Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate

This is part of our ongoing series to help consumers better understand chemicals, chemistry, and product formulations. We translate the science, bust the myths, and give you an honest assessment, so you can make informed choices for your family!

Ingredient: Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate

What it is: Sodium lauroyl sarcosinate is derived from sarcosine, a natural amino acid found in the human body and just about every type of biological material from animals to plants. Honest’s sarcosine is made from coconut oil.

What it does: Sodium lauroyl sarcosinate is a cleanser and foam booster that helps with the effectiveness and feel of our toothpaste.

Why we use it: We chose sodium lauroyl sarcosinate because it’s very mild, but also very effective. What’s more, it’s included in the Handbook of Green Chemicals and is also Whole Foods Premium Body Care approved — two stamps of approval that validate our confidence in the safety and sustainability of this ingredient.

Why we’re featuring it today: A customer recently asked us if sodium lauroyl sarcosinate was anything like sodium lauryl sulfate, so we thought we’d clarify the issue for anyone who may share the same concern.

Here’s the 411:

They may have the same initials (SLS), but sodium lauroyl sarcosinate and sodium lauryl sulfate are NOT the same thing. Sodium lauroyl sarcosinate is only similar to sodium lauryl sulfate in that they’re both surfactants, but that’s about where it ends. A comprehensive safety assessment published in the International Journal of Toxicology deemed that sodium lauroyl sarcosinate was not expected to be potentially toxic or harmful, and had no mutagenic, irritating, or sensitizing effects. It ranks a little low in EWG’s database because there are nitrosamine contamination concerns. Nitrosamines are a class of chemicals that are almost all carcinogenic, so this is a valid concern — but there’s no need to worry with our products. The sodium lauroyl sarcosinate raw ingredient we use has been continually tested for nitrosamines, which NO detectable amounts were found. Furthermore, we don’t use any ingredients that could interact with our sodium lauroyl sarcosinate to create nitrosamines. All in all, there’s nothing to worry about.

Have any additional questions about this ingredient? Let us know in the comments. We’re happy to answer!

For more information about nitrosamines, check out this reader-friendly article from The Linus Pauling Institute.

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20 thoughts on “What is Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate?

  1. hi just thought I give a suggestion now that its fall/winter my skin get really dry and this goes for others too. I’ve been using your products for a while now and I personally love your face and body lotion but I just thought again since its getting colder our skin need a but more moister. It’s just a suggestion but I would love it if you took this suggestion in consideration.

    1. Hi Alma! Thanks so much for the suggestion — we know how fall and winter weather can wreak havoc on skin. One trick that our co-founder Jessica Alba swears by for an extra-moisturizing boost is to mix the Honest Body Oil with a dollop of the Face + Body Lotion. She finds this to be really helpful in combatting dry climates and skin. Also, we’ll be sure to pass on your feedback to our Product Development team! Please keep us posted on any and all of your other ideas — we love learning from you.

  2. My question about this is thus: I avoid sodium lauryl sulfate in toothpaste because it tends to break down the mucosa barrier in my mouth and cause me to have more canker sore outbreaks than if I use a toothpaste that doesn’t have it. Does sodium lauroyl sarcosinate cause that mucosa break down or does it help keep that protective lining intact?

  3. Sodium lauryl sulfate is a very strong denaturing surfactant which is able to penetrate cell walls and attach itself to ‘destroy’ the cell protein. This is how it kills bacteria and cells.

    Sodium lauroyl sarcosinate is also a surfactant just like sodium lauryl sulfate but it is very very mild. It does not have enough ‘power’ to ‘destroy’ protein. It does not corrode plastics. Hope this helps.

    Source: I’m a protein biochemist

    1. sweet, huge thank you for explanation. I am shopping for kids toothpaste and it has SL sarcosinate, so it made me doubt the toothpaste…,

  4. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is NOT an amino acid !!!! And it is definitely not found in human body on any living system for that matter !!

  5. Hi some years ago, I was wrongly diagnosed with Barrett’s Esophagus. I read an article by a dr. and he said that sodium lauryl sulfate can cause Barrett’s Esophagus. I’m thankful I didn’t have it, but have used a toothpaste that doesn’t have sodium lauryl sulfate in it and is also for sensitive teeth. Has sodium lauroyl sarcosinte been found to cause, or have any connection with Barrett’s Esophagus?
    Thank you, Nan

  6. Pingback: TO ZERO AND BELOW
    1. You have the wrong ingredient name. Sodium lauryl sulfoacetate is on that list, however sodium lauroyl sarcosinate (which is what this article is about) is not.

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