Chemical Structure / July 19, 2018 / Reina Huffman
Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), an accepted contraction of sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES), is an anionic detergent and surfactant found in many personal care products (soaps, shampoos, toothpaste etc.). SLES is an inexpensive and very effective foaming agent. SLES, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS), and sodium pareth sulfate are surfactants that are used in many cosmetic products for their cleaning and emulsifying properties. They behave similarly to soap.
It is produced on a large scale and is primarily used in the production of polymers, but also sees use in food processing, and as a process fluid in low-temperature heat-exchange applications. In the European Union, it has the E-number E1520 for food applications. For cosmetics and pharmacology, the number is E490.
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