Watch out – Baby Cosmetics

Cosmetic products win one of the first places among temptations that are on the watch for new parents in shops. It is hard to pass by all these jars and bottles with pictures of tiny tots, characters from animated films and lovely small animals – rabbits, teddy bears and kittens.  What is more, needless to say, that baby cosmetics and especially cosmetic products for little babies seem to be more delicate and safer than for adults. But this is not always the case.

First of all, most of the baby cosmetic products are aromatized and have tasty scent (fruits or vanilla) or scents that remind parents of their babies (the scent of baby powder). It is a pleasure to use these things because the baby skin immediately becomes so aromatic! But the more aromatic additives in a cosmetic product the more risk of allergy and irritation. Especially dangerous in this respect are wet wipes for diapers area. The skin of this area is often wet, quite often irritated and compressed by diapers, chemical substances easily penetrate through it.  Therefore for the safe care of little baby skin best of all is to choose cosmetic products without fragrances or with very faint odor.
Many cosmetic products for babies contain a well-known toxic preservative such as 2-bromo-2-nitro-1,3-propandiol. But even in case the label indicates that the product is “free of preservatives”, it does not mean that they are absent in the product. The thing is that in such a case a producer uses preservative additives which nominally are not preservatives and this fact allows the producer to make these statements.  But unfortunately there are no in existence entirely safe substances which are at the same time effective against microorganisms. There are many allergens among bactericidal ingredients, used in cosmetics, indicated as “free of preservatives”(for instance, some components of essential oils). Some products contain substances, irritating the skin or toxic for the skin cells. Up to now some of the products against intertrigo in babies contain boric acid (up to 10%) and its salts as preservatives or as bactericidal agents. But according to the opinion of CIR  (Cosmetic Ingredient Review) boric acid and sodium borate are rather dangerous for babies under one year of life as they are toxic and easily penetrate through the skin. And, of course, if to use insufficiently reliable preservatives (the most of natural bactericidal substances are significantly less effective as compared with synthetic ones) in the course of time there may appear pathogens, causing skin infections.

The list of potentially harmful ingredients, used in baby cosmetics, can be continued. In any case it is seen from the test results, carried out by EWG group (Environmental Work Group) last summer. The group has carried out a poll of more than three thousand parents and has compiled the list of baby cosmetic products they are using. Then they made a file for each ingredient, containing the following information: what has been known about the influence of every ingredient on health of laboratory animals and human beings; are there any restrictions of its use and so on. It turned out that on average each baby has been exposed to 27 chemical substances which were not tested as to their safety for baby skin. With all this going on once in a week 81% of babies were exposed to at least one substance, possessing potential neurotoxicity, ability to disturb hormonal balance or suppress immunity. These substances are a part of cosmetic products as they are acknowledged to be safe, but only in a definite concentration and a definite mode of use (for instance, only in washed off products and only for adults, but not for babies). Besides, in many baby products there were found many aggressive chemicals in spite of the fact that the labels vouched for their mildness and safety.

What should parents do in order to keep the baby delicate skin from a chemical attack? First of all, it is necessary to minimize the number of cosmetic products, applied to a baby skin. It means that one should resist the temptation to buy up as many as possible bright colored jars and bottles with tasty scented creams, oils, shampoo, ointments and powders. Instead of this one should buy only those things that are really necessary for a baby skin. 

During the day a baby is washed by warm water without soap and is leaved without diapers for some time. In order to avoid intertrigo a baby must not be overheated. In the evening a baby takes a bath with a soft soap or foam. It is very important to choose a proper soap – it must be free of irritating and over drying substances, not strongly aromatized and leave no a film or redness on the skin. After bath the skin remains soft and tender. In case of slight intertrigo there is no need in powder or lubricants. In case of need one can use usual potato starch.  In case of extensive intertrigo one can use shea butter or apricot oil or keep the baby without diapers more often and for a long time. As soon as the skin is back to normal there is no need for any lubricants. Lubricants are also used for softening and removing seborrhea scales from the scalp. A thin layer of oil is applied to the scalp with massage movements for removing scales. After that, use soap or a baby shampoo.
In such a way you minimize the quantity of detergents that get in touch with baby skin, leaving it healthy and fair.

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