Between the warm water and those little bare bottoms, bath time for baby should be a delight. But for many parents, questions about the safety of baby shampoos, soaps and lotions can leave them worrying about which chemicals their precious babies are inadvertently being exposed. Here’s a quick guide to reduce that risk.
• Be ingredient-wise.
Scan the label when you’re shopping for anything that will be used on your baby’s skin. Products based with vegetable oils are a good start, and be wary of ingredients you don’t recognize or can’t pronounce. If the ingredient list is excessive, consider it another warning sign. Look for simple, natural ingredients, particularly when it comes to baby soaps, shampoos, lotions and diaper creams, and read our post about which ingredients to avoid in baby care products for more information.
The issue with additives and ingredients like phthalates and parabens, beyond the potential for allergic reactions, is saturation. Many of these compounds – which are absorbed into the skin and can have the potential to alter hormones in the body – are being used in a wide variety of household products. Using products with simple, recognizable ingredients means reducing overall exposure. Our Intensive Baby Balm is a nourishing, gentle choice with a handful of natural ingredients. It’s a hypoallergenic, non-irritating option in the event your baby has a bout of diaper rash or has itchy, dry skin.
Just because something is advertised as “natural” doesn’t mean it is. There are many “natural” products produced by big brands that highlight oatmeal. But a closer look at the ingredient list shows it’s nearly identical to the non-natural product sitting right next to it on the shelf.
• Avoid fragrances. The telltale scent of conventional baby lotions, powders, soaps and shampoos is the result of that benign-sounding ingredient known as “fragrance” or “parfum.” It refers to a cocktail of undisclosed, synthetic ingredients – yikes. And it extends to everything from detergents, fabric softeners and stain removers to scented wipes.
When a synthetic ingredient blend falls under the label of “fragrance,” we have no idea what’s included. That’s a concern when it comes to delicate baby skin. Skip the fragrances or opt for those scented with essential oils when it comes to laundry soaps and anything used directly on your baby’s skin. If you’re breastfeeding, skip the lanolin and use virgin coconut oil directly on the nipples after baby nurses. It will help prevent chapping and it doesn’t need to removed before your baby nurses again.
Your new baby spends much of his time against your skin, so be mindful about your own skincare products. Consider foregoing the fragranced lotions and perfumes temporarily.
• Be clear about “antibacterial.”
Regular soap is just as effective at killing germs as antibacterial soap. And in fact, antibacterial soaps merely contain extra ingredients that are essentially unnecessary and potentially irritating. A mild soap with gentle ingredients is more than sufficient to keep your baby clean.
• Don’t overdo it.
Too much bathing will dry out your baby’s skin. And little babies don’t really get very dirty anyway – if they’re being bathed two to three times a week and you’re using a gentle soap, you’re doing great!
Tags: baby balm, baby bath, fragrance, ingredients to avoid