What are the effects of sulfate on hair

If at this point, you still aren’t convinced to use sulfate-free shampoos, it’s because you haven’t yet We have told you all about it. And we are going to solve it. We are going to do it by listing the effects of sulfate on the hair. A more common than you might expect chemical agent that is damaging your hair on an almost daily basis.

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Aggressive to the scalp

To know what the effects of sulfate are on the hair, we must know what sulfate is. In fact, knowing that sulfate is a detergent surfactant that, in addition to shampoo, is the base of cosmetics or dishwashers, is relevant information. Knowing that it is responsible for generating foam and that its cleaning power is tremendous, thanks to its chemical compounds, also helps.

Now, knowing that these chemical agents are highly abrasive and harmful to the scalp is also useful information. In the end, we are applying a very powerful detergent to an area as sensitive as the scalp. It seems logical that the effects of sulfate on hair are mostly negative.

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Continuing with the relevant data, it is worth knowing that more than 90% of commercialized shampoos contain sulfates. How do we locate the 10% that do not have them? Easy: looking at its ingredients on the back label. Specifically, we have to look for any of these six types of sulfates, the most common in the composition of shampoos.

  • Sodium lauryl sulfate
  • Sodium laureth sulfate
  • Sodium dodecylsulfate
  • Sodium lauryl sulfoacetate
  • Sodium myreth sulfate
  • Ammonium lauryl sulfate

They weaken the hair

When explaining the effects of sulfate on hair, we must take into account two elements. The first, that its harmful effects continue every time we wash our hair. The second, that with each wash, the time that the hair lasts clean is reduced, causing more frequent washes. In other words, the attacks of the chemical agents of the shampoo with sulfates are more frequent.

It seems logical that the hair is increasingly weakened, dry and sensitive. Despite the fact that the first impact is shiny and voluminous hair, that gaseous effect lasts less and less. The reality is that hair takes less and less time to get dirty and the appearance of dirt, dryness and grease is the most common with this trend.

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Accelerates hair loss

Baldness is one of the great fears of almost all men. What cannot be understood is that some accelerate hair loss by using shampoos with sulfates. And everything has an explanation.

These shampoos, to avoid being repelled by the hair (it has hydrophobic capacity), are complemented with oils that help to grip the hair and, thus, clean it in depth. And they do. The problem is that those oils also remain as sludge in the hair follicles. Thus, if we do not achieve perfect rinsing of the scalp, the remains of the oil, mixed with the sulfates, will clog the follicle.

With its pathways obstructed, the follicle will not be able to work normally. That is, it will not be able to generate new hair, slowing down growth significantly. After a while, that hair follicle will become useless and will never grow hair again. Speaking clearly, this is what is known as the beginning towards alopecia.

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Dyed hair (for a short time)

You’ve been dyeing your hair for a long time but, lately, the dye lasts less and less. Not only that, you have also noticed how bleached strands and areas with tones that you have never seen before appear on you. This also has an explanation: sulfates.

As we have commented, sulfates are formed by detergent chemical elements whose mission is to clean. Clear all. And of course, if the hair, in addition to dirt, has a layer of color incorporated, the sulfates are not going to make any distinctions. Thus, it is incongruous to spend money on a dye, but not on a sulfate-free shampoo that protects that dye.

Itching and swelling

Getting sulfate shampoo in your eyes is the closest thing to getting dirt in your eyes. However, sometimes you don’t even need to enter it. Some sulfates are so aggressive that it is enough for them to be close to the eye area, so that the eyes end up red and irritated with each shower.

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The worrying thing is not that it’s just the eyes, because the skin can also be irritated, with redness and swelling. The reason is that the chemical agents of the sulfates can penetrate the dermis, through the pores. In case of being allergic to any component, the allergic reaction can be complicated.


Without leaving the dermis, this case can get even worse. And it is that, once inside the dermis, sulfate can end up reaching the bloodstream and travel throughout the body. Thinking about the consequences of moving an item you’re allergic to around the inside of your body should be reason enough to use sulfate-free shampoo for the rest of your life.

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Destroys the natural defense of the hair

The scalp is prepared to naturally create sebum. It is a natural oil that serves to nourish and protect the hair from external agents.

Obviously, when shampooing with sulfates, chemical agents also take away that sebum. Not only that, they also clog the sebaceous glands that generate it, leading to atrophy and preventing them from generating new defenses for the hair. If we add to this the dryness and weakness caused by sulfates, the consequences on the hair are dramatic.

And now that we have told you about the effects of sulfate on hair, the decision is yours. Natural shampoos without sulfates are somewhat more expensive, so you must assess the price of the health of your hair. Now, you should also think that with a sulfate-free shampoo, in addition to improving the quality of your hair, you will save the conditioner and the mask. Sure, in case you use it.

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