Skip to main content

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 6, 2023.

Excipient (pharmacologically inactive substance)

What is it?

Sodium lauryl sulfate (C12H25SO4Na) is a surface-active agent used in cleaning and cosmetic products. It is also known by the term sodium dodecyl sulfate. It is used in industrial strength degreasers, floor cleaners, bubble bath and toothpastes. In the pharmaceutical industry, it has been used as an excipient in dissolvable dosage forms.

Sodium lauryl sulfate has not been shown to be carcinogenic (cancer-causing) when either applied directly to the skin or consumed. However, in animal studies sodium lauryl sulfate has been shown to be irritating to the eyes and skin when applied topically. If sodium lauryl sulfate is left in contact with human skin and not washed immediately, concentrations should not exceed one percent.[1] Sodium lauryl sulfate has also been implicated in causing canker sores, often from use of toothpaste or mouthwashes that contain this ingredient.[2]

List of medications using Sodium Lauryl Sulfate


  1. CIR publication (1983). "Final Report on the Safety Assessment of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate". International Journal of Toxicology 2 (7): 127–81. Accessed on August 30, 2011
  2. The Mayo Clinic. Health Information. Canker Sore: Causes. Accessed on August 30, 2011

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.