Thanks to the technologies we’re able to use products unlike before, combining ingredients - both natural and man-made - into something that we can use. Still, while some ingredients are safe for us to use, some can be harmful to the skin, putting the derms at risk. And again, thanks to the latest technology we have the knowledge to determine which ingredient (both natural and synthetic) that are good for the skin, as well as the ones that posed hazards in the long run.
And one of them is lauryl glucoside. Judging by the sound of the name it does look like another man-made chemical that can be harsh for the skin. Or does it?
What Is Lauryl Glucoside?
Let’s start with the basics. Lauryl glucoside is a type of surfactant that works to reduce the overall viscosity of the whole product (usually liquid-based products), making it easier to use and to rinse it off. And yes, being a surfactant, they do create foaming bubbles that we commonly see in various skincare and household products.
Other similar derivatives of glucoside include decyl glucoside and coco glucoside that are also found to be a good surfactant ingredient. It’s common to find not just lauryl glucoside in the list of ingredients of the cleansing products but also with the other two of glucoside derivatives.
The difference between these three is their stability and foaming properties, with lauryl glucoside has the slowest and the best foaming effect compared to the rest and certainly more stable, followed by coco glucoside and decyl glucoside. Thus the ingredient is commonly used in ‘rich’ formula products unlike the other two.
What Is Lauryl Glucoside Made Of?
Lauryl glucoside is made by combining sugar (or alternatively with glucose polymer) with either palm kernel oil, coconut, or corn sugar in an acidic solution to create it. Of all materials used, it is found that lauryl glucoside derived from coconut oil creates a stable foam and perfect for use in products, compared to other combinations.
Does Lauryl Glucoside Natural Ingredient?
The ingredient is not fully natural, per se. But since half of the material used to create the chemical is form natural products (coconut, sugar, to name a few) so can consider it as a natural product.
In What Products It Mainly Used?
Lauryl glucoside is widely used for skincare, makeup and household products thanks to it’s foaming features and the ability to make the whole product spread out more easily as well as to rinse it out, taking away debris along with it. Without it, you probably spend quite a time to spread out the product evenly onto the skin; think shampoo, for example.
Of course, being a surfactant, you can expect lauryl glucoside commonly found in products that are meant for cleansing.
Is Lauryl Glucoside Safe For Skin?
Yes, lauryl glucoside is safe for the skin as the ingredient does not have any components that are irritating to the skin. This feature is the most notable when we compare it with similar surfactants like SLS that is known for being harsh to the skin.
Plus, lauryl glucoside is biodegradable so it’s also safe for the environment too.
Does Lauryl Glucoside Safe For Sensitive Skin?
Yes, the ingredient is safe for sensitive skin and in fact, lauryl glucoside is listed on the Safe Cosmetics Database and the GoodGuide database as being safe for the skin, for both sensitive and the rest of the skin types. Plus, the ingredient is also approved to use in certified organic cosmetics by both the Organic Food Federation and EcoCert.
Can Lauryl Glucoside Cause Allergy?
At the moment there’s no evidence that lauryl glucoside can cause allergy to the skin. It has been tested by the North American Contact Dermatitis Group (NACDG)*, a research group that looks at evolving trends in contact dermatitis (the group even created the “Allergen of the Year” Award).
At the moment, allergic reactions with glucosides does not happen as frequently for it to be listed as an allergen, although the group noted that frequently used of these alkyl glucosides (including lauryl) will likely increase the risk of sensitization of the skin, especially the ones at risk such as asthma, eczema, various dermatitis, or simply with sensitive skin). Still, the risk is very low. The findings also tally with this study that assesses the safety of alkyl glucosides, including lauryl glucoside.
Does Lauryl Glucoside Have Any Side Effects?
At the moment there are no known risk or side effects of lauryl glucoside to the skin, although it’s highly recommended that you do a patch test prior to using any products containing lauryl glucoside. Although it should be noted that pregnant and/or nursing women, as well as the ones with sensitivity and/or allergy to the ingredient lauryl glucoside, is made of (namely palm kernel oil, coconut, or corn sugar) should not use it to avoid any unwanted reaction.
In any case, the ingredient should never be used near the nose, ears, and eyes or even swallowing it. Potential effects of such exposure include irritation to the said sensitive area, as well as dizziness, drowsiness, and headaches.
Is Lauryl Glucoside The Same As Sodium Lauryl Sulfate?
No, lauryl glucoside is not the same as sodium lauryl sulfate. The names might look similar but the key is the former does not have the word ‘sulfate’ unlike the latter. The word meant its a derivative of sulfuric acid/salt and there’s none of that in lauryl glucoside. Instead, the word glucoside meant it relates to a type of sugar (from the word glucose) and they are more gentle and clean just as effectively without being abrasive to the skin.
To compare lauryl glucoside with sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), the latter also works effectively but it's too harsh for the skin (especially for sensitive and baby skin). being a derivative from sulfuric acid, the ingredient is too corrosive for the skin. Multiple studies have indicated that SLS can cause “severe epidermal changes” and to the hair follicle that it can trigger acne breakouts. If SLS is used, studies recommend that you need to wash it off with lots of water as soon as it comes in contact with the skin - definitely impractical to cleanse, especially if you’re handling babies’ skin!
Meaning while it can certainly wash off dirt, grease, and grime, it affects the surface of the skin at the same time. Not to mention being a toxic pollutant that is harmful to the environment.
Despite such abrasive nature, SLS is commonly used in skincare and makeup products, along with heavy-duty cleaners such as car wash soaps, detergents, softeners, and various industry-level cleaning products.