Harmful effects of skincare or cleansing products containing sulphates, parabens

Updated on Jul 15, 2022 04:25 PM IST

Check the ingredients list on the back of your skincare or cleansing products. Do they contain sulphates and parabens? Ditch them for these harmful reasons

Harmful effects of skincare or cleansing products containing sulphates, parabens (Los Muertos Crew)
Harmful effects of skincare or cleansing products containing sulphates, parabens (Los Muertos Crew)
ByZarafshan Shiraz, Delhi

To understand why it’s beneficial to avoid using skincare or cleansing products containing sulphates and parabens, we need to dive deeper into what sulphates and parabens are. Sulphates are surfactants that have the ability to lower the surface tension of water, making the molecules slipperier and soap-like hence, they are less likely to stick to themselves and more likely to interact with oil and grease, which is why they’re present in a wide range of cleaning products.

Parabens are chemicals that work as preservatives to increase the shelf-life of products and prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi, which is why they’re used in an array of cleaning products. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Sandhya Sakuja, Director of Vedic Cosmeceuticals Pvt Ltd, elaborated, “Sulphates are detergents or surfactants that are harsh cleansers. Found in all kinds of detergent cleansing products, they are best known to cut grease and dirt, which is why they are the most commonly used disinfectants in household cleaning products.”

She explained, “In skincare products, sulphate depletes the skin of its natural oils, leaving the skin very dry. In terms of the environment, they are not environmentally friendly because they cause acidification in the water. The skincare industry is now realising the harmful effects of sulphate and thus there is a reduction in sulphate usage. Especially in body washes and shampoos, the usage is now milder and lesser.”

Talking of parabens, Sandhya Sakuja revealed, “These were the most commonly used preservatives till a few years ago, both in the food industry and skincare industry. Studies, over the years, have found parabens to be harmful in terms of causing hormone dysfunctionality, and increasing the risk of cancer, and other skin ailments too. Apparently, the UV rates react with parabens used in the product, as parabens tend to stay on the top layer of the skin.”

She added, “Parabens have been out of the industry for some time now. While they are one of the most effective ways of preserving skincare, today, there are better alternatives available, which are being used. There are natural preservatives which give the products shelf life, just as much as parabens do. So, not using parabens is advisable, especially when there are a plethora of alternates available. We are guiding brands to stay away from them, and use the milder / more acceptable alternatives that are environment friendly as well.”

Highlighting to what extent can they damage your health, Namrata Reddy Sirupa, Co-Founder of Satliva, listed a few reasons why products containing sulphates and parabens must be avoided:

● The chemical nature of sulphates leads to dry hair and skin as they rob them of their natural oils.

● Using sulphates can lead to skin, eye, and scalp irritation along with severe inflammation.

● Sulphates are produced from petroleum, therefore; they are unsustainable and hazardous to the environment

● Parabens are known to cause allergic reactions and further worsen dermatitis.

● Parabens can disrupt the appropriate production of hormones in the body.

● Parabens can lead to breast cancer. Studies have revealed concentrations of parabens in malignant breast tumours.

Among these frightful facts regarding sulphates and parabens, the good news is that there are plenty of products out there that allow you to cultivate great health without the drawbacks of these chemicals.

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