What toxic chemicals do to your baby's skin?

What toxic chemicals do to your baby's skin?

This information is brought to you by Johnson’s Baby ‘Natural’, ‘chemical free’ or ‘gentle’ are some of the bold labels that we see on many baby products. The fact remains that they might still be filled up with toxic chemicals that may do more harm to your baby’s skin. How often do you really go through the ingredients when you buy baby products? ‘Going through’ meaning not just browsing but really scrutinising them? We often think that some products are marketed so well that we can trust them completely. They must be the best for our baby, right? Baby products are marketed in a way that make you think you need them, but some might just do more harm than good. Generally, when we go through the ingredient list, they are bombarded with big words and jargons- names of chemicals that we think are necessary for them to be used. We do not know what these toxins are, how can they be harmful if you have been using cosmetic products for so many years? If they use a trusted brand, it is available abundantly in the market and you have been applying on the skin, it must be the right product?

What are the chemicals used in baby products?

Chemicals that are most commonly used in baby products are: Talc, fragrance, propylene glycol, 1,4 dioxane, mineral oils, parabens and triclosan. But chemicals like Parabens which are abundantly used in products tend to be one of the biggest offenders in the ingredient list of chemicals- not only for you but also for your child. Paraben is the most common form of chemical preservative used in products like cosmetics, food, skin care, shampoos, soap, pharmaceuticals and even in baby products. They are used in products to give them a longer shelf life by preventing microbes such as bacteria and fungus from growing on the products. Different parabens stop different types of microbes. So a combination of Parabens are used to stop a wide range of them. You can very well imagine how much harm they can cause to your baby’s skin. Parabens are also very dangerous for a pregnant woman. When expecting mothers use products with Parabens, they can do more harm than make the skin better. Small amounts of paraben are also absorbed by our skin when we use paraben containing skin products. Parabens can reach our bodies through some food sources as well.

How can paraben affect my baby?

With so many scary stories about Paraben, it is difficult not to worry about how parabens may affect your baby. Since a baby’s skin is much thinner than an adult’s skin, there is a chance that parabens might get absorbed into the skin. Some could potentially irritate the baby’s sensitive skin. For example: Diaper rash creams also contain Parabens. Thus young babies can absorb parabens through their nappy areas, more so if they have damaged skin. Though, regulating bodies have confirmed that the current levels of parabens allowed in toiletries are safe for use for babies and children, one could be more careful. Check out for these names on the labels of any skin or baby products that you buy next time. These are the forms of Parabens that can cause problems; according to the cosmeticsinfo.org data
  • methyl,
  • propyl,
  • butyl
  • ethyl
  • Isobutyl
  • isopropyl
These types of parabens interfere with glandular activity and also disrupt hormone production. In infants and children, these chemicals are associated with developmental disorders, dysfunction of the immune system, learning problems as well as reproductive disorders. Parabens like sulfate are bad for your hair and more so for your baby’s hair. Some baby shampoos contain parabens and can cause problems like drying of hair and irritated scalp. A shampoo which lathers very easily will have more sulfate content.

What is the solution?

No matter what, there are certain chemicals which cannot be avoided and have to be used for the betterment of the products. Everything used in moderation is always good. Our skin plays a barrier against allergies, irritants, heat, moisture and germs.

The first few weeks:

  • A baby’s skin is fragile and thin. During the first few months, the baby’s skin is still at a developing stage and is more vulnerable because it is adjusting to a new environment which is ‘air-based’. Thus a baby’s skin is easily irritated with even the use of the mildest product.
  • What you can do is choose a product with the correct pH balance and moisturizing so as to not dry out the baby’s skin. Always keep your baby’s skin moisturised by using very mild lotions, oils or creams that are gentle and free from harmful irritants.

After the first few weeks:

  • Always read the labels and ingredient list of all personal care products that you are using for yourself and for your baby.
  • Ingredients that include prefixes like ethyl, butyl, methyl or propyl should alert you that there are harmful parabens used in a product.
  • Try and use natural and organic products for your baby. There are many brands that use ‘Paraben free’ or ‘free from chemicals’ labels. Check them and make a choice to use chemical-free personal care products.
  • Instead of lotions and creams consider using essential, natural oils. Oils such as organic coconut oil is a great moisturiser and can be used generously over a baby’s skin. It is mild and does not leave any irritations on the skin.