Protecting Skin and Health: The Risks of Phosphates, Sulfates, Paraffin, Ethoxylates, and Fragrances in Laundry DetergentsFebruary 8, 2023 · Monika Harah

Protecting Skin and Health: The Risks of Phosphates, Sulfates, Paraffin, Ethoxylates, and Fragrances in Laundry Detergents

Laundry detergents that contain phosphates, sulfates, paraffin, and ethoxylates may seem like a convenient and affordable option, but they can be harmful to our skin and overall health. These ingredients are commonly found in many laundry detergents, but they can cause a number of negative effects.

“A survey by the American Contact Dermatitis Society found that over 60% of individuals with sensitive skin reported experiencing a reaction to a product containing SLS.”


Sulfates, such as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), are commonly used as surfactants in laundry detergents.

They are known to be harsh on the skin and can cause irritation, dryness, and even allergic reactions. Sulfates can strip the skin of its natural oils, leaving it dry, itchy, and prone to irritation.

Paraffin and ethoxylates, such as sodium tallowate and sodium cocoate, are commonly used in laundry detergents as thickening agents.

These ingredients are derived from petroleum, which can be harmful to our skin and can cause irritation, dryness, and allergic reactions. They can also clog pores and lead to acne breakouts.

Phosphates, commonly found in laundry detergents as a water softener and a cleaning enhancer, have been linked to respiratory problems and cardiovascular disease.

These ingredients can irritate the respiratory system and have been known to aggravate asthma and other respiratory conditions.

In addition, many laundry detergents contain fragrances, which can also cause skin irritation and allergic reactions.

“According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 1,4-dioxane is a probable human carcinogen, and has been classified as such by the agency, it has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer and other types of cancer.”


In fact, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, fragrances are one of the most common causes of contact dermatitis.

The best way to avoid these harmful ingredients is to choose laundry detergents that are labeled as "phosphate-free," "sulfate-free," "paraffin-free," "ethoxylate-free" and "Fragrance-free".

There are many natural and eco-friendly alternatives available on the market that are just as effective as traditional laundry detergents and are gentle on the skin. By making the switch, we can help protect our skin and overall health.

In conclusion, using laundry detergents that contain phosphates, sulfates, paraffin, ethoxylates, and fragrances can be harmful to our skin and overall health.

These ingredients can cause several negative effects, including irritation, dryness, and allergic reactions. By choosing natural and eco-friendly alternatives, we can protect our skin and overall health.