Have you ever tried to read the ingredients on the typical body products you find in grocery stores and bath emporiums? Could you pronounce any of them? As you may have noticed, products these days are increasingly artificially made. Clothing, appliances, foods, and, yes, even body products, are often packed full of cheap synthetic ingredients. While they may be inexpensive to produce, these man-made components frequently have detrimental effects. Unfortunately, many people assume that of course, their body products are safe, and never even realize what exactly they’re lathering up with.
At AspenKay Naturals, we’ve dedicated ourselves to creating organic, natural, handcrafted soaps, oils, and moisturizers. We want everyone to experience the benefits of real ingredients and quality products. The first step to enjoying these advantages is understanding the effects synthetic skincare ingredients have on your body and health. The following is our first blog post in a series on synthetic skincare. Read on to learn more about sulfates.
What Are Sulfates?
If you don’t know what sulfates actually are, it may be easy to assume they’re safe for your skin. This is why it’s important to clearly define every component of your body products. Healthline explains: “sulfate is a salt that forms when sulfuric acid reacts with another chemical.” If you remember high school chemistry, sulfur is that foul-smelling element commonly found in hot springs and rotten eggs. Healthline points out that, when it comes to sulfates, “you’ll mostly find them in your cleaning and personal care products” and “there’s a lot of controversy behind this common ingredient.”
A Sulfate By Any Other Name…
In Shakespeare’s most famous romance, Juliet famously argues that “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Regarding sulfates, you should know that a sulfate by any other name would have similar properties (and it probably wouldn’t smell like a rose). As with many synthetic chemical ingredients, sulfates are called many things. Fortunately, their long names typically end with “sulfate” so they’re easy to spot. Some of the most common sulfates, according to The Natural Penguin, include: “sodium coco-sulfate, sodium dodecyl sulfate, sodium caprylic sulfate, sodium capric sulfate, sodium oleic sulfate, sodium stearyl sulfate, sodium myreth sulfate, sodium dodecanesulfate, sodium monododecyl sulfate, and many more.”
One of the primary issues with sulfates is that they can seriously irritate your skin. Healthline notes: “SLS and SLES [two forms of sulfates] can irritate eyes, skin, and lungs, especially with long-term use.” This harsh substance can leave you with dry skin or a rash, particularly if you have sensitive skin. In fact, How Stuff Works - Health names Sodium Lauryl Sulfate as one of the “Top 5 Allergens in Soaps That Cause Dermatitis” because “while [this sulfate] is useful for breaking up greasy foreign substances, it also breaks up the layer of oil that keeps our skin from drying out.” This process can “cause contact dermatitis and aggravate eczema.”
Sulfates may be especially problematic for people who don’t realize these substances are causing irritation. Teen Vogue explains that sulfates “cause varying levels of skin and eye irritation, which (for the people who experience it) gets worse the longer the product is in contact with the skin.” How Stuff Works - Health also points out that, by removing healthy oils from your skin, sulfates can prompt you to “develop reactions to things you weren’t allergic to before.” Dermatologist David Lortscher told Teen Vogue that sulfates usually cause more noticeable issues with facial skin. If you can’t beat dry skin or notice your dermatological conditions worsening, sulfates in your pody products could be the source of your symptoms.
Just as sulfates aren’t the greatest option for your skin, they can be destructive to the environment, as well. According to Healthline, “palm oil [what many sulfates are made from] is controversial due to the destruction of tropical rainforests for palm tree plantations. Products with sulfates that get washed down the drain may also be toxic to aquatic animals.” Eliminating sulfates could help protect both your skin and planet Earth.
Exposure to sulfate could cause more than just skin-related symptoms. While research is still underway, LiveStrong reports: “SLS and SLES are often contaminated with 1,4 dioxane, a byproduct of the manufacturing process that is ‘possibly carcinogenic to humans’ and may also cause negative effects in the kidneys, liver, and central nervous system, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.” Small concentrations of sulfates (under 2 percent) have been deemed safe by government agencies, but it still makes sense to avoid using sulfates in everyday body products.
Chances are, if you check out your body wash right now, you’ll find one or more sulfates in its ingredient list. Unfortunately, these synthetic substances are in many body products. However, alternatives are available! AspenKay Naturals is proud to offer handcrafted organic products that are free from damaging ingredients. Our collection of bar soaps, more affordable “fugly” soap bags, moisturizer, and more are free from harmful additives. Instead, they’re packed full of healthy, wholesome ingredients, such as aloe vera, calendula, turmeric (often misspelled as, tumeric or termeric), oatmeal, and lavender, to name a few.
Go Sulfate-Free with AspenKay Naturals
Are you ready to trade synthetic skincare for a better, natural option? Order your AspenKay Naturals products today!