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What are Sulfates? Understanding SLS & Sulfate Free Products

December 22nd, 2021

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What are Sulfates? Understanding SLS & Sulfate Free Products

These days, people aren’t just concerned about the kind of food they’re putting in their bodies. They’re worried about everything they’re putting in their bodies. This way of thinking has led to a significant movement where people look more closely at the ingredient lists and labels on the health, beauty, and cleaning products they use. One phrase that pops up in the advertising of these products is “no sulfates.” But, what are sulfates? Are they bad for you? Should you avoid them?

Learn more about what sulfates are and why you should opt for SLS-free products.  

What Are Sulfates?

Sulfates are a group of mineral salts that form when sulfuric acid reacts with another chemical. They can be natural or manufactured, appearing in soil, water, the air, and household products. 

Where You Can Find Sulfates

You can find manufactured sulfates in cleaning products and other household items like laundry detergent, dish soap, and hand soap. You can also find sulfates in health and beauty products such as body wash, shampoo, toothpaste, face wash, and more. 

Why Sulfates Are Bad For You

While there may not be any direct links between sulfates and cancer, infertility, or development issues, the biggest problem with the chemical ingredient is that they can cause skin and eye irritation. Specifically, the sulfates found in health and beauty products can dry out the skin, which can be a problem for those with sensitive skin. Like many chemicals, the longer you are exposed to the sulfates, the higher your chance of a reaction. People who are most likely to experience adverse health effects from high sulfate exposure include people with asthma, older adults with chronic heart or lung diseases, and children.

How Sulfates Harm the Environment

According to the California Air Resources Board, sulfates contribute to acidification of surface water and soil as well as acid rain and fog that damage ecosystems, plants, and forests. Additionally, they are lightly colored and reflect energy from sunlight back into space.

The Dangers of SLS

What is SLS?

Sodium lauryl sulfate, or SLS, is a specific type of sulfate produced from petroleum and plant sources like palm and coconut oil. It is a surfactant that strips away oil and dirt from surfaces and makes products foam and lather. During the manufacturing process, SLS is contaminated with a toxic byproduct.

What Kind Of Sulfates Are In Toothpaste?

SLS is typically found in toothpaste because it creates a foam and tingling sensation while you brush. While most people think this sensation means the product is working, it’s actually a sign that your gums and tongue are being mildly irritated by the product.

Why You Should Use Toothpaste With No SLS

There are plenty of benefits of using toothpaste with no SLS. Since sulfates can irritate and exacerbate mouth irritations and sores, it’s best to use SLS-free toothpaste, especially if you have existing problems with your teeth or gums. Products with SLS can cause more discomfort and pain if you suffer from gum disease, canker sores, gingivitis, or sensitive teeth.

Oral Products With No SLS

Since SLS is most known for making products foam, lather, and tingle, using SLS-free products won’t affect how efficiently the product is doing its job. You can swap out your products for SLS-free versions and still get the same type of cleaning without any of the potential irritation. 

The Natural Dentist has developed several kinds of toothpaste and mouth rinses with no SLS. Here are some of the best oral health products with no SLS:

  • Healthy Gums Aloe Vera Toothpaste: soothes inflammation, treats bleeding gums, and contains a full therapeutic dose (20%) of purified aloe vera.
  • Activated Charcoal Toothpaste: safely whitens teeth and freshens breath using activated charcoal that has been purified, activated, and ground into a fine powder.
  • All In One Fluoride Toothpaste: an anticavity toothpaste that fights tartar and freshens breath without harsh chemicals or ingredients. 
  • Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste: contains high-polishing, low abrasive silica to help brush away film and stains and reveal the natural whiteness of your teeth.
  • Natural Dentist Healthy Gums Mouth Rinse: formulated with 20% purified aloe vera, this mouth rinse soothes and moisturizes while promoting gum health and freshening breath. It’s available in two flavors Peppermint Twist and Orange Zest.

Switch Your Oral Health Products to SLS-Free Options!

Avoid irritation and worsening any oral conditions you have by switching your current toothpaste and mouthwash to one without SLS. You’ll get the same cleaning without any chemicals that can potentially harm your oral health.

Learn more about why we won’t use SLS in our toothpaste formulas.

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