Easy Steps for Nontoxic Baby Skincare
October 31, 2012
By Healthy Child Staff
Babies. Everyone wants to touch and hold them because they are so sweet, delicate, and delicious. It doesn’t take an ocean of lotions and soaps to keep baby skin clean and soft; in fact, less is more when it comes to your baby’s skincare routine.
Follow these easy steps to protect your baby’s skin.
1. Avoid harsh chemicals
Adult products may contain harsh chemicals and fragrances that could hurt a baby’s delicate skin, including parabens, phthalates, dyes, triclosan, and certain preservatives that may contain cancer-causing formaldehyde. It’s worth investing in products designed especially for baby’s skin. (See a full list of chemicals to avoid below.)
2. Limit sun time for babies
Baby skin is super sensitive to sun; it’s best to keep babies under six months old covered, rather than apply sunscreen to their skin. If you have to take your baby into the sun, remember to use a hat and stay in the shade to prevent burning. For older babies, use just a small amount of sunscreen for a short time and then wash it off. Two good resources to help you choose a baby sunscreen are the Good Guide and EWG’s Sunscreen Guide.
3. Go fragrance free
Fragrances found in baby lotions, shampoos, creams, and powders are made from harsh chemicals that aren’t good for baby’s skin. Phthalates, chemicals used to stabilize fragrance and increase absorption, are absorbed through the skin and enter the bloodstream. A 2008 study found babies whose mothers had just applied baby lotion, shampoos, or powders had more phthalates in their urine than babies who did not have those products applied.
4. Say no to talc powder
Talc is a known carcinogen that has been linked to cancer of the lung and ovaries. Talc particles are similar to asbestos fibers, and just as dangerous. Cross powder off your list of products to use on baby.
5. Clean laundry with gentle detergents
Remember, not only is your baby’s skin sensitive to the clothes she wears, but to the clothes you are wearing as you hold her! Switch to a gentle laundry detergent that won’t leave nasty residues behind. We’ve got tips for greening your laundry , and remember - not all “free & gentle” detergents are best for baby. Sign this petition asking Tide to get the cancer-causing chemical out of Tide Free & Gentle detergent.)
When shopping for baby skincare products, check the ingredients list on the label. Avoid using any product containing one or more of the chemicals listed below. Opt instead for an organic option or a product specially designed for baby skin that doesn’t contain harsh chemicals.
Chemicals to Avoid in Skin Care Products
- Parabens & phthalates
- DMDM Hydantoin
- Sodium Laureth/Lauryl Sulfate
- FD&C Color Pigments
- PEG (Polyethylene Glycol) & Propylene Glycol
- DEA (Diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine), TEA (Triethanolamine)
Or, if you would rather make your own baby skincare products, whether it’s wipes or diaper cream, check out these easy DIY recipes for nontoxic baby care products.
How do you take care of your baby’s skin?