Did you know that your baby's skin is her largest organ, absorbing nearly all that is rubbed into it? That is why it’s important to be conscious of what we are putting on our little ones’ bodies in the same way we are concerned about the food we feed them.
But deciphering ingredient labels can be confusing! When it comes to choosing safe skincare, knowledge is power; so here's our run-down of the top five 'nasties' to avoid when purchasing skincare products for your baby.
Used as foaming agents, predominantly in bubble bath and body wash products (and household cleaners). Sulfates dry and irritate the skin. Furthermore, sulfates can produce toxic by-products during the manufacturing process making them possible carcinogens.
The most common are sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES).
- SYNTHETIC PRESERVATIVES
A preservative is essential in any skincare product that contains water to protect against microbial growth. Many synthetic preservatives, however, can cause skin irritation. There is also a group of preservatives known as formaldehyde-releasers that release a small amount of this known carcinogen while sitting on the bathroom shelf.
Preservatives that release formaldehyde include:
- DMDM hydantoin
- Imidazolidinyl urea
- Diazolidinyl urea
- Bronopol (2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol)
- MINERAL OIL
A by-product of the distillation of petroleum, mineral oil is widely used in creams, massage oils, shampoos and bath products. It can cause allergic reactions, clog pores and dry skin. Research has also linked mineral oil to cancer, vitamin deficiencies and birth defects. Many baby oils are 100 per cent mineral oil!
Mineral oil may also be labeled as paraffin oil. Also look out for petrolatum (mineral oil in a jelly state) and paraffin wax (mineral oil in a solid state).
Artificial colours exist only to make a product look more ‘attractive’. However, did you know that it can take up to 25 synthetic chemicals to produce just one artificial colour? Artificial colours can cause skin reactions, and some are known to be carcinogenic.
- CHEMICAL EMULSIFIERS
Emulsifiers allow oils (and waxes) to combine with water without separating out. They are the basis of any cream or lotion product. Many synthetic emulsifiers, however, can irritate the skin and may also be carcinogenic.
Look out for DEA and TEA which may contain nitrosamines, a class of chemical compunds believed to be carcinogenic. Also try to avoid PEG esters which are derived from petrochemical sources.