Sulfates are surfactant and foaming agents commonly used in cleansing products like facial cleansers, body cleansers and shampoos to create a rich lather and effectively remove dirt, oils and impurities from skin or hair. Sulfates can cause potential skin irritation for some individuals, especially those with sensitive skin and there have been concerns around its safety in certain formulas. Because sulfates can be harsh on skin, some prefer sulfate-free alternatives in their skincare routines.


Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)


Sulfates are a synthetic compound created through chemical processes in laboratories and not obtained from natural sources.


Sulfates can be tolerated by most without issue when used at appropriate concentrations, but have potential to cause irritation, particularly for those with sensitive skin.


Sulfates do not offer skincare benefits since their primary function is as cleansing and foaming agents. Any benefit lies in their ability to create a rich lather that removes dirt, oils and impurities from the skin.