It is common knowledge that the soft, silky skin of children tends to be more sensitive than adults’ skin. That’s why there are products that are catered specifically for children that are milder on the skin.
However that doesn’t mean that all children’s products are good for your child’s skin, especially if they are still babies. They may be marked as ‘natural’ or ‘gentle’ but their ingredient list can still include toxic chemicals that aren’t good for your child.
Always read the label before you buy anything off the shelf for your little one and if you spot these ingredients, you just might want to place them back.
Phthalates and parabens
Found often in moisturisers, cleansers and sunscreens as they are a preservative and a fragrance ingredient, studies have shown that phthalates may have adverse effects on hormones, while parabens are neurotoxins that have been linked to reproductive toxicity, hormone disruption and skin irritation. Stay away from products that have parabens (methyl, propyl, butyl, ethyl, isobutyl), benzoic acid and propyl ester, as well as phathalate, DEP, DBP and DEHP.
This irritates the eyes, nose, lungs and skin, and is also linked to liver damage, kidney damage and cancer. However it is not as easy to spot on the label as it is a byproduct found in detergents and bath products when ethylene oxide is added to make them less harsh, according Gillian Deacon’s book, There’s Lead in Your Lipstick. Instead, stay away from products with polyethylene, polyethylene glycol, sodium laureth sulfate, ceteareth, oleth, oxynol, -xynol, and PEG.
Who doesn’t like a nice smelling product? Unfortunately the chemicals and perfumes used to make them smell good are linked to allergies and skin issues, and can cause respiratory, neurological and eye damage. Fragrances aren’t just added to baby lotions and shampoos; they are found in a wide range of baby products including baby powder and disposable diapers. So instead of opting for the best smelling products, it is best to opt for fragrance-free products.
Present in many sunscreen formulations, this chemical is known to be an endocrine disruptor and is linked to hormone-related problems. It’s also toxic to wildlife and the environment.
Though not a chemical, this mineral that is known for its drying properties is often added to baby powder. However, as stated in the book There’s Lead in Your Lipstick, talc usually contains carcinogenic contaminants. It also irritates the lungs, so opt for talc-free powder.
Used as a disinfectant and preservative, formaldehyde is added to water-based personal care products amongst other things. Formaldehyde is a human carcinogen and is linked to skin irritation, wheezing, water eyes and burning sensation in the nose.
Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)
As it is an effective cleansing and foaming agent, you’ll find SLES in many soaps, shampoos and toothpaste. This chemical irritates the skin and eyes, and is best avoided. The good news though is that it’s not too difficult to find SLES-free products for children in the market.
Click here to read about toxic ingredients found in beauty products to avoid when you are pregnant.