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.