21 Jun 5 Ingredients To Avoid When Buying Baby Skin Care
Who doesn’t love baby bath time? It’s a fun and bonding experience for bubba and parents but it can be difficult to know if the baby bath products we’re choosing to cleanse and moisturise our baby’s skin with are the best and most effective. As consumers, we want to trust that companies will only use those ingredients that have been proven to be safe, gentle and non-irritating. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
Some of the most widely used ingredients that the skin care industry has relied upon for decades have come under closer scrutiny in more recent years and though more studies are needed, there is enough evidence to suggest that safer alternatives should be found. Even products which claim they are ‘natural’ can contain these potentially harmful ingredients. That’s why reading the label on your baby’s skin care is so important.
Read on to discover five ingredients that are best to avoid when looking for truly safe and natural baby skin care.
Cocamidopropyl betaine (CAPB) is a synthetic detergent found in every day personal hygiene products including shampoo, toothpaste and liquid soaps. It can perform various functions within these products including as a foam booster, emulsifier or thickener. Derived from coconuts, some ‘natural’ products use this ingredient but does it really belong on your family’s skin?
Though CAPB itself is thought to cause only mild skin irritation in those with sensitivities, studies show that the manufacturing process used to create this ingredient can leave it contaminated with amidoamine and 3-dimethylaminopropylamine. These two chemicals are known to cause allergic reactions including contact dermatitis and eye irritations. In fact, the American Contact Dermatitis Society named cocamidopropyl betaine Allergen of the Year in 2004 after sensitivities to these contaminants increased sharply.
Parabens have been used in personal hygiene products for many years as they prevent harmful bacteria from growing. But you’ve probably noticed a lot of brands now make a big deal of advertising they contain “NO PARABENS” but do you know why?
The problem with parabens is that they can mimic the female sex hormone, estrogen. This estrogenic activity has been linked with breast cancer.
It is true that parabens occur naturally in some foods including strawberries, currants and vanilla but a synthetic version made from petrochemicals is what you’ll find in shampoos and other personal care products. The crucial difference is that parabens we eat are metabolised and become less estrogenic whereas parabens applied to the skin are not metabolised and can enter the blood stream intact. Some studies have shown that even very small doses of parabens can be absorbed into the skin.
Polyethylene glycols or PEGs are petroleum-based compounds used in cosmetics and personal care products like shampoo and moisturiser. As an ingredient in skin care, they can be thickeners, softeners or moisture-carriers. They also act as a “penetration enhancer” which helps the skin better absorb the formulation. This is great if the formulation contains safe, natural active ingredients. But what if it doesn’t?
Unfortunately, there are manufacturing processes that can cause PEGs to become contaminated with ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane. The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies the former as a known human carcinogen and the latter as a possible human carcinogen – or in other words, an ingredient that could cause cancer in humans.
PEGs have also been shown to cause problems when used on broken skin as they can cause irritation, hypersensitivity and systemic toxicity.
Sodium Laureth Sulfate
Everyone loves a foamy, bubbly bath product but if sodium laureth sulfate (also known as SLES) is the ingredient used to make those bubbles, then there is cause for concern.
Just like PEGs, the manufacturing process can leave SLES contaminated with measurable amounts of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane. Vacuum stripping can ensure that these unsafe chemicals are removed but it’s impossible for the average consumer to know whether this process has taken place in the product they are purchasing.
Every day personal care products almost always contain a fragrance. These fragrances can be made from thousands of possible chemicals but you’ll never see those specific chemicals listed on the bottle or container because companies consider their fragrances a closely guarded secret.
Has the perfume someone else was wearing ever given you a terrible headache? It’s not uncommon to experience a sensitivity or even mild allergic reaction to a certain fragrance. Eczema sufferers are often advised to avoid fragranced products because of their propensity to cause flare ups of the skin condition.
But apart from the risk of headaches and rashes, there are some chemicals used to enhance fragrance in products that are even more worrying. Diethyl phthalate (DEP) is used to make scents linger on the skin but evidence suggests it can interfere with hormone function. Listed as a Category 1 priority substance by the European Commission on Endocrine Disruption, avoiding products with an undisclosed fragrance can help you avoid exposure to DEP and other potentially harmful chemical compounds.
We know how confusing it can be to choose safe, effective family skincare. That’s why we began Bubba Organics – a truly transparent and honest 100% natural baby skin care company that mums can trust and babies love! Learn more about our pure, natural, organic by nature ingredients here. Or why not browse our range here.