The Big Don’t of Skincare: Are Sulfates Really That Bad?

Posted by Empress Naturals on

Sulfates may as well be described as a toxic relationship- you know they are bad for you but don’t know it’s time to move on till it is too late! 

Sulfates are on every list of natural skincare don'ts. Infact, the fear of sulfates is so real, that big brands in the skincare and beauty industry have made it a point to shift to sulfate-free products and marketing strategies that advocate all-natural beauty. 

While it is easy to get wrapped up in trends on the internet, it is important for consumers to make the right choices when it comes to personal care products.

The controversy around sulfates is swarming with questions but we are here to help simplify it! Read on to know more about sulfates and why we, at Empress Naturals, choose to keep them out of our products. 

What are Sulfates?

Chemically, sulfates are as simple as salts. They are derivatives of sulphuric acid when it reacts with another chemical.

Sulfates are essentially a broader term for ingredients used in personal care that are sulfur based- commonly you would see these ingredients like sodium laureth sulfate (SLES),  sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), and ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS).

Sulfates act as surfactants, which means they draw both water and oil. They are highly competent at removing all traces of grease and grime from surfaces, by binding to impurities and pollutants, pulling them out once rinsed. 

Sulfates are highly effective at cleansing and easily develop a foaming texture. They are, hence, a part of most personal care products.

Every type of cleanser - be it a shampoo, body wash, facial cleanser, laundry detergent or toothpaste has traces of sulfates. They are often also found in bath products like bath bombs or Epsom salts. 

Why are Sulfates Bad for your Skin?

Research around sulfates is extremely conflicted- leading to controversy around the ingredient.

However, one of the biggest claims made against sulfates is that they are carcinogens finding their way into our body through daily products. While this notion has been nullified by multiple studies, there is still a downfall to using sulfates as part of your everyday routine. 

Here’s how sulfates can damage your skin! 

  1. Loss of Natural Oils
    The one thing about sulfates that proves its effectiveness is also what causes its downfall - sulfates are way too good at cleaning!

    While this might be an incredible addition to cleaning products for your home, it isn't for your skin or hair!

    Squeaky clean skin means skin that has been stripped of its natural oils; a damaged skin barrier is not too far away!

  2. Dry Skin and Rashes:
    While sulfates are not easily
    allergenic, repeated use of products with sulfates in them can lead to dry patches and rashes on your skin! At times, if sulfates react negatively with your skin, you could develop intense redness, dry, flaky, and itchy skin.

  3. Acne Flare-Ups:
    Sulfates are notorious for clogging pores and causing acne flare-ups, especially for those with sensitive skin.
    However, the likelihood of experiencing skin issues after using products with sulfates increases depending on how much contact it has with your skin or eyes.

  4. Dermatitis or Edema:
    Mature skin is already more vulnerable to developing skin conditions as compared to younger skin.
    Sulfate products, due to their highly irritable nature, can cause dermatitis or edema flare ups in sensitive skin or those with existing conditions like eczema or rosacea. 

Recognising Sulfates in Skincare

Grab your favorite personal care products and cross-check it with the list below! You’ll be able to spot the sulfates in your products!

  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate
  • Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Sodium Lauroyl Isoethionate
  • Sodium Lauroyl Taurate
  • Sodium Cocoyl Isoethionate
  • Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isoethionate
  • Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate
  • Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate

Environmental Impact of Sulfates

Some sulfates are made from palm oil, which is a major cause of deforestation and pollution worldwide. Additionally, there is proof that sulfate-containing products that are flushed down the toilet may poison and endanger aquatic life. 

Unfortunately, a number of American products with sulfates are still tested on animals to gauge irritation, even though many nations across the world have outlawed cosmetics testing on animals. 

As a brand that is extremely passionate about animal rights (we are also Leaping Bunny certified!) and environmental conservation, we cannot justify using sulfates in our products even if they are not harmful to human health in the long term. 

Finding Gentler Alternatives to Sulfates

The good news - you don't have to continue using products with sulfates in them! Be free of the fear of sulfates with clean and 100% organic products that are so much gentler but just as effective. 

Your skin deserves nothing just the best and the best definitely does not involve stripping it bare!

Empress Naturals is a 100% Pure and Organic Skincare brand that nourishes aging skin using ingredients sourced straight from nature. Ageless Radiance with a minimalistic routine that causes no harm! 

Our Anti-Aging Skincare Range contains 100% cold-pressed Rosehip Seed Oil that is USDA Certified Organic, Leaping Bunny Certified Cruelty-Free, clean, and non-toxic. It has ZERO harmful preservatives, is grown ethically and is sourced straight from Chile, South America. 

The Bottom Line

The debate and controversy behind sulfates makes it a questionable ingredient that can potentially cause harm to health. Empress Naturals chooses to stay 100% Sulfate-free because we want to ensure safety to your health, your pets, and the environment! 

And you're definitely better off giving them up if you want to enhance the health and radiance of your mature and vulnerable skin. We reject sulfates, parabens, and the 1,300+ more cosmetic compounds that the European Union has outlawed out of concern for you and the environment. 

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