirtcheap and effective.Sodium Lauryl Sulfate also commonlygoes by the names:


  • Sodium dodecyl sulfate
  • Sulfuric Acid
  • Sodium Salt sulfuric acid
  • Monododecyl ester sodium salt sulfuric acid


AccordingtoMercola.com,"SLS is actually used as a skin irritant during studies where medical treatments for skin irritation require an intentionally irritating agent"

Basically,SLS is notorious for causing inflammation, so much that it is used to purposefully cause inflammation so that anti-inflammatory studies can be conducted.The problem with SLS is that it doesn’t differentiatebetween a dirty car andthe bacteria on your face, it cleans them both the same stripping away any trace of oil (and leaving yourskinoverly irritated).

AnotherstudyinExogenous Dermatologystates, "SLSto be a very "corrosive irritant" to the skin—irritation which persisted in research subjects for 3 weeks. SLS exerts its damage by stripping your skin of protectiveoils and moisture."


sls, irritation, and acne


Your skins barrier has the ability to absorbeverychemical that you put onto it.It is even thoughtby somethat puttingSLS on your skinmay be moredangerous than eating the substance itself.This isbecausewhen you digestthingsyou have enzymes andother waysto break it down, butwhen it is absorbed through the skin, thetoxicity isn'tfiltered and all of the bad stuffgoes straight to your organs.

What's more compelling is that due to the foaming nature of theSLS, it can create microtears and leave a film on the skin.This allows for dirt and other bacteria toeasilyget trapped andirritatethesensitive skin barrier,thus causing acne. Within just one hour of using SLS, it causescracks to form in the skin.

Not only is Sodium Lauryl Sulfateirritating, but it is also extremely pore clogging. After using SLS, your skin will feel extremely clean, almost tooclean, tight, anduncomfortable(something that many people refer to as "squeaky clean"). This is bad news when it comes to the essential oils your skins barrier needs to thrive, without any oil left on your skin, yoursebaceous glands will over compensate and begin to produce more oil. This excess production of oil in turn creates clogged pores which of course causes acne.

Understandably, this is probably whySLS has an overallcomedogenic (pore clogging) rating of 5/5, that means under nocircumstance should this substance beusedon your skin because it has a100% chance of clogging your pores andirritating your skin.Crazy to think that this ingredient is in our makeup, let aloneour facewash?! That don't make no sensebruh.


sudden sls sensitivity


You can be using the same shampoo for months without a problem but then suddenly begin developing an itchy scalp or sensitivity to SLS.How does this work exactly?Well, while afew washes with a SLS product may not do any damage, with continued useovertime SLS can work to break down the skins natural barrier resulting in acne andirritation.

People whosuffer with a compromised skin barrier are going to be moresusceptible to skinirritation and things like acne or eczemawhen using Sodium Lauryl Sulfate filled products.


how to check for sls


Luckily, checking your products to see if they contain SLS is simple, all you have to do is read the label! Most products that do notcontain SLS usually have some sort of label or stamp on the front or back of the package to advertise that they are indeed SLS-free!

It'susuallyeasy to spot SLS-free products,but if you areunsure,you can also useEWG.org website or download thethinkdirty app to check if a product contains SLS or other harmful ingredients!

With that being said, here are some of my hands down favorite SLS-free products!


sls free products



Jasons: Jason carries several differenttoothpaste flavors from cinnamon mint, peppermint, vanilla mint, and tartar control anti-cavity mint; all boastingSLS-freeproperties! My favorite is thePowerful Peppermint fluoride-free toothpaste.





Shampoo and conditioner:

OGX Beauty: OGX carries a large range of shampoos and conditioners that areSLS-free, paraben free, and smell amazing. Some of my favorites are coconut water, coconut milk, and Niacin3withcaffeine for hair growth!





Body Wash:

Dr.Bronner's pure castile soap:Dr.Bronner's has beenaround since, well forever (1858 to be exact). Their soap is fair trade, pure castile soap made with delicious ingredients like coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, and variousaddedessential oilslikeTea Tree,Lavender, Peppermint, and Rose.Dr.Bronners is so gentle and natural that itcan be used as body wash, shampoo,handwash, makeup brush cleaners, and more!


my experience with sls


Switchingyour products toSLS free onesis a great place to start when determining if this chemical is an irritant for your skin or not.Rememberthat everyone is different so Sodium Lauryl Sulfatemay or may notirritate your skin, depending on the sensitivity of your skins barrier.

It was a hugely aggravating factor for myacne and after a few weeks of switching to natural, SLS-free products, I noticed my skin wasn't irritated as easily, nor was my acne asinflamed. I startedby switching out my toothpaste, and when I noticed that the lower half of my face wasn't as inflamed orirritatedis when I moved into SLS-free hair and body care. Now, I still use SLS- free products and try to keep it as natural as possible, making sure the ingredient list is small, yet powerful.



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