What are the harmful effects of sulfates?
While sulfates are helpful in washing dirt and grime from our bodies, they can be harmful to your health in the following ways:
- Sulfate salts in the air can react to form sulfuric acid that is an irritant for the eyes, skin, and mucus membranes. This can cause itchy and watery eyes, skin irritation, and breathing difficulties.
- Sulfate-containing shampoo can strip away natural oils from your hair and scalp, making them rough and dry with repeated use.
- Sulfate-containing soap and other personal care products can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions. Some people are particularly sensitive to sulfate-containing products and may develop dermatitis (skin inflammation) due to these products. Sulfates can also clog pores making skin prone to acne.
- Chemicals containing sulfates are generally used for various purposes including making bath and personal care products, fertilizers, chemicals, dyes, glass, paper, and textiles. Sulfates in these products may finally find their way into the water we drink, harming its taste and quality.
- Intake of large quantities of sulfates can trigger diarrhea and dehydration, particularly in infants and children.
Because of the harmful effects of sulfates, it’s better to use sulfate-free products, which are becoming increasingly available in the market for personal care and cleaning purposes. While these products may not produce the lather you’re used to or clean things as quickly, they are much safer and milder for your skin and hair.