Selecting products for your baby can be quite challenging. I am astounded at the number of baby products on the market with so many ingredients. At my sister’s baby shower a couple years ago, she received many gifts containing baby soaps, oils, lotions and moisturisers. She asked me to go through them, and select the most natural products with minimal ingredients. Unfortunately, I could only pick a few that were (in my eyes) acceptable to put on my nephew.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing products in the market which I highly recommend, but there are also some questionable ones. My main concerns are the quality of the product and the ingredients/chemicals used in these products.
A baby/child is generally less capable to eliminate toxins because their immune system and central nervous system are still developing and quite immature. Therefore, it is important to take the time and understand what products you are using on your baby/child.
Common chemicals used in baby products
Petrochemicals and Mineral oil:
Mineral oil is extracted from paraffin oil, which is distilled from petroleum. It blocks your pores and skin’s natural breathing process. I definitely wouldn’t want to use it on my baby/infant or on me. It is found in Vaseline & some Paw Paw ointments.
Safer oil options: sweet almond oil, sesame oil & apricot oil.
Parabens are neurotoxic and are linked to reproductive toxicity, disrupt hormone function and irritate the skin. This includes benzoic acid and propyl ester.
Avoid any product has an ingredient that ends in “–paraben.”
Fragrance and Parfum:
Fragrances are added to mask the odour of the chemicals they use in the products. Unfortunately, skincare manufacturers don’t need to list the ingredients used to make fragrances. Fragrances are linked to allergies, skin irritation and eczema.
Avoid anything that lists fragrance, perfume or parfum. If you wish to use something with a fragrance, use natural essential oils but be mindful of the quality also.
Sulphates irritate the skin and strip the skin of natural oils. They may also cause organ toxicity and hormone disruption.
Avoid products containing sodium lauryl sulfate or SLS, Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) .
Propylene glycol / polyethylene glycol (PEG) and polypropylene (PPG):
Propylene glycol / PEG / PPG are chemicals that may be carcinogenic. It is used in anti-freeze and its role is to open the pores. It is irritating and had allergenic properties. They may be found in baby wipes, possibly shampoos/conditioners.
Phthalates disrupt the endocrine system and may be linked to developmental and reproductive toxicity, including a decrease in sperm motility and concentration. They can also play a role in allergies and asthma.
Avoid products with the following diethylhexyl phthalate, dibutyl phthalate, demethyl phthalate, or diethyl phthalate.
Tips for choosing your baby products
- If you wouldn’t put it in your mouth, don’t use it
- Read the label: General rule of thumb, if you can’t read the ingredient list on the bottle, it probably is not ideal to be putting it on your baby/child
- Choose fragrance free products or products that are naturally scented with essential oils and extracts.
- Purchase products with minimal ingredients