Having spent 9 luxurious months surrounded by water, newborn baby skin is super sensitive. As their first line of defence, your baby’s skin is a good place to start thinking about how to care for your precious little baby. As their skin is delicate and easily penetrable, you want to be sure your only using top quality, natural ingredients. Newborn skin hydrates within the first few weeks of life and so seeps up anything it meets – from clothes, cleaning products, lotions, balms, and the list goes on. So choosing natural baby skincare is so important to ensure your baby’s delicate skin receives the best start to life possible.
In the short term, you don’t want your beautiful baby suffering from rashes or respiratory issues. And with continued use over time, you don’t want to be using chemical laden products which can cause more severe health problems. It’s all about peace of mind for you mama, and the best natural products you can use on your baby, with the bonus of being more environmentally friendly too.
Choosing natural baby skincare products
Let’s look at three ingredients that are important to consider when it comes to choosing natural baby skincare products, and caring for your baby’s skin:
These man-made chemicals can mimic or interact with hormones in the body. As you can imagine, this isn’t great for anyone who is pregnant, or trying to conceive, as you certainly don’t want anything messing with your natural balance of hormones. For babies, this isn’t the best way to start to life either. Endocrine disruptors have been linked to diseases such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, learning disabilities, diabetes, and fertility issues as we mentioned above.
Phthalates are one type of endocrine disruptor to be concerned about, which mimic oestrogen in the body. They are easily absorbed into the skin, and can build up over time as the body doesn’t know how to process them. Issues can include kidney problems, infertility and birth defects (so especially one to avoid for the pregnant mamas too). Parabens have also been suggested to mimic hormones, and are next on our list.
Petroleum & Parabens
Parabens are used to stop the growth of fungus and harmful bacteria in skincare products. They act as a preservative, and are used to prolong shelf life. Unfortunately, they have been detected in breast cancer tissue and linked to male infertility. However due to the lack of confirming research, there is currently no legislation in Australia to ban their use. We think they are something to be mindful of, and you’ll see them in the ingredients list on products as the following:
We also see a lot of petroleum derived ingredients in skincare products (yep, from crude oil). Firstly, they’re not good for the environment as they are a non-renewable resource. They have also been linked to cancer and are known to suffocate the skin by clogging up the pores. Not great for making sure bub’s skin can breathe and naturally regulate their temperature.
Some petroleum derived ingredients to look out for, include:
- Parafﬁnum Liquidum (Mineral Oil)
- Paraffin Wax
- Petrolatum (Petroleum Jelly)
- Propylene Glycol, PEGs (Polyethylene Glycol)
You don’t need synthetic smells to mask that wonderful newborn baby smell! Always look out for those products that contain synthetic fragrances, as we often won’t even know what makes up these fragrances (as they are protected by ‘trade secrets’). This means that legally, manufacturers don’t need to disclose the list of ingredients on the packaging. A lot of these are derived from either petroleum or coal tar. Yep, not ideal to be putting on baby’s highly absorbent skin. They often contain VOCs which research shows can link to cancer, central nervous system disorders and allergic reactions. These airborne chemicals make their way to our brain and internal organs via the nose. So we really don’t want to be piling them on the skin too.
A few quick tips to consider with unnecessary fragrances when choosing natural baby skincare:
- Looking for water-based wipes rather than chemical laden, fragrance filled ones.
- Switching to natural oils (such as coconut, olive, apricot or almond) rather than using ones containing petroleum.
- Check the ingredients of nappy rash creams and opt for ones that you recognise the ingredients of (after all baby bottoms are super sensitive).
- Switching out talc for a non-carcinogenic product such as arrowroot baby powder, or one made from cornstarch. Those talc baby powders have been linked to cancer, and some have even been shown to contain levels of asbestos!
- Being wary of terms such as ‘hypoallergenic’, ‘fragrance-free’, ‘all natural’. These terms are not industry regulated so really can’t tell you all that much about the product. Only the ingredients list really can.
- Avoid bathing baby too often. You want to keep all those natural moisturisers and vital nutrients in. Stick to just water only in the first few weeks.
- Make use of natural oils for massage to keep skin hydrated and moisturised while avoiding any unnecessary and often unknown extras.
- Keep your babies’ skin out of the sun for the first 6 months, with protective clothing being the best form of sun protection.
Generally, when choosing natural baby skincare, if you read an ingredient and you wouldn’t fancy eating it, it’s probably best not to put it on your baby’s skin either.
Caroline is mum to two premmie babes now 3.5 years and 6 months old. With tricky starts to life for both (and to motherhood!), Caroline has researched, tried and tested many natural, organic products to find those that are good for her babes and the environment too. Her biz, Avidiva, showcases her passion for stylish, but natural goodies.
Avidiva is an online store for mamas and babes offering all natural, non-toxic products and gifts. A place to grab a teether for bub, treat yourself to a scrub, or send a gift box to a pregnant bestie. You can find her on Facebook and @avidivababy on Instagram or swing by the site at www.avidiva.com.au.