There is nothing more precious to us than our babies and children. And while we can’t control everything that happens in our children’s lives, we can control certain things – like the products we use on them, or expose them to.
It’s commonly known that we should put only the healthiest of foods inside our baby’s bodies. It is also just as important to apply only the healthiest of products on the outside of their bodies. We might not realize this, but everyday baby products–like shampoos, lotions, bath gels, sunscreens, etc.–contain ingredients that can be extremely harmful. These ingredients have the potential to cause short term or long term health issues. Some of these issues can be apparent immediately on baby’s skin after use. Other times the issues can be invisible, disrupting their bodies in ways that we can’t see right away with the naked eye.
In a pound for pound ratio, babies consume more food, more air, and more water than that of an adult. Babies also absorb things at a much higher rate than adults. The top layer of a baby’s skin is 30% thinner than an adult’s. This causes them to absorb ingredients much more effectively than we do.
There is a process known as bioaccumulation. This means, over time, the excessive toxin exposure will build up, accumulate, and make it harder for the body to break down. When we use any sort of product on our baby’s skin, the ingredients (some of them highly toxic) absorb into their bodies. And since toxic ingredients are harder to break down, it can contribute to the weakening of our baby’s immune systems, behavior, skin health, and much more.
The Environmental Working Group has a database available to the public, where you can plug in every single ingredient listed on a bottle of a baby product. This database lists the toxicity of each ingredient on a 1 to 10 scale—1 being the safest and 10 being the most toxic. If you do that for conventional baby products, you’ll see that most of their ingredients go as high as a 10 in their toxicity ratings. The “Think Dirty” app is also a huge eye-opener for some moms. This app allows you to scan your favorite baby products, and see how toxic they truly are to use on our little ones.
So what are some toxins to avoid in your baby products? Here are 5 to stay away from:
Popular ingredients in store-bought baby soaps and cleansers are sulfates (SLS). These are included in shampoo and baby wash to cause the product to “foam” or “bubble up.” Some people think that the more bubbles a shampoo creates, the more effective it works. However, sulfates are highly toxic to the body. According to the Environmental Working Group database, SLS has been linked to cancer, neurotoxicity, organ toxicity, skin irritation, and endocrine disruption.
While bright blue, emoji yellow, or neon pink might look fun, the chemicals that contribute to turning all the colors of the rainbow are not fun at all. Studies show that dyes in foods and even products used on the skin are damaging, yet are still used and sold daily. Many dyes have the potential to cause horrible health issues. These include chromosomal damage, tumors, hyperactivity, lymphomas, neurochemical effects, asthma, insomnia, allergies, and eczema.
Parabens are synthetic preservatives. They are associated with ingredient names like methylparaben, ethylparaben, butylparaben, and propylparaben. Companies put these in skin products to cause it to last longer and not go bad over a short period of time. Studies have shown that parabens can mimic or imitate hormonal activity in the body. It has also been associated with forms of breast cancer, and traces of parabens have even been found in breast tumors.
Phthalates are industrial chemicals that are used to soften plastics and act as solvents in many topical creams, soaps, and other skin care products. It has been banned in many children’s toys. However, it is still used in many baby care products–scary, huh? Studies have shown that parabens are highly damaging to the liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive systems.
Many baby products contain the listed ingredient “fragrance,” which is simply a broad category that hides hundreds of toxic chemicals behind that word itself. Companies are not required to reveal the actual chemicals that are within the “fragrance” category. Unfortunately, this keeps the public in the dark about the real toxicity of the products we use on our little ones. These chemicals are known to cause birth defects, cancer, nervous system disorders, allergies, and much more.
Now that I’ve effectively freaked you out let me say that there is no judgment here! Being a mom is hard. Many of us are guilty of using products on our little ones with these hidden ingredients– including me. However, it is so important for us to educate ourselves and learn to ditch the toxins for the sake of our children’s health.
So what can you do? Be a conscious ingredient reader! Check the back of each product and see for yourself what it contains. There are wonderful products out there that are free from synthetic chemicals and can be a much better choice for the health of your baby.
Your baby is worth it, momma. And so are you! You are totally rocking at this mom thing, especially since you were willing to learn from this post today.
And remember, there is no one more fitting to be your child’s mother than YOU!