The Importance of Safe and Non-Toxic Skin Care Products for Baby and Child

May 29, 2008 | 3 Comments

skyla_bath.gifBeing amongst other moms, the subject of what our baby’s are eating (or not eating) is not an uncommon topic. As parents we are truly concerned at what goes into our baby’s bodies, and after reading and watching this article, you will be as equally concerned at what goes ON their bodies too.

Tonight as I was taking a bath with my little baby girl I was so happy in knowing that the products that I am using on her skin are non-toxic and safe! Not only that, but I love them and so does she. She keeps asking for “more” of the foaming heavenly soap, and I am thankful that I know what every single ingredient is in this fabulous stuff!

As we were soaking in the warm water, I couldn’t help but think of all this research I have been doing with [tag] toxins in baby skin care products [/tag]. According to David Steinman, author of Safe Trip to Eden: Ten Steps to Save Planet Earth from the Global Warming Meltdown, “I can go into any store and at least half if not more than 3/4 of the products with suspect ingredients will actually be found to contain a number of known and suspected carcinogens.”

Book Safe Trip to EdenBabies and children are at greater risk to the dangers of these carcinogens. “Though its review of 23 peer-reviewed studies of cancer incidence from the past 50 years, EPA has determined that infants up to age two are, on average, ten times more vulnerable to carcinogenic chemicals than adults, and for some cancer-causing agents are up to 65 times more vulnerable. The Agency also found that children from age two to 15 are three times more vulnerable to carcinogens than adults. By incorporating these factors, the new risk assessment methods show that children accumulate up to 50% of their lifetime cancer risk by their second birthday.” 1

Wow! That is serious. As a parent, any way we can minimize these factors plays a critical role in our baby’s health later in life. So, today we are going to help you with minimizing one of those factors: your baby’s skin care products! This factor is so important! Why? The skin is the body’s largest organ and plays a vital role in our overall health. The porous nature of our skin does not discriminate what it allows into our baby’s bodies and possibly even into our baby’s blood stream. There are numerous ingredients to stay clear of when rubbing your baby down with lotions, soaps, powders, oils and creams. The crazy thing is that some of these potentially toxic ingredients and known carcinogens are not even required to be labeled on the product you may be using on your baby right now!

Let’s start with some ingredients to stay clear of and why….

Toxic Ingredients in Skin Care Products

The Dangers of Fragrance

“The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has found that one-third of the substances-both natural and synthetic-used in the fragrance industry are toxic. However, the FDA does not test cosmetics for safety. In addition, perfumes and fragrances can be allergenic. If allergies run in your family, you might want to take care not to expose your baby to potential allergens, including fragrances.” 2

Home Safe Home by Debra Lynn DaddAnd according to Debra Lynn Dadd in her book Home Safe Home fragrance on a label can indicate the presence of up to 4,000 separate ingredients. Most or all of them are synthetic. Symptoms reported to the FDA have included headaches, dizziness, rashes, skin discoloration, violent coughing and vomiting, and [tag] allergic skin irritation [/tag]. Clinical observation by medical doctors have shown that exposure to fragrances can affect the central nervous system, causing depression, hyperactivity, irritability, inability to cope, and other behavioral changes.

The Dangers of Phthalates

Phthalates is making its way into the news lately due to the potential dangers to the long term health of our babies. This potentially harmful man-made-chemical is often hidden in “fragrances” to help a fragrance stay on the skin longer.

But a deeper look shines the light on this sneaky use of wording!


“At this time, we do not know what the potential long-term effects might be, but there is a large body of animal studies to suggest developmental and reproductive toxicity (from phthalates) and a few human studies with changes in health outcomes as well,” Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana (from the University of Washington) told Reuters Health.To find out more about phthalates hiding in your baby’s toys and teething toys, read our article Gov. Schwarzenegger Recognizes Potential Toxins In Baby Toys!

The Dangers of 1,4 Dioxane

“Ethoxylation, a cheap short-cut companies use to provide mildness to harsh ingredients, requires the use of the cancer-causing petrochemical ethylene oxide, which generate 1,4 Dioxane as a by-product. 1,4 Dioxane is considered a chemical “known to the State of California to cause cancer” under Proposition 65, and is also suspected as a kidney toxicant, neurotoxicant and respiratory toxicant, among others, according to the California EPA. You won’t see 1,4 dioxane listed on the product’s ingredient labels, because it is considered a ‘contaminant’ or ‘by-product’ of the ethoxylation process, rather than an ingredient. OCA’s study indicates the toxin in present in products with synthetic ethoxylated ingredients, including those with myreth, oleth, laureth, ceteareth, any other “eth,” or PEG, polyethylene, polyethylene glycol, polyoxyethylene, or oxynol, in their names.” 3

“Before the age of 2 our babies have accumulated 50% of their life-time cancer risk!”

Baby products with this crazily-named ingredient in it may also have traces of formaldehyde, nitrosamines, phthalates and other contaminants. But remember, you won’t see it’s name printed on your baby’s skin care product’s bottle. So stay away from any ingredient that you can’t read or pronounce!

The Dangers of Petroleum

babyoil.jpgIt is not only in the fuel tank of your car! Petroleum is part of your everyday life whether you realize it or not. It is lurking in plastics, food containers AND possibly right in products you are rubbing onto your baby right now. Actually, according to Environmental Working Group, 40% of all baby lotions and oils contain petrolatum! Petrolatum is a non-renewable hydrocarbon made from crude oil.

Also termed “mineral oil” or “baby oil”, this petroleum based oil coats your baby’s skin with a contaminated sheath that does not allow your baby’s skin to “breathe”. It clogs the pores and slows down the skin’s ability to release toxins. This can bring about [tag] skin disorders [/tag], slow down skin function and normal cell development, and can cause your precious baby’s skin to prematurely age.

According to Australia’s National Occupational Health and Safety Commissions (NOHSC),

“Prolonged contact with mineral oil has the associated risk of developing skin conditions such as oil folliculitis, eczematous dermatitis, melanosis of the face and plantar warts.”

And an article in Positive Health Magazine, outlines the dangers of the mineral oils further. “Mineral oil (classed as a petrochemical pollutant and xenohormone) can have negative effects on hormones and the skin’s ability to breathe, attract moisture and detoxify. It can also slow down cell renewal and be the second (after the sun) most likely cause of premature ageing. In fact sunscreens produced from mineral oil may promote [tag] skin cancer [/tag] as well as colon and breast cancer.”

“Contaminants from petrolatum are being found in most breast cancer tissues which have been studied in recent times.” 4 Studies have shown that poorly refined mineral oil can induce skin and scrotal cancers after prolonged, repeated, and heavy direct contact with the skin. Australia’s NSHOC reports: “A number of studies have linked cancers of the skin and scrotum to mineral oil exposure.” Once the oil is absorbed, it is broken down by the liver, thus distracting the liver from other detoxifying chores. The liver helps your baby fend off sickness and toxicity.” 5 Scary stuff now that we know that before the age of 2 our babies have accumulated 50% of their life-time cancer risk.

The crazy thing about it is that petroleum is a known carcinogen and causes adverse health effects, but is still FDA approved!

Scary Sodium Laurel Sulfates(SLS)/Sodium Laureth Sulfates (SLES)

dsc_0116_2.jpgThis harmful ingredient, tagged as one of the most harmful ingredients in personal care products is used to give soaps, shampoos and toothpastes that sudsy, bubbly appeal. Not so appealing when you know of it’s potential dangers! This irritant can be extremely harsh on the delicate skin of a baby/child and can keep their eyes from developing optimally. And according to the Journal of American College of Toxicology( Vol. 2, No. 7, 1983), SLS can damage the immune system; causing separation of skin layers and inflammation of skin.

The American College of Toxicology also states, “…both SLS and SLES can cause malformation in children’s eyes. Other research has indicated SLS may be damaging to the immune system, especially within the skin.”

Other studies have shown that through permeable skin [tag] sodium laurel sulfates [/tag] can also penetrate into the heart, liver, lungs and brain!

Once you start reading your labels, you will notice how this stuff is lurking everywhere! Was it washed into your baby’s skin today?

On top of all of the cosmetic and baby products it is in, it is even found in car wash soaps, detergents, engine degreasers and garage floor cleaners! This stuff belongs NO WHERE NEAR our baby’s bodies!

The Dangers of Parabens

pamperwipes.jpgParabens come in multiple names, so look for anything ending in paraben on your baby’s labels. This ingredient is often used as a preservative. Of the studies that have been done, one or more studies show reproductive effects at very low doses, organ system toxicity, and developmental/reproductive toxicity! I also have to mention that a baby’s delicate skin is even MORE ABSORBENT to these toxins than us adults. They are just so vulnerable to all of this harmful exposue. “One controversial scientific study reported that parabens were found in samples of breast tumors.” 6

Do you know there may be parabens in you baby’s wipes? Read our article You May Have More Than You Bargained For On Your Baby’s Wipes to find out more!)

Harmful “Natural” Ingredients

Again, this term is NOT regulated by the FDA. So don’t let it fool you. Many products labeled “natural” actually have petrochemicals in them. And remember, petroleum is a known carcinogenic.

The Safest Alternative to using any products at all on your new baby is to simply wash baby with warm water and a washcloth. Until your little one is moving around some, exposure to dirt and germs will be at a minimal anyways. However, once your little love is moving about it is wise to know what you are putting on your [tag] baby’s skin [/tag]. Remember, these ingredients ultimately go right into their little bodies. Stay tuned to SafBaby.com for product reviews that you want to know about in keeping your babies safe!

Natural Baby Skin Care

How many of these ingredients did you unknowingly rub, lather and wipe onto your baby today? We’d love to hear your comments on your surprise, or lack of, when it comes to taking a closer look at what is in your baby’s skin care products.

In conclusion, your baby’s skin care plays a role in the future of his/her health. So keep it simple, and keep it pure and non-toxic. If you can’t read the ingredients, or if you have no idea what they are, DON’T USE IT.

Further Action in Keeping Your Baby’s Skin Safe

  1. TAKE ACTION WITH THE SAFE COSMETICS ACTION NETWORK:
    Please take 2 minutes to sign for the health and well-beings of our babies… The Safe Cosmetics Action Network provides a way for you to take action online to urge US companies to remove chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects and other harms from the health and beauty products you use everyday.
  2. This new Baby and Chilren’s products safety guide will help you navigate about bogus claims and find out exactly what is in the products you are using on your baby today!
  3. This guide by Organicconsumers.org explains more about dioxane and gives a detailed list of safe and not-so-safe products that are in your bathroom right now.

More reading:
- http://www.reuters.com
- http://pediatrics.aappublications.org

 


1 Children’s Health Policy Review, , April 2, 2008.
2 Organic Consumers Association, Coming Clean, Organic Integrity In Bodycare Products, March 14, 2008, , March 30, 2008.
3 Mindy Pennybacker, Aisha Ikramuddin, “Natural Baby Care Non-Toxic and Environmentally Friendly Ways to Take Care of Your New Child” (John Wiley and Sons, Inc, 1999), p. 155..
4 Geoff Goldie, http://www.health-report.co.uk/petroleum_petrolatum_health_concerns.htm, April 2, 2008.
5 Words Of Caution on Petroleum by-products, http://www.thestork.biz/mineraloil.html, April 2, 2008.
6 Darbe PD, Aljarrah A, Miller WR, Coldham NG, Sauer MJ, Pope GS, Concentration of Parabens in human breast tumors. J APPl Toyicol. 2004 Jan-Feb., 24 (1):5-13.

Tags: , , ,

Category: Skin Care

  • amama

    it just seems so grim theses days. i feel like anything i do or give to my baby is a danger. sometimes i wonder what the stress of knowing all this is doing to my own health.

  • safbaby2

    First we want to thank you for your honesty. We also want you to know
    that you are not alone in feeling this way. We have personally had
    nights spent in tears because we have felt the same way you do. HOWEVER, closing
    our eyes to the truth will NOT make a difference, and CHANGE needs to
    happen.

    Why?

    Because the health of our baby’s future depends on us being parents who
    are willing to stand tall and face truth. Yes, addressing these issues
    are not easy, and it is easier to live in the motto “Ignorance is Bliss.”
    But we need to remember that our babies learn from what we do!

    Let’s be the parents who are willingto come out of this slumber
    and stand for what will make a difference!

    If we all start to take action and become part of the solution, the
    anger,helplessness and fear will turn into motivation and positive
    energy will flow out of it. Standing up now, by getting knowledgeable and involved,
    will only make our future brighter.

    The more informed we are , the wiser choices we’re going to
    make, and the more companies (and the government) will be encouraged
    to pay attention. This is how we can actively promote change.

    Truly we here at SafBaby know that there are many parents who feel the
    same way you do. That is why our mission is to “shine the light from
    potentially toxic and harmful choices we may unknowingly make for our
    babies ONTO SAFE ALTERNATIVES.” We strive to give the parent who feels
    hopeless, safe alternative measures to lift them up and assist them in
    allowing their families to flourish.

    Remember, change happens from the ground up and not the other way
    around. *Knowledge = Power = Change

  • safbaby2

    I just wanted to say thanks so much for all of your hard work on the skin care article. I think it is honestly the best article I’ve read on the topic. It’s very clear what is what and how to avoid things, and what parents should look for. I also really like how you brought out the importance of these actions. I hear a lot of parents say that they were raised with lots of the same products, and they turned out just fine. Then they roll their eyes kind of thing. I’ve sent the link to a few friends just for reading material. So, just a quick thanks. We all really love everything you’re doing.

    Sheri Wallace

    Marketing Director, Earth Mama Angel Baby

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