The Use and Safety of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate in Nu SkinĀ® Products

Quality control is crucial to any company promoting products for better living. Nu Skin was founded on the belief that it could develop products containing beneficial, effective, and safe ingredients. Commitment to this belief means only ingredients that have been determined to be safe by major governmental and regulatory bodies are used. Nu Skin continues to monitor the latest research on ingredient safety to maintain the highest standard of safety and quality.

The scientific committees that review these studies in the United States and Europe are associated with organizations such as the European Commission Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP); Personal Care Products Council (PCPC)-formerly Cosmetics, Toiletries, and Fragrance Association (CTFA); the European Cosmetic Toiletry and Perfumery Association (COLIPA); the Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA); the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); and the American Medical Association (AMA), to name a few. These review boards are made up of unbiased and qualified scientists and professionals that understand the methods of scientific research and are experts in their fields. These committees examine available studies on a given ingredient and determine human safety applications and environmental impact when used in cosmetics. The PCPC provides ingredient safety information to the Cosmetic Industry through the Cosmetic Ingredient Review board (CIR), a program established in 1976 to assess cosmetic ingredient safety in an unbiased, independent forum. The CIR is comprised of an expert panel of respected physicians and scientists. Nu Skin is a member of the Personal Care Product Council and respects CIR recommendations and findings.

What Is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate?
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is a chemical used for its superior foaming quality in hundreds of commercial products including shampoo, bubble bath, mouthwash, and even candy. An extensive study of this compound found that, like other detergent agents, it can cause irritation when left on the skin for extreme periods of time. However, "like many other chemicals, it is the manner of usage that is important. As long as you do not rub it all over your body and reapply it every hour for 24 hours, it's perfectly safe," said researcher, Keith Green, PhD, DSc, of the Medical College of Georgia, who began studying SLS and its compounds in 1982 and carried out his work through 1987. Dr. Green's research has been misquoted in several e-mail messages and statements.

The American Cancer Society in response to circulation of inflammatory emails that question the safety of SLS has reported affirmatively that (SLS) "does not cause cancer," (Ibid). The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) agrees. The National Toxicology Program and the International Agency for Research on Cancer both rate SLS as non-carcinogenic.

A report from an expert panel of the Cosmetic Ingredient Review committee released by the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association concluded, " Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate appear to be safe in formulations designed for discontinuous, brief use followed by thorough rinsing from the surface of the skin. " (Ibid).

Throughout the industry, cosmetic and hygiene companies use SLS and similar detergents to produce the foaming quality that helps to clean more thoroughly by lifting dirt and particles more effectively. Sodium lauryl sulfate can be an irritant if formulated incorrectly, and a shampoo containing 15 percent SLS is tolerable because it comes in contact with the scalp for just a few minutes and is diluted with water while in use. Should it get in the eyes one would certainly want to flush it out as soon as possible, and swallowing a lot is not advised. Those are the greatest dangers SLS poses to the average consumer. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does require that fluoride toothpastes shipped as of April 7, 1998, carry a warning label about the dangers of swallowing too much toothpaste, and sodium lauryl sulfate is identified as one of the three ingredients posing a health risk (along with sorbitol and fluoride), it is because it can cause diarrhea, not because it causes cancer.

Nu Skin's Commitment to Safety
We are aware of the recent concerns involving sodium lauryl sulfate and are closely monitoring all other research connected to this ingredient. As a member of the Personal Care Product Council, Nu Skin continues its commitment to product quality and customer safety.