Ingredients to Avoid In Baby Products
Choosing the best baby products can feel like a minefield. There are so many products designed for babies that include synthetic ingredients that have been shown to have adverse effects meaning that you really have to know what you are looking for when reading the labels.
Outlined below are some of the common ingredients found in toiletries and cosmetic products that you want to avoid putting on your families skin. Knowing what you are looking for when reading the labels certainly makes it easier to avoid these ingredients, as does finding brands such as Green People, Janni and Lyonsleaf you know you can trust.
Unless you are choosing locally made products with a short shelf life or products made without water most products will contain preservatives of some form or another. Synthetic preservatives are well known for causing skin reactions and some are even known to break down and release small amounts of formaldehyde which is not only an irritant but also a known neurotoxin and carcinogen.
Artificial preservatives to avoid include:
- Parabens (butyl, ethyl, methyl, propyl, isobutyl)
- 2-bromo-2 nitropropane-1,3-diol
- Diazolidinyl urea
- DMDM hydantoin
- Imidazolidinyl urea
Foaming and Emulsifying Agents
Foaming and emulsifying agents are required to make products foam and when oil and water-based ingredients need to be combined. One of the most common foaming agents is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) which is found in many products including shampoo, bubble bath and toothpaste. The problem is that it is a known irritant that can be particularly irritating to babies delicate skin.
Natural baby products use gentler plant-based foaming agents and emulsifiers derived from plants such as coconuts, corn and olives. These are gentler on the skin and also better for the environment.
Artificial Colours and Fragrances
Many products use artificial colourants and fragrances to make them look and smell good and these ingredients can often not even be mentioned in detail on the packaging as they are simply listed as parfum or given a colourant number.
Phthalates are artificial fragrance additives, petroleum byproducts found in around three-quarters of products that contain artificial fragrance. They have been linked to a variety of issues including hormone disruption and reproductive issues so they are certainly something to be avoided.
Natural baby products will generally be fragranced with natural oils that also have therapeutic benefits, or they may have no fragrance at all for particularly sensitive skin.
When it comes to colourants they are generally just given a CI number regardless of whether they are synthetic or natural. Natural colourants have a CI number of over 75000 so anything below that should be avoided.
Next Up: What Are the Best Natural Baby Products