Babies’ skin is so delicate, their bodies are so fragile. They are totally dependent on us to keep them safe and healthy. As parents, and grandparents, we need to be very careful what we put on their skin.
Did you know that a baby’s skin is five times thinner than yours? This makes it so much easier for chemicals to be absorbed. And, because babies have a greater ratio of skin surface to body weight, they have a harder time flushing chemicals out of their systems.
So why would any manufacturer put harmful chemicals in their baby products?
Chemicals such as phthalates, parabens, and sodium lauryl sulfate – ingredients that can be skin irritants or endocrine disruptors – have turned up in shampoos, lotions, and baby washes. These products also may contain harmful chemical by-products such as 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde, which the EPA classifies as probable carcinogens. Even botanical ingredients, unless they are organic, may contain harmful pesticides.
What we are all acutely aware of now, or should be, is that what we put on our skin goes into our bodies. Our baby’s health depends on us making wise choices when it comes to choosing healthy skin care.
In a recent study involving 163 infants and toddlers, 81% had signs of phthalates in their wet diapers after having had some type of personal care product applied on their skin. Some experts suggest that phthalates, which also are used as softeners in plastic toys and have recently been BANNED from children’s toys, can potentially have negative impacts on the respiratory system, liver, and kidneys.
Diaper rashes can be a constant skin concern. They last about 24 hours, and are caused by wet diapers left on too long on sensitive skin. Some diaper creams contain boric acid and camphor – chemicals that can further irritate the skin.
What should I do to take good care of our baby’s skin?
Be a label reader! Have your NO list handy, and refuse to purchase or use any products containing harmful chemicals – NO parabens, NO phthalates, NO 1,4-dioxane, NO bisphenol-A, NO sodium lauryl sulfate, NO formaldehyde, NO artificial colors, and NO synthetic fragrances.
Look for products that are natural, preferably organic, and both pediatrician and clinically tested.
Diaper creams containing zinc oxide are safe, they will protect baby’s delicate skin from wetness, and keep the skin healthy and dry. When baby starts sleeping through the night, a good diaper cream is a must to avoid diaper rashes. Look for products containing organic chamomile, aloe, and calendula extracts, as they will also soothe the skin.
Use a gentle, natural, massage oil all over baby’s skin, anytime day or night, but especially after bathing, to soothe and moisturize. Studies have found that massaging your baby is not only good for their skin, but can improve their digestion, circulation, and sleep patterns. Baby’s love it, and it’s a great bonding time.
Baby’s need their vitamin D, so give them a little sun exposure on their arms and legs only. Ten to fifteen minutes per day, in front of the window is all that’s needed. Their skin will produce the vitamin D they need for a healthy immune system. Always cover their head and face in direct sunlight. This avoids sun damage, and keeps their temperature normal, since baby’s ability to regulate their temperature is limited their first year of life.
A healthy baby is a happy baby, naturally!