Are Your Baby Care Products Safe? Watch Out For These Ingredients

We know you want to give your baby only the best things. Here’s an easy guide to choosing safe skincare products for your child.

By URLife Team
20 Feb 2022

Skin and hair care can be self-care, and it is not just for adults. The gentle skin of your baby deserves only the safest of products, but often, some ingredients found in personal care products may do more harm than good. In order to formulate the right baby care routine, there are a few things to keep in mind. Your baby's skin is delicate and sensitive, and is both more absorbent and more prone to losing moisture easily. Keeping that in mind, it is important to pay attention to the ingredients list and opt for products free of potentially harmful ingredients. The products you choose should be preventive and protective against issues such as contact dermatitis, rashes and other irritations. Buy products that are specifically made for babies and are dermatologist approved. Look for potential allergens, and monitor your child to see if there is any negative reaction to any product being used. The best option would be to choose products that are created by combining the strengths of science and Nature—go for gentle, hypoallergenic, organic products that will help retain moisture and maintain the pH balance of your infant's skin.


So what are some of the ingredients you should keep an eye out for in your baby's care products? Read on for a quick refresher on reading cosmetic product labels carefully.



Ingredients to avoid

1. Phthalates: Phthalates are a group of chemicals that are found in a wide range of items, from personal care products such as shampoos and moisturisers to plastic products. In cosmetic products, phthalates are often commonly listed under “fragrance” or “parfum”, so look out for products with artificial fragrance. Research is ongoing to understand more, but studies suggest that some phthalates can have harmful effects, especially on children and pregnant women. A 2013 review published in Current Opinion in Pediatrics presents that some studies show that foetal and childhood exposure to some phthalates may interfere with normal development and may increase the risk of allergic diseases such as asthma.


2. Parabens: Parabens are used as preservatives in personal care products. Although the levels of parabens found in baby products are generally safe, they may cause allergic reactions in some, owing to the delicate nature of babies’ skin, which also absorbs products more easily than the skin of adults.



3. Sulphates: Sulphates help create lather, and are used in cleansing products. Sulphates can cause irritation, especially in infants and with prolonged use. They can also dry out your baby's skin.


4. Formaldehyde: Also used as preservatives, formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing ingredients found in cosmetic products can cause adverse effects, especially during pregnancy and on infants. Formaldehyde is also found in items such as household objects like carpets and plywood, and exposure to formaldehyde present in air can trigger skin, eye, nose, and throat irritation, and may have an association with childhood asthma, according to an article published in Environmental Health Perspective.


5. Alcohol: Ethanol or ethyl alcohol can be drying and irritating for your baby’s vulnerable skin, so look for alcohol-free products. Keep in mind, however, that ethyl alcohol is different from fatty alcohols such as cetyl and stearyl alcohol. Fatty alcohols are considered safe for use and are often derived from natural sources.


6. Synthetic fragrance: A host of harmful chemicals that are not derived from natural sources can be listed simply as "fragrance" or "parfum" in personal care product labels. Products with synthetic fragrance can cause allergic reactions and be detrimental for your baby’s sensitive skin.


7. Artificial dyes and other chemicals like oxybenzone: Other ingredients to keep an eye out for in personal care products for your child that can be irritants and potentially harmful include things such as artificial dyes. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), it is better to keep babies under six months out of direct, harsh sunlight instead of applying sunscreen, as they are more susceptible to side effects such as skin irritation. Chemical sunscreens, with ingredients such as avobenzone and oxybenzone, should especially be avoided, as they get absorbed more easily and can cause irritation, besides other potential side effects.


Consult your baby’s doctor if you have concerns about their skin, skincare and safety.



Related Story: Can Chemicals in Your Personal Care Products Affect Your Pregnancy?


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