The Benefits of Using Natural Skin Care Products for Your Baby
As a general rule of thumb - everyone can benefit from using skin care products that are natural and limited in their inclusion of synthetic chemicals, additives and fragrances. But when it comes to little ones, the reasons for going au naturel with their skin care products are especially compelling.
Here are some of the many benefits for why you should choose natural skin care products for your baby (and hopefully it inspires you to do the same for yourself
- Babies skin is more permeable than adults as it’s essentially ’brand new.’ It’s not yet completely developed with lots of growing to do and much more prone to infections from pathogens and bacteria as well as reactions to harsh chemicals.
- As a newborn baby’s skin is so sensitive, many medical professionals will recommend only using water for cleaning at bath time in the first few weeks of birth then transitioning to gentle products that minimise the risk of irritation to your baby’s skin. It’s also easier to watch out for reactions if the ingredients list is simple and easy to understand, allowing you to work through a process of elimination for what might irritate your baby’s skin in the event of a reaction. The less complicated the ingredients, the less likely your baby will have a reaction. Keep in mind: some baby’s that do have strong food allergies might react to food based substances even if they are natural.
- You know the saying, “you are what you eat”? Well your skin is your body’s largest organ that covers you head to toe! It makes sense to feed it natural, uncomplicated products that will be readily absorbed by your skin into your whole system.
- Your baby’s skin is also more prone to getting dry - aside from hydration from breast milk or formula, keeping it moisturised from nourishing skin care products can help prevent scratching from irritation as well as prevent sore, cracked skin from developing.
- Natural products are better for the environment! One of my biggest concerns as a Mum is wondering what state the planet will be left in by the time by children are grown up and having babies of their own. We can all do our part to preserve planet earth for future generations so using products that are natural/organic, biodegradable and recyclable are more environmentally friendly.
- Many synthetic ingredients in skin care products act as “endocrine disruptors.” Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals are man made industrial chemicals that mimic or interact with hormones within the human body and can wreak havoc on your body’s natural functioning. When these normal, hormonal processes are disrupted this can lead to the development of many diseases including fertility issues, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and learning/memory difficulties to name a few. Children are especially vulnerable to endocrine disruptors.
Tips for choosing the right skin care products for your baby:
- Read the ingredients list carefully and ensure that any claims of “organic” or “natural” are not just marketing ploys.
- Certification labels are a great guide to indicating the product has had to meet strict standards. In Australia there are 7 organic certification companies that have been approved by the Australian Quarantine & Inspection Service. Remember that some international products with organic certification have also been through a strict process of approval within their own country so do your research.
- Research the background of the company and even contact them directly for clarification on their ingredients (if they don’t freely advertise this). Companies that do abide by organic/natural standards are very happy to share that they do whereas companies that don’t will dismiss you or make generic statements that don’t clarify their position on natural ingredients (side note: shopping from companies that have done all the hard research work for you is even better!)
- Stick to products that are organic or as natural as possible. Organic products in the skin care industry contain ingredients that have been grown without synthetic fertilisers or pesticides. Synthetic fertilisers and pesticides have been strongly linked to causing certain cancers and other autoimmune diseases within the body. Organic and natural products will also be free of many Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals.
Ingredients to avoid:
- Phthalates - this is a man made substance that mimics the female sex hormone oestrogen and is easily absorbed through the skin. Because the body doesn’t know what to do with it, its presence can accumulate over time and has been linked to kidney problems, infertility and birth defects.
- Parabens - a common preservative used in beauty/skin products of which many types have been banned across the EU. Parabens have also been detected in breast cancer tissue and as a cause of male infertility and there are currently no parabens banned in Australia so it pays to minimise your use of products containing these.
- Petrochemicals (commonly labelled as petrolatum, mineral oil or paraffin to name a few) - forms of petrochemicals are incredibly common in skin care products. Despite being a non renewable, environmentally unfriendly resource, some can also contain cancer causing properties that suffocate the skin and clog up pores.
- Fragrance/Perfume - these can be listed without any further indication what the actual ‘fragrance’ or ‘perfume’ is. Synthetic fragrances and perfumes can cause skin irritations, reactions and allergies and are usually chemically loaded ingredients.
- Dimethicone - A man made toxic synthetic pigment that sits on the skin and doesn’t allow it to breathe causing irritation and discomfort.
Please note: this list is not exhaustive but a fantastic resource for researching cosmetic ingredients is the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Skin Deep Cosmetics Database which you can visit here