Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate

What Is It?

Sodium lauryl sulfate and ammonium lauryl sulfate are widely used surfactant in shampoos, bath products, hair colorings, facial makeup, deodorants, perfumes, and shaving preparations; however, they can also be found in other product formulations.

Why is it used in cosmetics and personal care products?

Sodium lauryl sulfate and ammonium lauryl sulfate are surfactant that help with the mixing of oil and water. As such, they can clean the skin and hair by helping water to mix with oil and dirt so that they can be rinsed away or suspend poorly soluble ingredients in water. 

Safety Information:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) includes sodium lauryl sulfate on its list of multipurpose additives allowed to be directly added to food. Sodium lauryl sulfate and ammonium lauryl sulfate are also approved indirect food additives. For example, both ingredients are permitted to be used as components of coatings.

The safety of sodium lauryl sulfate and ammonium lauryl sulfate has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review  (CIR) Expert Panel on two separate occasions (1983 and 2002), concluding each time that the data showed these ingredients  were safe in formulations designed for brief, discontinuous use, followed by thorough rinsing from the surface of the skin. In products intended for prolonged contact with skin, concentrations should not exceed 1%.  

More safety Information:

Sodium lauryl sulfate and ammonium lauryl sulfate may be used in cosmetics and personal care products marketed in Europe according to the general provisions of the Cosmetics Regulation of the European Union .

Is there any truth to the Internet rumors about sodium lauryl sulfate?

Since 1998, a story has been circulating on the Internet that states that sodium lauryl sulfate can cause cancer. This allegation is unsubstantiated and false.  In fact, in a 2002 safety review, the CIR Expert Panel assessed all of the data on sodium lauryl sulfate and concluded that “[n]one of the data suggested any possibility that sodium lauryl sulfate or ammonium lauryl sulfate could be carcinogenic.  Despite suggestions to the contrary on the Internet, the carcinogenicity of these ingredients is only a rumor.”

You can find out more about this Internet hoax at the following links:
1.    American Cancer Society
2.    Snopes.com

How can I determine when an e-mail is an Internet hoax?

It can sometimes be difficult to tell if an e-mail, or other information we see on the Internet, is true or false. Misinformation can be dangerous and it is important to be sure that the information you have is true and factual. Some people seeking to use misinformation for their own purposes may represent the e-mail as being factual. It is very important to get the facts.

The following Websites might be helpful in determining when a message is a hoax:
5.    Urban Legends