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What Are Sulfates? - California Baby Natural Living

What Are Sulfates?

Chances are, you’ve heard of sulfates in skin care products before (and you’ve likely seen it on labels a lot if you’re label-readers like us). But what are they? Sulfates are harsh surfactants that strip the hair and skin of valuable moisture. They may also contain the carcinogenic by-product, 1,4 dioxane. Avoid bath products with sulfates such as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) and ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS).


Similarly, Sodium Lauryl Sarcosinate is a surfactant used in “sulfate free” shampoos, bodywashes, handwashes, and toothpaste. Although it may be derived naturally, it can be contaminated with nitrosamines which are carcinogens.

Look beyond the marketing hype! If a product’s cleansing agent is “sulfate free,” the alternative should be a superior ingredient with a great safety profile…not just missing sulfate” from the name. Check the labels of your “natural” shampoos, bodywashes, and handwashes for this ingredient and stay away!


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