You might have heard people warning you about Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), a common ingredient in body-care products. SLES is the compound that is responsible for the foaming effect that we expect from products such as toothpaste, shampoo, body wash, and more. It is widely used because it is cheap and it breaks down the molecular structure of grease and oil.
There is much debate over the safety of both Sodium Laureth Sulfate and its close sister, the slightly harsher Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS). However, neither of these are considered a known carcinogen by the American Cancer Society, so anything linking either of these ingredients to cancer is just speculation.
It is important to note, however, that both the American Cancer Society and the FDA agree that SLS and SLES are skin irritants. My beau experienced this first-hand, as I am sure many of you have, too. If you have sensitive skin or if you suspect these are giving you skin problems, try the Jason Organic line, which is free of both SLS and SLES.