What is Sulfate and Why Should You Avoid it in Shampoos?
One of the things everyone should look for on shampoo bottles is “sulfate-free”. Click here to learn about what sulfate is and why it’s so bad for your hair.
Have you ever read the back of your shampoo bottle? What about your toothpaste? If you have, chances are you saw something called Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or SLS. And just because it cleans your teeth doesn’t make SLS healthy.
In fact, SLS is often cited as an irritant that causes canker sores. But today we’re focusing on sulfates in shampoo. If you’re seeing SLS or another sulfate ingredient, it’s time to switch shampoos.
So let’s take a look at exactly why you need to buy sulfate free shampoos.
What are Sulfates?
Sulfates are surfactants or substances that attract oil and water. They help strip natural oils from your hair. And while that’s good in theory, it’s also detrimental to your hair’s long-term health.
Manufacturers add them to shampoo because they’re cheap and because they’re good at removing oils from your hair. Plus, sulfates also help give shampoo its foaming action.
So What’s the Big Deal?
Well, a lot of things. But let’s start with the basics. SLS and other sulfates, as mentioned above, strip oils from your hair. And not only does that cause your hair can also damage your hair follicles and dry out your scalp.
SLS is linked to skin irritation, dry scalp, and even dandruff. The product strips so much natural oil that your hair loses important natural proteins that help keep your hair and scalp healthy.
Those with dyed hair also see rapid color loss and fading.
More damaging still, SLS lifts the hair’s cuticle, exposing the cortex to moisture that causes frizz or dry air that damages the follicle. The exposure weakens the entire hair strand.
SLS also anionically charges your hair. Sulfates are negatively charged and that charge remains on your scalp after washing. The result being static shocks and flyaway hairs.
Scalp irritation stems from chemicals seeping into the top layers of skin. SLS itself causes irritation while the inflammation allows bacteria into your skin. These bacteria thrive while anaerobic good bacteria die from air exposure.
And beyond hair and scalp damage, SLS’s effects only get worse. Studies show the following SLS detriments:
- It’s a known skin irritant that can accumulate in the liver, heart, and brain.
- SLS can infiltrate children’s eyes and cause developmental problems. It changes the amounts of proteins in the eye.
- SLS can release carcinogenic nitrates into the bloodstream. At best they can cause rashes, eye irritations, and hair loss. At worse, they lead to cancer.
- SLS can lead to endocrine disruptors that cause hormonal imbalances.
With the much at stake, why use SLS shampoos at all? Alternatives like Kevin Murphy Restore are sulfate free and clean your hair just as well.
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