Babies are such sweet creatures, why would anyone slather them with toxic chemicals? Unfortunately, that’s the inadvertent outcome from using skincare products made from harsh chemicals that can harm a baby’s delicate skin and developing organs.
Babies aren’t just little adults. Pound for pound they are more vulnerable to unsafe chemical exposures especially at important stages of development. “Parents need to do their homework, learn which chemicals they should be avoiding and then read labels to keep their babies safe from chemicals linked to cancer, developmental harm and other adverse health effects,” said Janet Nudelman, Director of Program and Policy at the Breast Cancer Fund.
Less is more when it comes to your baby’s skincare routine. Using as few products as possible will allow you to keep your baby clean, while avoiding cumulative exposures to toxic chemicals found in many commercial baby products.
Avoiding the known chemicals is a great first step in finding safe skincare products for you and your baby. It’s also a good idea to look for organic ingredients. That often means that toxic chemicals aren’t in there. Absolutely avoid anything with fragrance. If you like for your products to smell great, essential oils can provide the natural scent you are looking for.
When it comes to laundry detergent, not only is your baby’s skin sensitive to the clothes she wears, but she is also sensitive to the clothes you are wearing when you hold her. Switch the whole family to a gentle laundry detergent that won’t leave nasty residue behind. “Some laundry detergents are marketed as safe and healthy, but the truth is that what’s in the bottle can hurt you and your child,” said Lori Alper, who blogs at groovygreenlivin.com. “Laboratory testing revealed cancer-causing chemicals were found in detergents claiming to be ‘gentle.’ I wish the burden was on companies to make safe products instead of on busy parents trying to do the right thing for their families,” said Alper.
Baby skin is super sensitive to sun so limit exposure year-round. Keep babies less than six-months-old covered, rather than applying sunscreen. If you have to take your baby into the sun, use a hat and stay in the shade to prevent burning. For older babies, use just a small amount of sunscreen for a short time and then wash it off. Two good resources are the Good Guide and the EWG.
It’s always important to read product ingredient labels, but keep in mind that some dangerous contaminants of skincare products are not listed. Unfortunately, research has revealed serious toxins in some skincare designed specifically for babies. Just last year, an iconic baby shampoo was found to contain dioxane and formaldehyde, both cancer-causing chemicals. Organizations like the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the American Nurses Association are advocating for consumers to keep these companies accountable.
SAY YES TO:
*Always look for the chemicals on the “no” list even if you find the above in the ingredients
SAY NO TO:
DMDM Hydantoin & quanternium-15
Sodium Laureth/Laurel Sulfate
FD&C Color Pigments
PEG (Polyethylene Glycol) & Propylene Glycol