Want to know which baby products are safe and what chemical ingredients to avoid? Read on.
When it comes to our little one’s body, we want to be extra safe about the products we use on their skin and hair. Some of our children have extra sensitive skin types, which are easily irritated by specific ingredients (even some natural ingredients), or can develop allergies after excessive exposure to chemical ingredients. And we certainly want to be aware of which chemicals can be absorbed into their sweet little bodies, in order to steer clear from them. Since we believe knowledge is power, we want to offer you some tips on how to read labels and a little insight into baby skin care products. Let’s review a list of ingredients like formaldehyde, fragrances, parabens and more, that when possible, we’ll want to avoid.
A List of Ingredients to Avoid in Baby Products
Here’s a breakdown of ingredients that are not safe for children (or any of us for that matter) and how to understand what’s inside the baby skin care products on those shelves.
You may have heard of formaldehyde because it’s found in second hand smoke. What you may not have known is that it’s a carcinogen that is also found in many personal care and cleaning products. It’s main function is to extend the shelf life of the product and prevent bacteria from growing on the surface of the product. While we don’t want our products to grow fungus and rot, there are alternative ingredients for safely preventing bacterial growth in products. Formaldehyde is dangerous when inhaled, or when heated, as it’s found in many chemical straightening hair solutions. Some companies disguise formaldehyde under the name DMDM hydantoin, methylene glycol, quaternium 15, 3 dioxane, and unfortunately, the list goes on. It’s ingredients we don’t need to expose our children to when we have the choice.
You’ll know a product has parabens when you see the word paraben hooked onto the end of a word like butylparaben, methylparaben, or propylparaben. You’ll see many products now advertising that they are paraben-free because it’s nearly common knowledge these days that parabens disrupt hormone functions. Studies show parabens have been linked to breast cancer and fertility issues. Something we don’t want to expose our children to, or really anyone to for that matter!
Fragrance, or parfum, has become one of the most useful umbrella terms for companies to hide what’s inside their products. The term was initially used so that a company wouldn’t have to reveal their formula, something like grandma’s secret recipe, now gone, well, corrupt. Not all products that list fragrance as an ingredient are unsafe, but the only way to know is by reaching out to the company and finding out what they mean by ‘fragrances.’ Some fragrances can cause asthma, birth defects, hormone disruption, allergies, and respiratory conditions.
You may find mineral oil in baby creams, wipes, lotions or oils. It’s sometimes listed as, petrolatum, paraffinum, or paraffinum liquidum, which may give you the sensation that it’s moisturizing the skin, when in fact it’s clogging the pores and preventing the skin from breathing. And while we definitely want our baby's skin to be soft and healthy, we certainly don’t want to prevent it from breathing!
TALC is an ingredient you’ll mostly find in baby powder to calm diaper rash. However, of late, traces of asbestos have been found in talcum powder. Safe products will use cornstarch as a replacement for talcum powder, and we’re oh, so grateful for them!
Phthalates are just about as unpopular as parabens and fragrances. Phthalates actually, in most products, come hand-in-hand with fragrances. It’s a petroleum by-product, that isn’t just in our creams and lotions, but can also be found in our children’s plastic toys, which yes, they often put in their mouths or chew on. Phthalates have been linked to reproductive organ malformation, and other undesirable issues. When it comes to selecting baby bottles and toys go for medical-grade silicone or natural substances to play it safe.
Other ingredients to avoid include:
- Bisphenol A (BPA)
- Tributyltin (TBT)
- Oxybenzone (in sunscreen)
Empowering yourself with the knowledge of what ingredients are safe and unsafe is one invaluable way of taking care of yourself and your family. Safer options are becoming available more and more each year due to the rise in demand and the information made available through the internet. Our family at Play Pits want to be a part of the movement that keeps your family safe (and smelling delicious!) Because yes, our children can smell yummy and healthy without any exposure to that yucky chemical stuff!