Health + Infertility – Part 3: Sodium Laureth Sulfate

Today I’m continuing my series on how the environment and household products have an effect on fertility and our health. The first was about BPA and the second was about Triscolan.

Today’s post is about Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS), which is another household product that affects our health. It is a detergent found in personal care products such as body wash, shampoo, deodorant, etc. This is the same chemical that is found in products used to degrease car engines and used in car washes. Eww. Please tell me this disturbs everyone else as much as it does me?

The problem with SLS is when it’s absorbed in our body it mimics estrogen. This is very similar to the chemical Triclosan. It causes a drop in fertility, affects hormone levels, causes PMS, diminishes hair growth and is known to be a contributing factor in cancer. It can also cause skin irritation and eczema on infants (yes SLS is in baby products too – ugh, sickening).

Make sure to check out your cosmetic and household products and avoid SLS, when possible. It might also show up on the back of your bottles as the following:

  • sodium dodecyl sulfate
  • lauryl sodium sulfate
  • sodium n-dodecyl sulfate
  • lauryl sulfate sodium salt

I hope everyone gets rid of all products that contain SLS. It sickens me that this chemical, which has such a negative effect on our health, is allowed and so common. This isn’t just a concern for people desiring to conceive, but in my opinion, everyone. For anyone reading this is who is on the track to motherhood, see the last box in the chart below, sickening!

To find out more about SLS, google SLS + fertility.

 SLS infographic

  • Megan Davis
    Posted at 04:39h, 25 October Reply

    This is really interesting-I had no idea! Do you buy natural shampoo and deodorant? I tried a deodorant and it didn’t work-what kind do you use?

  • Aubrey
    Posted at 06:04h, 25 October Reply

    Where do you buy all of your personal care products? I don’t even want to think about what I have been using all these years! I need to go through my house with a big trash bag!

  • Rachel G
    Posted at 06:16h, 25 October Reply

    I’ve heard of the other big offenders before, but not SLS. Like the others, I’d be interested in a post about what brands you find best for safe alternatives. We use Tom’s brand deodorant and I’ve been using a few “yes to carrots” beauty products because they avoid a few of the “bad guys.”

  • Elisha
    Posted at 07:06h, 25 October Reply

    What kind of personal care products do you use and where do you get them from?

  • Emily (
    Posted at 07:26h, 25 October Reply

    Ugh, this is one area I feel so guilty over! I’d been using Aveda (none of their shampoos use SLS) but they also have a handful of products that have zero sulfates…Damage Remedy being one of them. I used it for so long and loved it, but I got tired of paying the MUCH higher price. I finally gave up and just went back to Matrix Sleek recently…of course it contains SLS and a ton of other chemicals. I knew this, but wasn’t aware of the specific effects of SLS. Definitely not letting that crap sit on my scalp too long! You are inspiring me to switch back to Aveda once this bottle is gone!

  • ds
    Posted at 09:22h, 25 October Reply

    Ew, ew, ew! Stuff liek that just makes my skin crawl! I appreciate knowing the dangers, though. Thank you for sharing! *goes off to check bottles in the bathrooms*

  • Charity
    Posted at 13:21h, 25 October Reply

    You are a wealth of knowledge. I stopped using SLS for my hair because it was making it too dry. I now use a mud hair wash, a little while I read that it wasn’t great for you so I switched over my household goods too. But I had no idea it could affect our fertility! Yikes!! Thanks for sharing this! Any tips on avoiding SLS when out of the home? Do you carry your own soap?

  • torthuil
    Posted at 19:01h, 26 October Reply

    That’s yucky. I remember hearing that companies will pretty much put anything in their products, until someone launches a class action lawsuit. Disturbing. Will have to see if this is in any of my shampoos, deodorants etc. Last thing we need is something to mess up hormones, that’s for sure!

  • Mrs. E
    Posted at 20:04h, 26 October Reply

    So interesting! I’m with you on the ew factor though… Funnily enough, the shampoos I tend to buy (I’m not married to a particular brand) tend to advertise their lack of sodium laureth sulfate. I had no idea why that was a plus, but now I’m glad I’ve been able to avoid it! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Jessica
    Posted at 15:09h, 27 October Reply

    Thanks for the tip on SLS! It’s so disturbing how many chemicals are in everyday products!

  • Ris
    Posted at 22:22h, 28 October Reply

    Yuck! I’ve been avoiding that stuff too. I’ve been using Pureology’s Hydrate line and I love it. It’s sulfate free and it’s expensive, but you just use a tiny bit mixed with a lot of water. (Concentrated) They have lines for all hair types. AWESOME for color treated hair!!! I got my huge bottle at a beauty store out here that’s going out of business. (I liked Loreal’s cheap sulfate free line from the grocery store too- but it did not hold up my color) I tried another kind and did not like it- it was a clear bottle with peach colored shampoo. Can’t recall the name.

  • Kim Adams Morgan
    Posted at 09:11h, 29 October Reply

    Hi Caroline,

    Thanks so much for posting this info. I’m going to check right now to see if it’s on my products. YUCK! Happy late anniversary.


  • Kara
    Posted at 11:29h, 29 October Reply

    I LOVE this post. It is absolutely nuts what ingredients can be found in the products we use on our bodies. I noticed lots of people asking about where to get products, so I wanted to share a site that has some great beauty care products with high quality ingredients. She has an ETSY site you can check out here: and she gives her recipes on her website as well if you want to make the products yourself: Hope this is helpful! Caroline, I’d love to hear what products you use. It can be hard to find high quality products that aren’t high priced, and I know you’re great at being frugal. 🙂

    • Elisha
      Posted at 11:36h, 29 October Reply

      Thanks for the links Kara!

  • Amanda
    Posted at 22:32h, 10 November Reply

    Hey, girl! Just came across this website on SLS and thought you might be interested in it…

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