Why to stay away from Sulphates? Why Are they harmful?

As a consumer, we are all surrounded by products mentioning “Sulphate-free”. Also, most of the people are undergoing all sorts of hair treatment and colouring these days. Post that they are strictly instructed to use paraben and sulphate free shampoos. Why is it so have you given a thought about it?

Maximum people are using sulphate free shampoos without knowing the need for it. Even worse than that people are still using products with sulphates in it without knowing the harm it is causing.

In this blog, I will be covering every detail about Sulphates, mentioning its side effects and what alternatives to look for.

What are Sulphates/Sulfates?

Why to stay away from Sulphates?

Also Read: Why Parabens are bad for Skin & Hair?

Sulphates are inexpensive cleansing and foaming agents that are commonly found in skin, hair and cleaning products. These are basically salts formed when sulfuric acid reacts with another chemical.

Sulphates were first added by chemists to the Shampoos in year 1930s. Before using them, soaps and shampoos weren’t that good at cleaning. That is the reason why it became so popular and changed the cleaning products industry forever. Was the change for good? We will find out soon.

Where are Sulphates derived from?

Sulphates can be produced naturally or synthetically. One of the most common sulphates is Sodium lauryl sulphates commonly known as SLS are derived from plant sources such as coconut oil or palm kernel oil. And they can also be made from petroleum sources which are non-renewable.

How do Sulphates work?

Sulphates are added in the products to make them more effective cleansers. As Sulphates are responsible to lift dirt and oil, so, when you wash, sulphates simply drain out with the water leaving you clean.

Besides removing dirt and grease they also make the products lather. If products create foam and lather it does not necessarily mean it is clean. But since the introduction of sulphates, people tend to believe that if it does not lather that means it is not cleaned which is not at all true.

Products that contains Sulphates?

Sulphates containing products

An easiest way to identify Sulphates are the products which lathers and it is included in below mentioned products: –

  • Soaps, face wash and body washes
  • Shampoos and conditioners
  • Toothpaste
  • Detergents, surface and carpet Cleaners
  • Dishwashing, car wash liquids and other cleaning products that foam up
  • Body Spray and fragrances
  • Sunscreen lotion and some makeup products

How to identify Sulphates in your products?

Sulphates come in different variants so need to look at the common ones as listed below: –

  • Ammonium lauryl sulphate (ALS)
  • Sodium laureth sulphate (SLES)
  • Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS)

Since nowadays consumers have become very conscious of using sulphate free and organic products, manufacturers are trying to trick by using alternatives to sulphates which are also harmful.

Listing down more similar ingredients to stay away from: –
sodium lauryl sulphoacetate, sodium capric sulphate, sodium caprylic sulphate, sodium monododecyl sulphate, sodium oleic sulphate, sodium myreth sulphate, sodium stearyl sulphate, sodium dodecanesulphate, sodium lauroyl isethionate, sodium cocoyl isethionate, sodium lauroyl sarcosinate, sodium lauroyl taurate, sodium lauroyl methyl isethionate, and disodium laureth sulphosuccinate.

What are the Risks Involved in using Sulphates?

Sulphates are harmful

Sulphates are good in cleaning but they contain harsh chemicals that dry out our skin and hair by shedding out natural oil and proteins.

This, in turn, makes your skin prone to: –

  • Allergies
  • Infections
  • Eye Irritation
  • Skin Irritation
  • Mouth Irritation
  • Lung Irritation
  • Clog pores and causes acne for sensitive skin

Sulphates in shampoo cause number of problems for your hair: –

  • Dry hair
  • Scalp irritation
  • Ruins hair cuticles resulting in split end, dullness, and breakage
  • Fades colour from your hair faster
  • Hair Loss

Chemically treated and coloured hair are strictly instructed to use Paraben and Sulphate free shampoos because of the reasons listed above.

Sulphates are claimed to be safe if used in limitation but there are no proofs supporting it and plus it is not worth taking risks when there are natural alternatives available. The longer it stays, the more harmful it becomes, so it’s best to remove it from your skin or hair as soon as possible.

A high percentage of Sulphate is found in cleaning products, so make sure to keep your windows open for ventilation to prevent lung irritation.

Benefits of using Sulphate free products

When people start using Sulphate free shampoos, their hair becomes more manageable, softer and frizz free. Sulphate free products repair your damaged hair and skin, as they are gentle and do not remove protective oils.

Sulphates also harm the environment

Sulphates have not only impacted humans, but have also disturbed the environment. Aquatic animals have been impacted as products containing sulphates gets washed down the sewage system and find their way into the environment.

What alternative ingredients to look for?

Stay away from Sulphates

Look for products that use fruit or vegetable-based cleansing ingredients. Below is the list of cleansing ingredients which is safe.

  • cocamidopropyl betaine
  • disodium lauroamphodiacetate
  • sodium cocoamphoacetate
  • coco glucoside
  • lauryl glucoside

For cleaning hair and skin: opt for solid and oil-based soaps and shampoos rather than liquid. For cleaning products: White vinegar serves as a great cleaning product or if you don’t like the smell of it try lemon juice. And also keep in mind to have ventilation in your house to avoid any kind of irritation.

How to identify Sulphates in your products?

  • Product Lathers
  • Hair takes longer to dry
  • Dull and dry hair with no shine
  • Frizzy hair
  • Skin and hair Irritations

I would always recommend you to go for organic products that are free from any sort of chemicals. Sulphates are not at all necessary for cleaning as it was assumed back then and there are many more alternatives available in the market which are safer to use also make your hair and skin healthy.

Till then keep glowing 😊

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Disclaimer: All the above information has been collated from different sources for a better understanding.

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