Choosing products to use on your baby’s skin isn’t as simple as picking something off the shelf. You need to look beyond the pretty packaging and get to grips with what ingredients are really inside…
Reading the ingredients on the back of a shampoo bottle is like trying to understand a foreign language (just not one where nodding politely is an adequate response). While you may not mind taking a gamble on your own skin, it’s just not worth the risk with your baby.
Her skin hasn’t fully developed yet and is really delicate so it’s definitely best to read the label of every product you use to know exactly what is in it before applying.
Ingredients to avoid
It’s best to avoid certain ingredients which can cause a rash or irritate your baby's skin.
'Parabens, phenoxyethanol, phthalates, PEGs, cocamidopropyl betaine, propylene glycol, sodium benzoate and dimethicone should all be avoided,' says midwife and baby skincare advisor Sharon Trotter.
Try not to use products containing mineral oils as they have a greasy texture that creates a barrier on your baby’s skin. This means that your baby’s skin can’t breathe properly or eliminate toxins, which could lead to allergies or dryness such as eczema.
Vegetable oils aren’t recommended for your baby’s skin, either. Olive oil is high in oleic acid which can strip away the delicate barrier that is there to protect the baby’s skin from damage. This can reduce the natural water content of the skin which becomes more prone to eczema.
If you do want an oil for your baby’s massage, sunflower oil is a safer option as it has a lower level of oleic acid.
Avoid using products filled with fragrances and colouring too, and try to use only toiletries that are ‘tear free’ to dodge hours of crying!
Ingredients that are safe
It’s hard to say which ingredients are definitely safe, as every baby is unique and may react to something that doesn’t pose a problem for other babies.
It can be a case of trial and error and seeing which ingredients agree with your baby’s skin
So, it can be a case of trial and error and seeing which ingredients agree with your baby’s skin.
‘Test the product on a small area of skin before you use it for the first time,’ says Sharon. ‘Do this even if the product claims to be natural or organic.’
Stick to active natural ingredients that are mild and contain organic fruit and flower extracts, like Vitamin E, vanilla, chamomile, beeswax, shea butter and aloe vera.
If you’re not sure, check with your GP or pharmacist or use the rule that if it’s good enough to eat then it’s good enough for your little one’s skin.