As new mothers, we get paranoid making sure our babies are protected and absolutely safe in whatever they do. We want what’s best for our children. The obvious choice would be to opt for a gentle, natural range of products designed especially for baby’s skin, right? But are we absolutely sure about the ingredients that go into these products? Today on The Clean Slate, let’s find out what chemicals can be found in baby products and how to avoid them.
1. Baby Oils
Major baby oils in the market are made up of mineral oils – commonly used because it is cost-effective and easy to source. However, mineral oils can clog pores and prevent skin from breathing. It also forms a layer over delicate baby skin, hindering the natural release of toxins from their bodies. Baby oils may also contain a vegetable glycerin mixed with grain alcohol called PEG or PPG. Although, the ingredient may seem safe and natural, the process involves synthetic chemicals which can cause hives or even eczema!
2. Bath Products
1,4-dioxane found in bath products and liquid soap, 1,4-dioxane is a chemical byproduct, so you won’t spot it on a label. A possible human carcinogen, 1,4-dioxane is linked to organ toxicity and skin allergies. To avoid it, don’t use products that contain sodium laureth sulfate, PEG compounds and chemicals listed as xynol, ceteareth and oleth.
3. Baby Lotion
You know that soothing ‘baby smell’ that most people love? This usually comes from a mixture of baby lotions and products applied and the natural scent of your little one. However, fragrance, as pleasant as it may be, is a big ‘no-no’ for your baby’s sensitive skin. These fragrances are often made up of phthalates which studies have shown, could potentially cause liver or kidney damage. Phthalates are also found in soft plastic toys, baby powders, shampoos, lotions and in fragrances added to baby products. Phthalates and parabens are a group of chemicals that are used as preservatives in personal care products like baby shampoos and lotions. There is no proof on which ones are harmful which is why it’s best to avoid them. Look out for ‘paraben-free’ products when shopping for your baby.
4. Skin Lotion
On it’s own vitamin A is safe, but when it’s used in sunscreen and skin is exposed to the sun, it can be problematic. In fact, a study by the National Toxicology Program suggests that retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A, may speed up the development of skin tumors and lesions. When reading labels, avoid products that contain vitamin A, retinyl palmitate, retinol, retinyl acetate, retinyl linoleate and retinoic acid. Another dangerous chemical that’s used in sunscreen and should be avoided is oxybenzone, which is an endocrine disruptor and has been linked to endometriosis and reproductive problems.
If your baby product brand does not contain the above mentioned ingredients, remember to still read the labels for this one trick advertisers might be using. A lot of popular brands mention words like ‘pure’ and ‘natural’ loosely as marketing claims and it’s natural for trusting consumers to buy into these, assuming that such products might be the best option at the best price. Look up ingredients and their side-effects despite the mention of pure, natural and organic. Brands also hide harmful ingredients by mentioning only ‘KEY’ ingredients on the label. Always look for organic products with natural ingredients mentioned clearly.