The intrinsic dissolution rate and solubility of carbamazepine was measured in aqueous solutions of sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) prepared with two different grades of purity, 95 and 99%, and 95% SLS in 0.15 M NaCl to determine the effect of surface-active impurities and electrolytes. Four significant observations resulted from this work: (1) the equilibrium coefficients calculated from the solubility experiments in the 99% SLS, 95% SLS, and 95% with 0.15 M NaCl SLS solutions were 295, 265, and 233 L/mol, respectively; (2) the dissolution rate enhancement in the 99% SLS was 10% greater than that in the 95% SLS and 95% with 0.15 M NaCl solutions, which were not significantly different; (3) the diffusion coefficients of the drug-loaded micelles estimated from the dissolution experiments were 8.4 × 10−7 cm2/s for the 99% SLS, 9.5 × 10−7 cm2/s for the 95% SLS, and 1.2 × 10−6 cm2/s for the 95% with 0.15 M NaCl; and (4) the critical micelle concentrations for the 99% SLS, 95% SLS, and 95% SLS with 0.15M NaCl were 6.8, 4.2, and 0.35 mM, respectively. The results of this study clearly illustrate the sensitivity of the micelle to impurities and electrolytes with regard to size and loading capacity and the effect these changes have on the solubility and dissolution rate. Therefore, when using surfactants in dissolution media for in vitro testing of dosage forms, consideration must be given to the level of impurities present so that the results are consistent and reliable. Intrinsic dissolution rate, surface tension, or solubility measurements may be useful, convenient methods for identifying changes in the surfactant due to either degradation or lot-to-lot variability.