Sodium Lauryl Sulfate Is Doing Something Crazy to Your Skin

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Every now and again we hear of something in the world of beauty that seems so far-fetched that it makes us scratch our heads and think to ourselves, “Could that really happen?” While some of these out-of-the-box scenarios have come to fruition, others are nothing more than an exercise in futility and never amount to anything. The latest thing that’s buzzing about that caught our attention is the idea of making the skin waterproof, and there’s some research out there that actually backs up the claim.

Recently, an article was published in Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, that said that some of the most commonly found cleansing agents (read: surfactants and sulfates) in cosmetic products may actually be able to control the outermost layer of skin, which serves as a protective barrier between the outside elements of the environment and the underlying layers of tissue. Because the deeper tissues respond well to products and their “wet ability” can be altered, it’s thought that now scientists have the first layer of work done in the quest to figure out how to waterproof skin.

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“It’s quite neat, actually. What it seems to suggest is as you change the pH of the solution, we can actually flip these little molecules upside down,” study author Guy German, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Binghamton University, State University of New York, said in a press release.

Because the molecules in sodium lauryl sulfate change the skin’s pH levels, lowering the pH levels and making the skin more acidic can actually cause the skin itself to act more like an oil and potentially make it almost waterproof.

While the future of waterproofing the skin has a long way to go, the thought that it may one day be a reality is pretty mind-blowing!

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