In this summer heat, due to the excessive sweating and all the grime, we spend a good amount of time taking showers and ridding ourselves of the dirt. During the summers, we also find ourselves washing our hair more often than ever. Some people go as far as washing their hair every single day. But, is it a good idea to do so? After all, most shampoos do contain sulphate, and a recent rumour that has been doing the rounds states that sulphate is a carcinogen. So, what is the truth?
Sulphate is a chemical used in cleansing agents. The purpose of it is to create a lathering effect and get rid of oil and dirt. There are two types of sulphates, mainly – sodium lauryl sulphate and sodium laureth sulphate. Sulphates belong to a class of cleaners called Anionic Substance which has a much deeper cleaning effect as compared to other cleaning agents.
Over the past few years, several studies claimed that too much exposure to sulphate can cause serious health issues and long term skin damage. The intensity of the problems, however, could differ between individuals in terms of sensitivity of skin, irritation etc. Sulphates also tend to cause cell damage and strip the hair off its natural oils, thus damaging it and making it dry and frizzy. At lower concentration, they’re less harmful, therefore usage of shampoo must be limited.
Sulphates could also be potential carcinogens (cancer-causing agents). Although there is no solid scientific evidence to back this up, it is always better to be on the safer side. There have been persistent rumours and there wouldn’t be smoke without fire. Sulphate is best avoided if you want healthy hair and scalp as they can also cause rashes and skin irritation.
The market is flooded with products that claim to be sulphate -free. Stepping into a beauty store can be a bit overwhelming due to the sheer number of options available to us . However, it is better to first consult a Dermatologist and choose a shampoo according to your hair type. Make sure you read the label before purchasing a product to ensure that the ingredients are ones that suit you.
Some things you can do to keep your hair looking its best would be to use a good amount of conditioner or a leave-in serum after washing to restore moisture in your hair. It is also advised to wash your hair only when needed, and that would be a couple of times a week; not every single day. Use shampoo sparingly and find a suitable one that is tailored to the requirements of your hair. If possible, try switching to a sulphate-free shampoo. Your hair may not feel as clean once you’re done washing it, but it’s better for the health of your hair in the long run. And lastly, avoid using heating equipment such as blow-dryers, hair straighteners and curlers. They only cause further damage. Let your hair air dry, naturally.
In conclusion, sulphates don’t necessarily pose as a major threat. It depends more on the way each individual’s skin and hair respond to it. However, it is advised to reduce its usage to ensure healthy, long and luscious hair in the long run.