How Do Sulfates Affect Your Hair?

Many shampoo manufacturers add chemicals like sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium dodecyl sulfate to create the classic foamy texture you get when massaging shampoo into your hair. Sulfates also help clean out residue found on the hair and scalp to leave it clean and grease-free. Still, some shampoos advertise that they’re sulfate-free, so many people wonder if sulfates can have a negative effect on hair.

The Impact of Sulfates on Hair

A bottle of shower gel next to a bottle of shampoo

Sulfates are considered harmless when used at low concentrations. Before shampooing, the scalp and hair contain dirt, oil, and dead skin cells, and the lather caused by sulfates attaches to these contaminants to remove them. While this may sound like an effective way to keep hair healthy, the long-term effects aren’t always great. When someone shampoos too often, they may start to lose essential oils and proteins found on the scalp and in the hair.

When to Avoid Sulfates

Sulfates may be harmful to certain people, particularly those who have sensitive skin, eczema, rosacea, or are allergic to sulfur. People with dry or fine hair should also avoid sulfates because they often have a deficiency of natural oils and proteins, which can make them more prone to the over-drying effects of sulfates. You may also want to avoid sulfates if you’re prone to frizzy hair.

If you’ve noticed changes to your hair or increased sensitivity on your scalp, The Dermatology Clinic can help. We’ve been offering comprehensive skincare solutions to Baton Rouge, LA residents since 1947. Our treatments are innovative and clinically tested to help patients manage their skin. Book an appointment at any of our three locations by calling (225) 769-7546.

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