Cocas? SLES? SLS?? Which suds are truly skin safe?
Allergic to coconuts?
It’s probably not coconuts you’re allergic to—there are no reported reactions to coconuts or their derivatives—but “coca” surfactants. These sudsing ingredients with “coca” in the name (like cocamide-DEA) are proven allergens. Still, it’s not the coconut derivatives that are allergenic but the “amine” chemicals used to process them. If you tested positive to these surfactants you should be able to safely use coconut oil, monolaurin and other coconut derivatives, as long as they contain no allergenic additives.
SLS & SLES = allergens?
Actually, SLS (Soduim Lauryl Sulfate/Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate) and SLES (Sodium Laureth Sulfate/Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate) are not in the allergen lists of the North American Contact Dermatitis Group and European Surveillance System on Contact Allergies. While some irritant (not allergic) reactions have been reported with SLS, there are far fewer with SLES and, in both cases, irritations seem to be directly related to their concentration in the formulation.
SLS/SLES-Free = Skin Safest?
Not necessarily. While SLS is a known irritant, SLES is far less so. And a product that boasts SLES/SLS-Free might be using “coca”-surfactants to bubble. In terms of more serious health risks, keep in mind that most bubbly products are washed off immediately. It is already unlikely for anything of the molecular size of most cosmetic ingredients to penetrate beyond the dermis (or to even get to the dermis)—this is even more true for products that don’t stay on the skin.
VMV offers a wide range of products that are SLS, SLES, “Coca” and all other allergenic-surfactant-free.