It is Not as Simple as it Seems
Good baby skin care is hard to find, as most of us know, so how do we balance good effective skin care that is safe for our children?
My daughter had the most horrendous nappy rash. Like ‘no skin on her bum cheeks’ horrendous. Unbeknown to us at the time she was suffering from dairy intolerance, which for a 5 week old baby is near impossible to diagnose. I tried pretty much every cream I could afford but regardless, nappy changes would be traumatic…for all of us.
When trying to get some mineral oil/petroleum concoction to stay on her bottom I started to think about how I was protecting her skin, could I actually be doing her more harm in the long run by using chemicals?
Mums are doing their best for baby
I recognised like most mums just trying to get the job done I didn’t think about what I was actually putting on my daughter’s skin. How skin care, is not just skin care.
I had forgotten that about 60% of anything we put on our child’s skin is absorbed into their bodies, possibly affecting how their body functions. Our skin is fantastic at absorbing things, especially in the nappy areas where the skin is most permeable.
I realised with horror that whatever I was putting on her bottom was definitely going to be absorbed into her system and not only that but up to 10 applications a day in the first few weeks. Eek.
I needed to do some further research to calm my anxious mum mind. More often than not most of the chemicals present in our everyday baby care products should never be in our baby’s bodies. They are in products at higher levels than found in nature or are not found in nature at all!
There is little scientific data on the long-term effects or build-up of most of these chemicals. However, we do know that there can be three possible hazards to babies’ bodies from putting chemicals on their skin that should not be there:
Babies’ bodies cannot break down or dispose of everything that gets into their system. How long chemicals stay in the body can depend on two things:
1) can the substance be metabolised (broken down) by the body at all, and
2) what is the normal half-life (natural time to break down) of the chemical.
Factor in that baby is constantly absorbing, ingesting and inhaling numerous chemicals from the environment on a daily basis. Surely there is a chemical load you don’t want to add to.
Some babies experience localised reactions from exposure to chemicals, even those found in nappies or baby wipes. Reactions can vary from inflammation, burns to affecting the integrity of the skin barrier. Yikes.
Rather than localised reactions, allergic reactions involve the whole body, activating the immune system to respond. Symptoms can vary from hives all over, skin itching or a runny nose, to asthma-like symptoms which can cause breathing difficulties and chest tightness. Not fun.
What are the effects of all these chemicals? How can they affect our child’s health in the long-term? Scientists have proven that minute changes in body systems (at the cellular level) can increase the chances of developing cancer or other life-threatening chronic health conditions. That is why a number of products are now being reformulated as ‘Paraben-Free’.
Parabens, commonly used baby care preservatives, have been found to induce 4 out of 6 cellular changes that are the Hallmarks of cancer in lab studies. Yep, frightening
This is just an example of some the research that I did. So, you can understand how as a mum, scientist and aromatherapist I decided for my family’s benefit I needed to be able to trust the products I bought. If I couldn’t understand what was in them, or why, how could I trust them?
Honestly organic baby skin care was crafted from the safest and most soothing organic ingredients I could source and, importantly, free of nasty chemicals. The products I developed for my daughter are safe, affordable and work. Thankfully, her awful nappy rash healed and we never had to go through screaming nappy changes again (until the crawling phase, but that’s another story!).
Be an Informed Consumer
You have every right to choose what you put on your child’s skin. You decide what enters their body and being educated is the key. When I researched some common components in readily available baby products, I didn’t like what I found. Consequently, I decided I didn’t want or need them in Honestly baby skin care.
I wanted to give my family the best I could. Until we can understand the full implications of some of the chemicals we are exposed to in our daily lives I can make a choice to limit our exposure where I can. It’s important to remember that absence of studies does not mean that there isn’t any risk. It also doesn’t mean it’s unsafe either as there is nothing to work with. We can only go with the information we have available to us.
With that I wanted to help other mums be informed consumers. I encourage you to make the choice that fits you and your family and know that your choice is what’s right for you.
Honestly. good. clean. fun
- Błędzka D, Gromadzińska J, Wąsowicz W. (2014). Parabens. From environmental studies to human health. Environment International, 67, p.27¬42.
- ACAAI. (2016). Skin Allergy. [online] Available at: ¬allergies[Accessed 6 May 2016].
- Cdc.gov. (2016). CDC -¬ Skin Exposures and Effects ¬- NIOSH Workplace Safety and Health Topic. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 May 2016].
- Darbre, P. and Harvey, P. (2014). Parabens can enable hallmarks and characteristics of cancer in human breast epithelial cells: a review of the literature with reference to new exposure data and regulatory status. J. Appl. Toxicol., 34(9), pp.925¬938.
- Gibbs, S., van de Sandt, J., Merk, H., Lockley, D., Pendlington, R. and Pease, C. (2007). Xenobiotic Metabolism in Human Skin and 3D Human Skin Reconstructs: A Review. CDM, 8(8), pp.758¬772.
- Jean Hailes For Women’s Health. (2016). [online] Available at: ¬a-z/menopause/menopause¬management [Accessed 6 May 2016].
- Phuong, C. and Maibach, H. (2015). Effect of massage on percutaneous penetration and skin decontamination: man and animal. Cutaneous and Ocular Toxicology, pp.1¬4.
- Semple, S. (2004). Dermal exposure to chemicals in the workplace: just how important is skin absorption?. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 61(4), pp.376¬382.