Monday, June 10, 2013

Sulfate Free? The Mantra Explained

Sulfates are the detergents in shampoos and bath soaps that are responsible for generating lather.
They come in many forms.  Some of the more common ones are: Sodium Laureth Sulfate , Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Lareth Sulfate and Myreth Sulfate.

Sulfates break up grease, and dislodge dirt, which in turn allows them to be washed away.  Although it is wonderful to get rid of the gunk and residual hair product in your hair, sulfates don't differentiate between the natural oils you want in your hair, and the rest of the stuff that's just weighing it down. Please note, sulfates can also be found in many conditioners, as they allow the conditioner to rinse out more easily.

Sulfates can dry out, and be very damaging to hair by stripping it of oils and molecules that are essential to protect the hair, and keep it strong, and shiny (or sheeny in my case).  Imaging being stripped naked and sent out in the world to survive...Sunburn, wind burn, chaffing, dryness, and all types of untold damage. That's exactly what happens to your hair, when it is stripped by sulfates and forced to fend for itself.

Studies have revealed some really devastating  effects from the prolonged use of sulfates, including hair loss, and eye damage:

'SLS is implicated in premature hair loss in men and women, and may be one reason for widespread incidence of thinning hair. Because SLS is such a caustic cleanser, it actually corrodes the hair follicle and impairs its ability to grow hair. SLES (sodium lauryl ether sulfate) causes dramatic decline in the hair growth cycle, and prolongs the hair loss phase (normally 3 months) by a factor of eight. Simply removing this ingredient, and its corrosive and irritating effects, begins to restore the natural, healthy function of the hair follicle.
SLS is also implicated in scalp irritation, eczema, dandruff, and other scalp conditions. Many shampoos designed to alleviate dandruff, itching, and other scalp disorders may actually be causing the problems they are supposed to eliminate, because of the toxicity of SLS-containing formulas to the skin and scalp. Avoiding contact with this cytotoxic (cell killing) chemical is all many people need to completely alleviate scalp disorders.'(click here for full report by David Lowell Kern)

Some will argue that we've been using sulfates for years with no adverse effects.  Maybe that's true.  But now that we are armed with the knowledge, why not steer clear?  People smoked for years without any adverse effect (that they knew of)...but now we know better. - YB

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