soapy hands

Let’s talk about Sulfates!

Ingredient confusion: It’s real. Do you ever find yourself standing in the cleaning aisle far too long confused by all the ingredients we think we should be avoiding?  Don’t worry we’ve done the homework and heavy lifting for you.  At Rebel Green, that’s all we do!   Today, we’re talking about “Sulfates”. We’re seeing more and more consumer products like shampoo, soaps and household cleaners with “sulfate-free” labels.  If you find your hands are dry, red  and irritated after washing them, sulfates could be the culprit.   So we thought we’d take a look at what’s really up with sulfates, and the reason why you might want to skip them. 

varies cleaning products

What are Sulfates and what do they do?

Sulfates are detergents or surfactants which means they attract both oil and water.  They’re what makes products like shampoo, toothpaste, soap and household cleaners such as laundry detergent and dish soap foam and lather. 

The biggest issue with sulfates is that they can cause different 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. Cue the frequent hand washing we’re all doing these days. 

One of the most common sulfates you’ll find in cosmetics and household cleaners is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). It’s accepted as a safe ingredient for cosmetic use in the E.U., by the United States’ FDA and by Health Canada.

It’s important to note: if you’re using a product that lathers, it contains a detergent. If that product is labelled sulfate-free, the detergent used in the formula is simply another type of lathering agent.

Rebel Green Super Deluxe Dish Soap

So why the concern?

If sulfates are safe and effective, why do they get a bad rap? Turns out sulfates can be too effective at washing away oil, which can leave hair or skin feeling parched. And if your skin or scalp is particularly sensitive, sulfates can cause irritations like redness or itching.  With all the repeat hand washings these days, many of us are experiencing dry and irritated skin more than ever before. 

If you have sensitive skin or just want to avoid sulfates completely, just remember those sulfate-free products probably won’t foam up like you’re used to, but they’ll produce a more hydrating, creamy wash. Just because the products don’t bubble up, doesn’t mean they’re not effective against dirt and grime. So low-sudsing does not mean less cleaning power. 

Stock up on sulfate-free household essentials, like Rebel Green Fresh and Clean Hand Soap, Super Deluxe Dish Soap, USDA Certified Organic Laundry Detergents, Gentle Baby Detergent and All Purpose Spray at rebelgreen.com!