Tips to Choose a Safe Baby Soap

Choosing the right product for the child can be difficult when you are faced with so many choices. Safety is a major concern, especially for products such as soaps and body washes. This Buzzle article provides some helpful tips that will make your task easier.
Tip to choose a safe baby soap
Quick Tip
When trying a baby soap for the first time, do a patch test on your baby's arm to check for any allergic skin reaction.
Have you ever stood in a supermarket aisle and wondered which products you should buy for the baby? After all, almost all the baby products have similar labels with the terms 'natural' and 'organic' on them. Parents assume that the baby products they are buying are safe and gentle. But, are the so-called 'natural' and 'gentle' baby products really safe for your child's delicate skin? There are many products which claim to be made of 90% natural ingredients. Unfortunately, when you check the ingredient list, the first ingredient is water, which is the only natural ingredient and the rest are all synthetic ingredients.

Harmful ingredients, such as formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane, that are present in many baby products such as bubble baths and shampoos, are linked to various skin conditions and even cancer. A report released by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, tested 48 bubble baths, baby shampoos, and other products for dioxane, and 28 products for formaldehyde. They found that a startling 82% products contained formaldehyde, while 28% products had both these contaminants. With so many products in the market, identifying a safe product for the child can be challenging. This Buzzle article provides some simple tips that will help you choose a safe baby soap.

How to Choose a Baby Soap

Baby Soap Ingredients to Avoid

Do not just buy a popular baby soap or body washes just because you have heard rave reviews about the same. There are many popular baby soaps that have colorants, dyes, preservatives, and other chemicals that can be extremely harsh on your baby's sensitive skin. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has a cosmetics database that warns against certain chemicals in baby soaps. Some common chemicals that you need to watch out for are:

Triclosan and Triclocarban
These chemicals, often found in antibacterial soaps, are linked to inhalation toxicity and liver problems. The American Medical Association (AMA) recommends restricting the use of products with these chemicals as they are known to encourage bacterial resistance to antibiotics.

DEA (Diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine), TEA (Triethanolamine)
These hormone-disrupting chemicals, found in many baby soaps and shampoos, are known to cause kidney and liver damage, and are even linked to cancer.

Phthalates and Parabens
Phthalates and parabens that are used as preservatives in cosmetics and skin care products have been banned by the European Union in 2003. Propylparaben has been classified as highly toxic by EWG. Since the parabens mimic estrogen, they can act as potential hormone (endocrine) system disruptors.

Linked to allergies and skin, eyes, and lung irritation. Also associated with non-reproductive organ system toxicity.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate
SLS and SLES are ingredients that are classified as toxic and harmful, and are known to cause irritation around the eyes and skin.

Retinyl Palmitate
An ingredient composed of palmitic acid and retinol, this ingredient is linked to biochemical and cellular level changes. Also known as a human reproductive toxicant.

DMDM Hydantoin
Known as a formaldehyde donor, these derivatives of formaldehyde are linked to chest pain, dizziness, loss of sleep, ear pain, headaches, and chronic fatigue.

Polyethylene Glycol and Propylene Glycol
Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) strips the protective oils off the child's skin and hair, making them more vulnerable to toxins. Propylene Glycol, an active agent in antifreeze, is linked to kidney, liver, and brain abnormalities.

Other ingredients which are considered unsafe for the baby include:
Cocamidopropyl betaine
Potassium sorbate
Tocopheryl acetate
Sodium Benzoate
Sodium Lactate

Ingredients Safe for the Baby

Now that you have a fair idea about what is bad for your baby. How do you figure out what is good for the child? Look for safe ingredients in baby soaps, such as glycerin, coconut oil, organic palm oil, shea butter, sweet almond oil, jojoba seed oil, olive oil, chamomile flowers, colloidal oatmeal, honey, rosemary oil extracts, cocoa butter, and water.

Restricted Use of Chemicals and Additives

Look for soaps that use limited chemicals. Check the ingredient list to find ones that use minimal chemicals as ingredients and almost no preservatives. Usually, natural soap bars contain fewer chemicals than liquid body washes, which contain too many preservatives to make them last longer. A product like Nurture my Body Baby Bar Soap is not only free of artificial fragrances, parabens, phthalates, and sodium lauryl sulfate, but also contains only three of the finest natural ingredients, which includes certified organic palm, coconut, and olive oil. These ingredients moisturize the baby's skin, and keep it soft and healthy.

Choose Fragrance-free Soaps

Why do we need fragrance in baby soaps? Babies smell heavenly anyway. Moreover, most fragrances used in soaps are synthetic, and are known to cause a number of health problems. The word fragrance is used to refer to undisclosed mixture of various scent chemicals and ingredients. Since fragrances are unregulated, we do not even realize the chemicals we may be exposing the child to. They cause skin irritation and allergies. Prolonged exposure to fragrances is known to affect the central nervous system and have potential effects on the reproductive system as well.

Look for Hypoallergenic Soaps

If your baby has sensitive skin, or suffers from skin problems such as eczema, then look for hypoallergenic baby soaps. Some good hypoallergenic soaps in the market include Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap Baby Mild Bar Soap or the Burt's Bees Baby Bee Buttermilk Soap.

Instead of being swayed by marketing messages or references by friends, choose a good baby soap with the right ingredients to ensure that it is safe for your child. There are many good and safe baby soaps that you can find in local stores or online.
Published: December 9, 2013
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