Journal of oleo science

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate Stimulates the Generation of Reactive Oxygen Species through Interactions with Cell Membranes.

PMID 27829611


Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), a representative anionic surfactant, is well-known to induce rough skin following single or multiple topical applications. The mechanism by which SLS induces rough skin is thought to result from the disruption of skin moisture function consisting of NMF and epidermal lipids. However, a recent study demonstrated that topically applied SLS easily penetrates into the living cell layers of the epidermis, which suggests that physiological alterations of keratinocytes might cause the SLS-induced rough skin. This study was conducted to clarify the effects of SLS on keratinocytes to demonstrate the contribution of SLS to the induction of rough skin. In addition, the potentials of other widely used anionic surfactants to induce rough skin were evaluated. HaCaT keratinocytes treated with SLS had increased levels of intracellular ROS and IL-1α secretion. Application of SLS on the surface of a reconstructed epidermal equivalent also showed the increased generation of ROS. Further, SLS-treated cells showed an increase of intracellular calpain activity associated with the increase of intracellular Ca2+ concentration. The increase of intracellular ROS was abolished by the addition of BAPTA-AM, a specific chelator of Ca2+. In addition, IL-1α also stimulated ROS generation by HaCaT keratinocytes. An ESR spin-labeling study demonstrated that SLS increased the fluidity of membranes of liposomes and cells. Together, those results indicate that SLS initially interacts with cell membranes, which results in the elevation of intracellular Ca2+ influx. Ca2+ stimulates the secretion of IL-1α due to the activation of calpain, and also increases ROS generation. IL-1α also stimulates ROS generation by HaCaT keratinocytes. We conclude from these results that the elevation of intracellular ROS levels is one of the causes of SLS-induced rough skin. Finally, among the other anionic surfactants tested, sodium lauryl phosphate has less potential to induce rough skin because of its lower generation of ROS.