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Friday, January 25, 2013

The Skinny on Sulfates

I'm sure you've all noticed over the last few years the growing number of products boasting to be "sulfate free".  SkIndulgence is definitely proud to be on this bandwagon.  Not so readily advertised, however, is why it is important to be sulfate free.  Hopefully the following will help explain this:

What are Sulfates?
Sulfates are chemical detergents that produce lather. They are found in a variety of beauty products, including soaps, body washes and shampoo. 

Sulfates are the ingredients that make liquid soaps thick.  If you've ever used Dr. Brommer's or SkIndulgence liquid soaps you've noticed that these products are noticeably thinner.  As such, I package the liquid facial cleansers with a foaming-pump top, which makes the product much easier to use.

Why Sulfates are Bad for your Skin
Sulfates break up grease, allowing it to be rinsed away; however, they can be rather harsh and may strip away your skin's natural sebum (which locks in moisture).  As such, products containing sulfates can be known to be overly-drying to your skin and hair.  If you have sensitive, or easily-irritated skin, sulfates may compound the irritation. 

Why Sulfates are Bad for the Environment
In a nutshell, sulfates occur as microscopic particles resulting from fossil fuel and biomass combustion. They increase the acidity of the atmosphere and form acid rain...which we generally frown upon.

Fun Barely-Related Dori Fact
In 8th grade my science grade was less than stellar, so I worked out a deal with my teacher to do little experiments for extra credit.  Always the environmentalist, I used the "Try This!" exercises in my copy of "50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth" book as a basis for these experiments. One such lesson was on the effects of acid rain: it instructed us to get three small house plants and feed one straight water, the second a 50-50 solution of water and lemon juice, and the third straight lemon juice.

I ran down to the drug store, purchased the three cheapest house plants I could find and eagerly started this experiment.  Within days, plants two and three died horrible, suffocating deaths due to the acidity of their diet.  Though I had predicted this outcome as my experiment's hypothesis (obviously), I was still wracked with guilt over the demise of my two house plants.  Here we are, 20 years later, and I still totally can't walk by houseplant displays without guilty memories of my murder-spree days flooding back.

Yes, I've been told I have an overactive imagination...why do you ask?

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