Are You at Risk: The Danger of Sulfates and Parabens in Men's Grooming Products

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Sulfates and parabens are a lot like toddlers with Sharpies…

You don’t realize the amount of damage that can occur due to the combination of both things until it’s too late.

In fact, it can take weeks (or in some cases even years!) before those who use men's grooming products with sulfates and parabens begin to experience symptoms like skin rashes, chemical burns, dry skin, long-term damage in the form of beard hair loss or thinning, and more. 

So, why do people not think twice about grabbing grooming products loaded with these harmful chemicals off the shelf?

Most people don’t really understand why sulfates and parabens are dangerous and simply don’t realize the dangers of using products that contain them.

At Lucky Grooming, we’re passionate about helping people stay safe and healthy with safe, natural beard products.

So, we thought it would be fun to take a deep dive into the mystery behind what sulfates and parabens are, why they are dangerous, and what you need to be on the lookout for when you’re picking out beard care products. 

Grab ahold of your beard (if you’re a dude of course) and let’s jump right in! 

What the Heck Is a  Sulfate?

Ahh, the million-dollar question!

Scientifically speaking, sulfates are aggressive detergents made of sulfur-containing mineral salts. They are salts that consist of a sulfur atom, four oxygen atoms, and a counter ion.

While it’s true that many sulfates occur naturally in the environment (ex: magnesium sulfate), many of the sulfates used in hair and skin care products have been chemically altered. 

Why Are Sulfates Used in Grooming Products?

Sulfates are effective cleaning agents. In the 1930s they were introduced into hair care products as a way to remove oils and other buildup in hair. The properties of sulfates also provide a foaming lather effect--a characteristic of soaps and shampoos that we now associate with cleanliness.

Sulfates are still used in products today because they are powerful cleaners, are extremely inexpensive, and are very easy to acquire.

Fun Fact: Car engine degreasers are often packed with sulfates because of their tough cleaning power. We know manly men often have a thing for cars, but we promise, you don’t want the same chemical used to degrease car engines being slathered all over your face or head! 

The Dangers Associated with Sulfates

When you use shampoos, soaps, and other skin or beard care products with sulfates, it’s possible that you might experience one or more of the following irritating, embarrassing, and even dangerous side effects…

  • Hair follicle damage
  • Dry, brittle hair
  • Dandruff
  • Rashes
  • Chemical burns
  • Hair Thinning
  • Balding
  • Scalp Itch 

What Are Parabens

Now onto the second commonly found harmful ingredient in hair care products…


In short, parabens are chemical preservatives.

They are used to keep products from expiring so they can sit on shelves for months (or even years!) until someone buys the product. There are over 12 variations of how parabens are chemically put together.

You can find parabens in thousands of products--from deodorants and toothpaste to frozen and preserved foods, like pickles. Gross! 

Why Are Parabens Used in Grooming Products?

As we already mentioned, parabens are preservatives that increase the shelf life of products. Many companies fill their products with parabens for the sake of saving a dollar.

In short, many hair, beard, and skin care companies don’t want to deal with throwing out mass quantities of products because they’ve expired. The goal is to be able to keep a product stocked on a shelf for as long as possible to minimize waste and spending. 

The Dangers Associated with Parabens

Parabens have been known to cause many of the same side effects (dry skin, rashes, etc.) as sulfates. However, those symptoms are minor compared to the real danger parabens present.

Let’s take a look at the risks of using products with parabens… 

Breast Cancer

A recent study from shows that Parabens contain estrogenic properties that can cause breast cancer. The summary of the report proved that, due to the expression of ESR1, ESR2 and PGR in cancer cells, parabens can be viewed as potential contributors to breast cancer progression.

Breast cancer is often thought of as a women's disease; however, the American Cancer Society claims that 460 men die each year from breast cancer.

Read the full study here. 

Infertility in Males

Did you know that products you use on your head or your face could impact your level of fertility? It’s true.

And much like going to a gun range and shooting blanks is no fun, trying to start a family with the woman you love and shooting blanks is no picnic either.

Earlier in 2017, Reuters released a study in which researchers examined lab tests done on 315 male patients of a fertility clinic to uncover why they were having trouble with reproduction. All of the men provided samples of urine, saliva, blood, and semen for analysis. 

It was discovered that men with high concentrations of parabens in their body also had a larger proportion of sperm that were of unusual size and shape.

Read the full study here.

Skin Aging

There’s nothing worse than being a bearded man in your 20s or 30s and having a small child confuse you for Old Saint Nick. Yet every day, men start noticing premature effects of skin aging, which can be directly linked to using products filled with parabens.

A recent study conducted by proved that the use of preservatives (parabens) in skin care products causes skin damage and aging due to the effects of allergic contact dermatitis. 

To sum it up, parabens can damage skin, leading it to thin, stretch out, and make you look far older than you really are.

Read the full study here.   

Lucky Grooming’s Commitment to Sulfate-Free and Paraben-Free Products

At Lucky Grooming, we don’t believe our customers’ health should be put at risk for the sake of making a few extra dollars.

And for this reason, we’ve made it our mission to ensure that all of our products, from our beard oil to beard balm, are 100% sulfate-free and paraben-free! 

All of our men’s grooming products are made with natural ingredients like coconut and almond oils, beeswax, and mango butter.

In fact, we’re so passionate about educating our customers about what goes into our products that we’ve included the unique ingredient list for every product we sell on our website.

If you’re looking for healthier, safer hair and beard care options, we invite you check out all the amazing products we offer.

Click here to find out more about Lucky Grooming products.

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