Natural baby skincare: the cheat sheet

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I know the debate rages on about whether certain skincare ingredients are actually harmful to your skin or not – most notably parabens – but when it came to my baby, I shut it all out and chose natural. At first water sufficed anyway – easy, decision made – but s babies get older (read: messier) you do need something a little stronger. So where to start? I have brought to you some of the best things we’ve used, but I really wanted to include a little more guidance on seeking out products for your baby and the potential pitfalls of chemically-heavy, mainstream options. It’s controversial ground – many believe some of this stuff is a bit OTT – but here Skin Advisor, Lindsey Springer from Mahi Naturals Ltd gives you the point-of-view of a champion for natural skincare. It is certainly food for thought.

WHAT INGREDIENTS SHOULD WE BE LOOKING OUT FOR AND AVOIDING?

Harmful ingredients may include: sodium lauryl sulphate (also sodium laureth sulphate), parabens, fragrance and perfumes (often containing phthalates), artificial colours or dyes, mineral oils, propylene glycol, Methylisothiazolinone (MIT), Imidazolidinyl Urea and Diazolidinyl Urea, DEA (diethanolamine), TEA (triethanolamine) and MEA (monoethanolamine), (chlorine, ammonia, formaldehyde). Such chemicals can be harmful in a variety of ways; some strip the natural oils from the skin causing dry and irritated skin, eczema, dermatitis and allergies (washing too frequently can also exacerbate dry skin conditions).  Certain chemicals are also thought to be hormone disruptors or thought to release carcinogenic nitrosamines.

HOW DOES BABY SKIN DIFFER FROM OUR OWN AND WHAT DO WE NEED TO BEAR IN MIND WHEN CHOOSING PRODUCTS?

Children are developing at a rapid rate so are more vulnerable to the effects of toxic chemicals than adults and less able to detoxify and excrete chemicals. Their bodies’ absorb them more easily (as children have more skin surface per unit of body weight compared to adults and so can absorb proportionally more chemicals), Children have underdeveloped immune systems and their organs are still developing so they are generally less capable of eliminating toxins and more vulnerable to damage from chemical exposures. Children also have more years of future life ahead in which to develop disease triggered by early exposure.

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