Controversy surrounding sulfates have been around for many years now as more consumers vow to protect their health and that of their family. Many people wonder if sulfates are responsible for conditions such as itchy scalp, dry hair, hair loss, and brittle hair, among others. Could it be sulfates are responsible for your hair-related issues? The truth is, while sulfates are commonly found inside of shampoos and conditioners as well as other hair care products, they may actually cause more harm than good.
What are Sulfates?
Sulfates are cleaning agents put inside of your shampoo (and other products )to help remove dirt, oil, and other grime from the scalp and strands of the hair. There are several different types of sulfates used in these products. Around 90% of the shampoos on the market contain sulfates. It’s easy to learn if the shampoo that you’re using contains sulfates by simply reading the list of ingredients.
What’s the Concern with Sulfates?
Sulfates are cleaning agents designed to remove dirt from a specific area. Because of the job they have to perform, sulfates are oftentimes very powerful, leaving the scalp and strands of the hair to suffer. Those affected by certain hair and skin conditions, such as acne, eczema and dandruff, suffer even greater by the damaging effects left behind by sulfates. Chemically-treated hair is also more at-risk than other types of hair.
According to The Cosmetic Industry, it takes only a 2% SLS concentration to damage an area of skin. The normal bottle of shampoo has an SLS concentration level of10- 15%! With repeated use of a product containing so much more of an ingredient needed to cause damage. The American Journal of Toxicology Studies reports that SLS concentration levels of 10 – 30% can damage the hair follicles, decreasing growth rate by as much as 10%.
The FDA does not regulate The Cosmetic industry, therefore there is no one to answer to when creating their products. The Industry does say, however, they believe sulfates might pose risk and that there is not enough evidence to support the long-term effects of product use. Even still, without regulations in place, shampoo manufactures still include the ingredient because it is so inexpensive and effective.
Should Sulfates be Avoided?
There is evidence suggesting that sulfates may cause harm to your skin and to your scalp. It is a good idea to avoid use of the ingredient until further research is conducted to determine their relevance after long-term use. Using a sulfate-free shampoo is probably a good idea if you want your hair at its best, without any risks to the scalp, skin, or to your health. Many ‘Sulfate-Free’ shampoos are now available for you to purchase to avoid the potential risks of sulfates all- together. With drastic evidence concluding that sulfates, in fact, damage the hair, why risk damaging your beautiful locks? The cost of an organic product is only a few dollars more and you can rest easy that is money always well-spent as there is no worry and beautiful hair is yours!