There is a huge industry out there that promises to keep your little one’s skin as awesome as it was at the time of birth. However, the irony is that babies generally do not need most of these products. In fact, there are certain chemicals and toxins present in some baby products that can be harmful to their health. But, when you go shopping for your baby, the entire process of scanning for the right information or looking for safer alternatives can be a pretty time-consuming task. To be honest, it can be so confusing that we won’t be surprised if you feel like pulling your hair out on certain occasions. So, pay close attention. Here, we bring you some of the most harmful toxins that a new parent should definitely steer away from:
The fragrance is put in numerous products. At times, it is done to create a particular fragrance. This might even be done to mask the smell of some nasty chemical or toxin. Despite how lovely it makes the baby smell, the fragrance is often associated with diseases like skin irritations or allergies. And, in fact, is also considered to be dangerous to a number of organs in the body (1). Also, the fragrance is an all-encompassing term that can indicate the presence of a variety of smell-inducing chemicals. So, when you are checking the labels, try to avoid baby products that contain the term ‘fragrance’ or ‘perfume’.
2. Parabens And Phthalates
Both of these comprise a group of chemicals that can act as preservatives in baby care products such as lotion or shampoo. Endocrine disruption is one disorder that the phthalates have been associated with. And, is also known to cause several reproductive issues such as a decrease in both the motility and concentration of sperm. The presence of phthalates might also lead to asthma, allergies, or even cancer (2). What is even more baffling is that fragrance too contains phthalates at times. Research also shows that parabens, another group of chemicals, can act as endocrine disruptors (3). They have also been linked with other reproductive issues, skin irritation, or developmental disorders. So, avoid such products.
3. Preservatives That Contain Formaldehyde
This chemical is generally used as a preservative in water-based products. This helps prevent the formation of molds. It is usually either added directly to the product or is released with the help of another chemical. But, this pretty commonly-used chemical is also known as a human carcinogen. And, has also been associated with several allergy-like symptoms like headaches, nausea, or respiratory issues (4).
This one is a chemical byproduct and you will generally not find it explicitly mentioned on the label. 1,4-dioxane is usually found in liquid soaps and bath products. And, to avoid this chemical, you should steer away from products containing PEG compounds, xynol, oleth, and ceteareth among others. This chemical is a possible human carcinogen and has also been linked with skin allergies (5).
5. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is usually safe on its own. But, it can be a problem when used in a sun lotion, which is in turn, exposed to the sunlight. As per a study, one form of vitamin A, retinyl palmitate, might cause the skin tumors and lesions to develop faster (6). So, when you are checking the label, keep away from products containing retinyl palmitate, vitamin A, retinyl acetate, and retinoic acid, among others.
This one is another dangerous chemical that is present in the sun lotions. It should be avoided since it is an endocrine disruptor. Additionally, oxybenzone has also been associated with reproductive problems, as well as endometriosis (7).
Now that you are aware of the chemicals and toxins that you need to steer away from, stop worrying. Just make sure that you don’t buy any baby product that contains any of these and you are good to go. All the best, mommies!