Tips & Advice
Although you want to keep your new baby clean and her skin healthy and soft, you might worry about the chemicals in your baby shampoos, soaps, and lotions. Do you need them? Could any of those additives and preservatives -- like parabens and phthalates -- be harmful to her?
What's in Baby Skin and Hair Care Products?
Although you might hope that products designed for babies are risk-free, that's not necessarily the case.
Many contain additives that are potential irritants or allergens, Most babies won't have a problem. Some can develop skin irritation, like eczema, from exposure to ingredients in these products.
Are there more serious risks? That's an unanswered question. Additives like parabens and phthalates -- dibutyl phthalate (DBP), dimethylphthalate (DMP) and diethyl phthalate (DEP) concern some experts.
Some laboratory studies have found evidence that phthalates and parabens have the potential to alter hormone levels in the body. Theoretically, they could interfere with normal development, Karp says. Both can be absorbed through the skin; studies have found that they can show up in a child's urine.
However, there's a lot we don't know. The studies showing health effects are limited. Most were conducted on animals. There's no clear evidence that they have an effect on people -- and no clear evidence that they don’t.
Baby Skin and Hair Care: Making Better Choices
If you're concerned and want to reduce your baby's exposure to these chemicals, there's good news. It doesn't have to be hard.
"You don't have to go boil your own beef tallow to make soap."You can go to just about any supermarket or pharmacy in the country and find better products."
Here's some guidance.
- Less is more. Let's start with the most important, . Excessive bathing could dry out your baby's skin.
- Consider natural ingredients. When you're shopping for soaps, baby shampoos, and lotions, look for natural ingredients that you recognize. Specialist recommends using products that are based on natural & Organic ingredient . For Some by keeping an aloe vera plant in the house; a leaf will help soothe diaper rash. Is natural always better? No. Plenty of natural products can also contain substances that are allergens or irritants for some kids, says Altmann. You can also never be sure that a product that's advertised as "natural" really is. Still better to check if its BRAND ECO CERTIFIED or OEM brand Certified?
- Skip the antibacterial soap. Although you might be especially anxious about germs when you have a young baby, experts say you really don't need antibacterial soap. The fact is that organic cleanser works just as well at getting rid of germs as antibacterial soap does.
- Avoid fragrances. That bottle of baby product might smell "fresh" or "clean,"which most parent would love to smell, but the fragrance is likely the result of many chemicals. Allergens and irritants in fragrances are a leading cause of skin reactions and they can dry out a baby's skin. Watch out for the word "fragrance" when listed as an ingredient on a body care product -- it's a catchall term for any of the chemicals used in making the aroma. "A lot of the phthalates that people worry about are actually in fragrances," Altmann says. "By cutting out fragrance, you cut out some of those additives."
Are natural fragrances better? Not always, Altmann says. Some kids will have reactions to those too. Go with unscented whenever you can.
- Try it first. When you have a new baby skin care product, put a little bit on your baby's arm. Then wait a few hours to see if she has any skin reaction to it.