If you have been to Virtue, you already know that all of our products are completely sulfate-free, paraben-free and vegan. Many of our products are even gluten-free. But what exactly does that mean for you? What are these ingredients, and why are they harmful to us?
Let’s break it down.
Paraben: a preservative in a ton of products on the market, everything from pharmaceutical and cosmetic products and even in the food industry.
Sulfate: scientifically, a salt that is formed when sulfuric acid reacts with another chemical element. In beauty products, sulfates are inexpensive, powerful grease-cutting detergents that cause products to lather and create suds.
Gluten: a protein that occurs naturally in many types of grains including wheat, rye, and barley. Many people that have gluten allergies find that using gluten-free beauty products help relieve their symptoms.
So why are these extremely common ingredients potentially harmful?
Paraben: Within the last few years, scientists have been debating whether or not parabens could be a leading cause of cancer and other health problems. According to Besthealthmag.ca in their article "Parabens: What are they, and are they really that bad?" A Danish study showed that hours after lotions were applied to the skin; they were able to find traces of parabens in the blood and urine of those tested. Other studies have also been done regarding parabens being found in 18 out of 20 tissue samples from cancerous tumors in the breast. Many people have stopped using parabens simply because of the risk they may impose on the body. There is no concrete evidence that parabens cause cancer, but some say the two are linked, and that there may be reason for concern.
Sulfate: With products claiming to be sulfate-free popping up on shelves all over the country, many people have asked: what is so bad about this ingredient? Sulfates are found in many personal care products including shampoo, toothpaste, shaving foam, body washes and facial cleansers. They function as surfactants—water- and oil-soluble compounds that, when combined with water, foam and emulsify greasy substances. There are hundreds of varieties of sulfates, but Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) are the ones most commonly used in personal care products. Chemists have said that while SLS and SLES are not sensitizers (molecules that cause allergic reactions), they are irritants, and in some people can temporarily aggravate the skin, causing redness, dryness and itching. When you get shampoo in your eyes, the burning sensation usually stems from the SLS. Sulfates can fade color and cause hair to become brittle and dry. Since sulfates are used to make suds, sulfate-free shampoos usually don’t lather quite as much as shampoos containing sulfates. Sulfate-free shampoos require you to use more water to activate the suds.
Gluten: Individuals with celiac disease may respond strongly and negatively to even small amounts of gluten. You might be surprised to learn that certain products, including non-food items, can contain various forms of hidden gluten. Beauty products don’t always clearly label if they contain gluten. There have been no studies that show clear evidence those beauty products will affect someone who has gluten sensitivity but labeling products as gluten-free brings awareness to those who may have issues or choose to reduce the amount of their gluten intake.
To date, the EU has banned 1,100 chemicals in cosmetics; the Food and Drug Administration in America has banned only 10. Being aware of the potential risk of using these common ingredients could reduce the risk of some diseases and any irritation that might occur.
Because we believe in nourishing our guests with health-conscious ingredients at Virtue, cutting parabens, sulfates and gluten in addition to animal products is an obvious choice for us. If you have any questions, feel free to ask us the next time you visit!
Post by Cayla!