What Are Sulfates and Should We Avoid Them?

What Are Sulfates and Should We Avoid Them?


Despite only being put in the limelight recently, sulfates have been commonly used in personal care and cleaning products for years. Sulfates are chemicals that are added to products in order to serve as a preservative and despite the fact that there are a number of different sulfates used they all serve the purpose of creating that foam we all look for when using cleaning products. We have been accustomed to linking foaming products like mainstream shampoos, toothpaste and hand soap with the clean feeling when, in fact, there is a myriad of cleansing agents that can clean your skin without the foam.

Sulfates came into focus after numerous claims linking them to cancer since they are applied to the hair or skin and are, thus, absorbed into the body. Despite the fact that no scientific studies have concretely supported this claim, sulfates are still considered a harmful ingredient not only for the environment but for us too. What they effectively do is strip our skin and hair of important naturally-occurring oils which eventually leads to our body producing even more oil to overcompensate for this. This results in an oily scalp and skin that most people suffer from after years of using products that include sulfates. Additionally, sulfates have been classified as an allergen and thus can lead to a number of different skin allergies. Sulfates have also been linked to irritation of the skin, eyes and even lungs from inhaling the fumes from everyday cleaning products. Although some products have sulfates in low concentration, many have a concentration of up to 50% which can cause a myriad of skin problems over time as well as lead to the build-up of toxins in our body.

Many personal care products list sulfates as “SLS” which can easily be avoided given a large number of clean personal care and cleaning products on the market that have been formulated specifically to avoid sulfates. All you need to do is look for products that are sulfate or SLS-free!

You can check out Mint Basil Market's long list of natural and clean personal care products here.


Sana Toukan is a Nutrition Health Coach and a mother of 1 who made Lebanon her home 3 years ago after living in London and  Dubai. She is a passionate cook and prepares almost all meals at home which is what prompted her interest in learning more about healthy food and how to make balanced meals for the whole family. Sana is a strong advocate of lifestyle changes including shifting to whole foods and fitness to change one’s overall well-being, having achieved this over the years for herself.













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