Here Is Everything You Need To Know About Parabens and Sulfates


When you talk about beauty products or plastic products, you hear so many terms that have to do with parabens andsulfates. Companies that manufacture these products market them by saying that they are free of parabens and sulfates. They do that because they make that aspect of these products the selling point and make it known that they are either organic or manufactured with safe materials. So why does it matter that those products are free of sulfates and parabens? Decades ago, you would not have known too much about those terms. So what do they mean now?

Parabens and sulfates are chemicals that companies use when manufacturing plastic and beauty products. Before knowing much about the effects of those chemicals, they were critical ingredients until awareness about these chemicals came out. Now, manufacturers avoid using them in their products, and they make that known to the public. So what is the deal with these chemicals? Let’s talk about that further.

Parabens And Sulfates Are Preservatives In Beauty Products That Can Cause Health Problems

Manufacturers of beauty products wanted to ensure they would last you a long time, so they used parabens and sulfates as chemicals to preserve them. In the 1950s, these companies started using those chemicals because they kept bacteria at bay and used them in lipstick, shampoo, deodorant, lotions, and more. The one thing to know about parabens, in particular, is that they are xenoestrogens which means they mimic the role of estrogen and other hormones. Studies conducted discovered that there is a connection between certain cancers such as breast cancer and parabens. When doctors perform biopsies on breast cancer patients, they find that there are parabens in the tumor. Therefore, once the knowledge of that became widespread, it was a warning sign to manufacturers of plastics and beauty products to stop using parabens. Now that you know about parabens, what about sulfates?

Sulfates are another chemical that manufacturers at one time used for preservation also to keep bacteria at bay. Sulfates may not cause breast cancer, but they are to blame for other health problems as there was a discovery that this chemical broke down proteins. When sulfates break down proteins, it often leads to causing harm to cell membranes. Additionally, sulfates leave traces of them in the brain, heart, and lungs.

However, there is another use that manufacturers of beauty products, mainly found in sulfates, are responsible for specific products to lather. Those products that contain sulfates are toothpaste, body washes, and shampoo since it is a foaming and cleansing agent.

Sulfates Are Chemical Detergents

Sulfates are cleaning agents and chemical detergents because they effectively remove debris, oil, and dirt. Unfortunately, they are so powerful at removing dirt that they can also cause skin irritation. That is why if you use a shampoo that contains sulfates, you will find that you end up with a dehydrated scalp that can be itchy. Therefore, shampoos with sulfates will entirely remove the sebum you need for your hair to maintain proper moisture and shine. Unfortunately, that can cause other problems, including dandruff, fading hair color, and hair loss.

The same applies when you wash your body with soap containing sulfates. They will strip away your oils, causing dry skin and irritation, making you prone to a skin condition such as eczema. Therefore, sulfates cause cell degeneration, but they can be harmful to your skin and hair because they strip away the sebum you need for moisture.

Fortunately, most manufacturers have stopped using parabens and sulfates in their products, and you can find organic and safe products that stay good for a long time and that can bring on a good lather. So let’s now talk about what to look for when you buy beauty products that don’t contain sulfates and parabens.

What To Look For When Buying Beauty Products That Are Free Of Sulfates And Parabens

There are plenty of shampoos and other beauty products that are sulfate-free, and you will see that advertised on the bottle or packaging of the product. If they are sulfate-free, they are likely using safer ingredients that can help bring on a good lather and will not strip away too much of your sebum. Suppose there is a product that does not say it is sulfate-free. Instead, it lists sodium lauroyl taurate, lauroyl isethionate, lauryl sulfoacetate sodium, Laureth sulfate sodium, or lauryl sulfate sodium. In that case, those are other fancy words for sulfates. Some manufacturers that claim that they are organic will also sneak those terms into the ingredients listed on the bottle or packaging. That is why you must know of the other names.

However, when you are looking for products that are free of parabens, that might be trickier. That is because there are other ingredients on labels of these products that you may not know are different words for parabens.

Some names to look out for are propylparaben, butylparaben, alkylparahydroxybenzoates, and methylparaben. Therefore, a lot of these words have the term “paraben” in them. You also want to look for products that have ingredients such as phenoxyethanol, or ethylhexylgylcerin which is a plant-based ingredient.


You know that there has been so much buzz about beauty products lacking certain ingredients: sulfates and parabens. You may not know why that is so essential to know. However, you do want to stick to products free of those chemicals because they are known to cause many health problems. Parabens are preservatives that will help keep your products lasting longer and keep bacteria and other germs at bay. However, the problem is that parabens mimic estrogen and other hormones, and researchers discovered a connection to breast and other cancers and parabens. So you also want to keep away from sulfates too.

Sulfates are foaming agents which help shampoo, toothpaste, and soaps bring an excellent lather, and they are exceptionally good at removing oil and dirt to the point they can leave your skin and hair dry. Additionally, researchers found a connection between cell degeneration and sulfates. Therefore, that is why you want to avoid products that contain those chemicals.