What Are Sulfates and Are They Bad For You?

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Sulfate compounds which are commonly called sulfates are found in many personal care products such as shampoo, toothpaste, shaving foam, body washes and facial cleansers. In cleansers, they function as surfactants: water- and oil-soluble compounds that, when combined with water, foam and emulsify greasy substances.

Chemically, sulfates are synthetic ingredients partly based on sulfur.

Sulfur, on the other hand is the fourth most abundant mineral in our body. Sulfur makes up vital amino acids used to create protein for cells and tissues and for hormones, enzymes, and antibodies. Therefore, sulfur mineral helps us stay well.

However, sulfates are partly petrolatum derived.

Petrolatum is mineral oil jelly – that is petroleum jelly. It is used as a barrier to lock moisture in the skin in a variety of moisturizers, and also in hair care products to make your hair shine.

The largest part of a sulfate molecule comes from lauryl alcohol, which is derived from coconut oil or other plants. To make sulfates, lauryl alcohol is reacted with sulfuric acid.

Sulfur can be found naturally on earth, but for manufacturing it is generally produced using petrolatum.

There are hundreds of varieties of sulfates, but sodium lauryl sulfate or SLS and sodium laureth sulfate or SLES are the ones most commonly used in personal care products.

Sulfates in shampoo or any cleaner produces suds.

In the past, the presence of suds has made consumers feel as though the product was working. As it turns out, the sulfates that produce the chemical process are not very good for your skin or your hair.

When you use a shampoo that has sulfates, you strip away more than dirt and excess oil from your scalp. You also remove natural oils that your hair needs to stay healthy.

The absence of natural oils can cause dry and itchy scalp, dandruff and frizzy hair. Eventually, sulfates in shampoos can fade color and can cause hair to become brittle.

A beauty brand executive estimates that more than 90 percent of shampoos and body washes contain SLS or SLES.

But are sulfates bad for you?

International health unions and administrations consider SLS and SLES to be safe ingredients in personal care products and in cosmetics. Sulfates have been reviewed thoroughly and were found to be safe as intended.

Nowadays personal care and cosmetic manufacturers are developing products that contain no sulfates. In fact there are some sulfate-free shampoos available in the market already.

Top 4 reasons to go sulfate-free and petralatum-free

1. Sulfates can dry the skin, make hair brittle, and strip away healthy oils.

2. Petroleum refined produces fuels including gasoline, kerosene, and diesel oil.

(Who wants that on their hair or body?)

3. A study done in Columbia University has linked Petrolatum to breast cancer tumors.

4. Petrolatum may cause premature aging. (Oh hell no!)

Petrolatum has been proven to suffocate skin, increase free radicals, and kill skin cells.

Our stance is that sulfates do not promote an ageless lifestyle.

Why expose yourself to sulfates, petroleum, petrolatum,  or any petrochemicals if it can be avoided?

 

Sources:

Featured image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

http://www.livestrong.com/article/226763-side-effects-of-petrolatum/

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/30/fashion/30Skin.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

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