Synthetic detergents containing sulfates that are present in most conventional facial cleansers may be the culprit behind your irritated skin or perpetual low-grade inflammation. Pure water alone isn’t sufficient for removing dirt from your dermis because it’s fat soluble and sticks to your skin, so cosmetic companies turn to a variety of other ingredients to achieve a cleansing lather that removes impurities and oil from pores. The issue is, the typical ingredient used in conventional cosmetic products is often the same detergent found in oven cleaners and car cleansers – that is, a heavy and industrial strength chemical that will leave your skin stripped and irritated. Here we’re taking a closer look at conventional detergents in cleansers, and the natural plant-based alternatives used in Puristry formulas - all sulfate free.
What are Sulfates?
Synthetic detergents were developed in the 1950s, and are made from a variety of petrochemicals (derived from petroleum) and/or oleochemicals (derived from fats and oils). Chemicals such as sulphur trioxide, sulphuric acid and ethylene oxide often feature, as well as sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate (the main ingredients found in lathering shampoo products and dish soap). Although there are a variety of skin concerns that come hand in hand with these conventional detergents, they continue to appear in most mainstream formulas due to how cheap they are to produce, and because they effectively remove makeup and impurities from the skin.
Why Go Sulfate Free?
In fact, they are actually too powerful when it comes to removing lipids from the top skin layers– synthetic detergents strip skin of its natural oil barrier, leaving it without any of the beneficial oil that is required for skin suppleness. When sebum is entirely stripped, the skin suffers from accelerated water loss through the epidermis, potentially leading to dermatitis or habitual flaking. Insufficient moisture levels over time contribute to premature aging and dullness – simply tweaking your cleanser to a more sulfate free, plant-based formula may be all you need to do in order pump the breaks on what looks like accelerated aging. Note that applying thick moisturizers is typically the first thing a person thinks to do when their skin is lacking natural oil – but before thinking about your moisturizing routine, first check the label of your cleanser, which could be the root cause of your dryness and tightness.
And that’s just one of a long list of concerns associated with conventional detergents in skin care. The chemicals that fall under the detergent umbrella can disrupt skin’s pH balance, damaging the skin barrier function and leaving it irritated and prone to breakage and weakness. When your skin barrier is disrupted, your dermis is more sensitive to other chemicals and products, and more prone to absorption – meaning that your conventional cleanser may be priming your skin to be irritated to other products that you’re also applying. And finally, cleansing with a harsh detergent seriously disrupts the number and type of bacteria on your epidermal layer – this can potential cause or exacerbate existing acne, leaving you suffering from both depleted moisture levels and acneic comedones. This dreaded combination of a dull complexion and breakouts is something you can avoid by going sulfate free.
Sulfate Free Ingredients
The solution? Steer clear of chemically-laden detergents, and opt for sulfate free cleansers. Our natural alternatives are plant-based and easy on the most sensitive skin.
Bergaptene Free Bergamot Oil
This nourishing oil is one of our go-to cleansers, with it’s naturally clarifying composition that effectively removes dirt and impurities without over-drying. It balances skin’s pH levels and is antibacterial and antimicrobial, so it’s an excellent choice for acne prone skin types looking for a natural remedy. It is effectively grease-cutting and removes excess lipids without entirely wiping out skin’s natural oil levels – an excellent natural choice. It’s important to choose a bergaptene free version to prevent against photosensitivity and irritated skin. You can find it in our Restorative Facial Oil. Apply with water, steam, toner, or moisturizer for more effective absorption. If you like to double cleanse, apply facial oil first to help remove stubborn eye makeup. Our Nopal Cactus Cleanser is also another nourishing source of bergaptene free bergamot oil.
Organic Aloe Water
Organic aloe water is another ultra effective natural cleanser, featuring in our cult favorite Nopal Cactus Cleanser. It’s an ultra hydrating humectant that’s also rich in antioxidants, so it’s a fantastic cleansing ingredient for mature skin that’s suffering from a lack of radiance. It stimulates new cell growth, accelerates healing of acne scars and sun related discoloration, and also helps to counteract infection, making it an excellent soother for active skin irritation.
Our third tried and true plant based natural cleanser is Decyl Glucoside, a plant-based fatty alcohol derived from raw coconuts, which works as a cleanser that cuts through oil. It’s a mild and super gentle surfactant (meaning that it helps stabilize oil and water together) with an unbelievable lathering property that matches its synthetic counterparts, while being much more tolerable and safe for sensitive skin.
Sulfate Free Facial Cleanser
Our Nopal Cactus Cleanser incorporates aloe into its formula along with Bergaptene Free Bergamot Oil and Decyl Glucoside: the three natural cleansers work synergistically to hydrate and calm skin, remove impurities, and cut through grease, while respecting the integrity of the skin’s oil and water balance. All three are safe, non-irritating, and sustainable – they’re ideal alternatives to toxic, irritating and chemical laden detergents present in most conventional formulas. Plus the Nopal Cactus Cleanser formula contains yuzu citrus, a radiance boosting source of vitamin C with gentle resurfacing properties. It’s a must-have cleanser with everyday benefits and a super lightweight texture. And best of all, it doesn’t share any of the same ingredients as dish detergent.
Keep up with us here for more ingredient investigations.