Skincare tips for babies: Chemicals to avoid in baby care products
Babies have very delicate skin. It needs some extra care and attention because it is more prone to skin infections and irritation than adult skin. Harsh chemicals in baby products can cause more damage to babies’ skin than we imagine! Avoid these chemicals in baby care products
A new born baby’s skin is delicate, sensitive and prone to irritation if exposed to the wrong skincare products. Thus, babies need a delicate skincare treatment that will nurture their soft and supple skin and for today’s new age parents, it becomes imperative to understand the ingredients being used in baby care products. Babies have very delicate skin, needs some extra care and attention because it is more prone to skin infections and irritation than adult skin and harsh chemicals in baby products can cause more damage to babies’ skin than we imagine.
They demand high-quality products that are free from harmful chemicals for their babies that would help in their development and nourishment. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Akanksha Sharma, CEO and Co-Founder of CITTA, advised, “We need to be extra careful to avoid certain chemicals when it comes to baby bath and skincare products – like parabens, sulphates, silicones, mineral oils, toxins and allergens. The effects of these chemicals range from irritating the baby’s skin to causing serious respiratory and reproductive organ dysfunction and fertility issues! You also need to choose mild fragrances or fragrance-free products when it comes to babies. Make sure the product uses certified safe fragrances.”
She added, “When it comes to specific products like baby powder, avoiding talc is non-negotiable. Instead of talc, using natural ingredients like oats, corn starch and kaolin clay can actually make the product safe for babies. Fortunately, people are now becoming aware of the detrimental effects of talc but I think people still need to be educated about the multiple other chemicals that might find their way into their baby’s products if they are not careful enough. With proper research, we can find more effective natural alternatives for harsh chemicals, and every brand should strive to do that.”
Dr Kashish Kalra, MD, Dermatologist, HOD of Dermatology and Trichology Max Smart Superspeciality Hospital at New Delhi's Saket, recommended to keep these things in mind when you are buying baby care products:
1. pH - Our skin has a pH of 5.5 do make sure the products also have same which is usually mentioned in the batch.
2. Fragrance - No wonder fragrant products always feel irresistible but these are mostly aldehydes which are allergic and carcinogenic so as ideal baby wash or moisturizer should be fragrance free.
3. SLS - Sodium lauryl sulphate which provides lather to any soap is a very harmful chemical so go for washes which are soap free.
4. Parabens - Almost banned in western world , paraben use is quite common in our country which is added to increase the shelf life of product and is a common skin irritant.
5. Talc - A lot of talcs have asbestos as an impurity so it's better to use talc free powder or not to use talc at all. A lot of talcs have asbestos which is carcinogenic so better to go for talc-free powders with organic content like corn starch.
6. Chemical sunscreen (oxybenzone) - Sunscreen is as important for babies as it is for adults but for kids it should be chemical free. Physical sunscreen containing zinc oxide should be used. Chemical sunscreens should be avoided as they contain oxybenzone, avobenzones, paba etc which have hormonal influence on kids as they can be absorbed through skin so better to go for physical sunscreens.
Bringing his expertise to the same, Rajesh Vohra, CEO at Artsana India (Chicco), In assistance with Chicco Research Centre, highlighted, “There are plethora of baby care products available in market. To choose the right one for your baby, you need to first know and understand the effects of the ingredients being used in the product. Now, let’s understand the ingredients which needs to be avoided in products for newborn babies. Phenoxyethanol is widely used as a preservative in baby cosmetic products however, it is increasingly becoming an ingredient of concern in many countries for their potential risk to cause allergies to baby’s skin.”
The European Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (under European Medicine Agency) allows its usage at a maximum concentration of 1%. Similarly, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Japan defines it as a ‘restricted ingredient’ and limits its usage to 1%. Rajesh Vohra suggested, “You can always check the product label if it has Phenoxyethanol in it or not. The common names that are used for Phenoxyethanol on product labels are phenoxyethanol, ethylene glycolmonophenyl ether, 2-Phenoxyethanol, rose ether, phenoxyethyl alcohol, beta-hydroxyethyl phenyl ether. However, Ayurvedic products may use some other names. Apart from Phenoxyethanol, avoid products which has parabens, tropolones, SLES, alcohol, and dyes. A product without EDTA and phthalates makes it safer and more appropriate for your newborn’s sensitive skin.”