Becoming a parent changes you in ways you could never imagine! While I’ve always made a conscious effort to put health and wellness first, that desire was amplified once I was faced with the reality of being a mom. Of course, I want to nurture my children’s bodies with healthy food and stimulate their minds with books and toys; but what goes on their bodies’ is just as important to me. I want to share some advice that I’ve picked up along the way, as well as products I trust and use; but I think it’s important to point out that while I do make a conscious effort to make the best decisions possible where I can, I’m certainly not perfect!
Though consumers are becoming much more conscious, many people still don’t realize that there are potentially dozens of harmful chemicals that might be lurking in the most innocent of products. Chemicals linked to hormone disruption, reproductive problems, developmental issues, and even cancer. (For a list of some ingredients to avoid, scroll down to the bottom if this article)
Sadly, the FDA does little to regulate the personal care industry, which includes products for the most vulnerable of our population: infants and young children. And since they don’t have our backs, it makes it crucial to advocate for yourself and your family. As with anything, finding products that work for you involves some trial and error, but luckily, I’ve done a bit of the leg work and am happy to share some products and brands I’ve personally used and/or have come highly recommended.
Eco-friendly, absorbent and feature a non-woven back sheet to protect the skin.
Biodegradable, made with quality bamboo, use a non-chlorine bleaching treatment, hypoallergenic for any babies with extra sensitive skin!
Direct to consumer. Eco-friendly; no chlorine, latex, alcohol, perfumes, PVC, lotions, TBT or Phthalates. This brand is all about transparency so you can feel good about using them!
Eco-friendly, soft and absorbent. Plus, they come in adorable prints!
Contain just two ingredients–water (99.9% of it!) and a drop of fruit extract. Safe for baby’s face and body.
Direct to consumer; eco-friendly and non-toxic.
Water-based wipes made with 100% plant-based materials.
100% plant-based baby wipes, made with over 99% water and gentle on sensitive skin.
Plant-derived ingredients. No parabens, sulfates, phthalates, mineral oil, dye, fragrance, or petroleum included!
Bodywash, shampoo, and bubble bath all in one! Derived from coconut oil. Vitamin E and vitamin B5 are added to a blend of aloe vera, chamomile, calendula, and white tea extract to add even more moisture to the skin.
Plant- derived; available in unscented and Calming Aroma, which is a blend of essential oils and contains no synthetic fragrance.
Contains a soothing, moisturizing blend of shea and coco butter. Perfect for sensitive newborn skin.
This awesome 2-in-1 gentle and tear-free shampoo & bodywash is available in three scents: calming lavender, classic sweet orange vanilla and gently sweet almond
Nourishing Body Cream and Baby Body Lotion are organic. Gentle calendula extract is found in both products and soothes baby skin without any synthetic preservatives, fragrances, mineral oils, etc.
For little ones who are prone to eczema, chapped lips, rashes. Maty’s helps soothe skin with coconut and jojoba oil.
100% organic calendula diaper cream. Rated ONE on the EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, the lowest hazard rating a product can achieve
This water free formula contains zinc oxide and lanolin which helps repair the moisture barrier.
Non-sticky and quick drying, this plant-based formula protects against 99.9% of germs and bacteria
Calendula is great for soothing sensitive skin and well for babies who are prone to Eczema. Lightly scented with essential oils.
Use this soothing rub on baby’s chest, neck or feet for a good night’s sleep when they need a little extra comfort.
Plant-derived, extra moisturizing, rich and nourishing for baby’s skin. Contains vitamin E and jojoba.
This balm really can do it all! It contains Shea butter, beeswax, chamomile and other natural and soothing ingredients which can help with anything from dry elbows and knees to taming fly aways.
This multi-purpose lotion is great for baby and even you! It contains blend of jojoba, shea and safflower oils
Made with non-nano zinc, this broad-spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen is wonderful for the most sensitive skin. Contains coconut oil, calendula, chamomile and other soothing ingredients and comes in a reusable tin.
Great for babies and adults alike, this is a 20% non-nano zinc formula is packed with antioxidants and offers broad-spectrum protection of SPF 30.
Ingredients to avoid
Despite how it might appear, “fragrance” or “parfum” is not just one ingredient. They are usually comprised of multiple, sometimes dozens of ingredients. Some of which might be potentially harmful. The scariest part about all of this is that brands aren’t even legally required to disclose what’s actually inside the fragrance. Yes, you read that right! In fact, because of this nonsensical loophole, many brands may even try to hide bad ingredients this way, by claiming it is part of their fragrance. What comprises a fragrance isn’t always bad of course, but it’s a clear sign that the brand is not being totally transparent. And when it comes to our children, that is a nonnegotiable in my book.
Talc is a clay mineral and is the main ingredient in baby powder. Talc itself is considered to be relatively harmless, the issue is that it can sometimes be contaminated with asbestos, a known human carcinogen. There have been many lawsuits in recent years claiming that the use of talcum powder over extended periods can lead to ovarian cancer.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have also confirmed that talc can irritate the lungs when inhaled often. As a result of the lawsuits, some companies have since switched over to talc-free powders.
Parabens & Phthalates
Nowadays we see beauty and wellness companies constantly stating that their products don’t contain parabens and phthalates, but we still need to keep our eyes peeled for these. Parabens are a class of preservatives and still found in a lot of baby products including soaps, shampoos, moisturizers–you name it. Parabens are hormone disruptors because they act like estrogen in the body. They are most commonly known for their link to breast cancer, and in the European Union, the limit of parabens in products is enforced by the law. When it comes to phthalates, they’re used to lubricate other ingredients, make fragrance last longer, and encourage ingredients to penetrate deeper into the skin. Once chemicals penetrate our skin, they end up in our bloodstream. Children and women of childbearing age are the most exposed to phthalates because of their presence in so many products and even toys (teethers especially).
These are two more ingredients that have caused controversy and have been removed from several beauty products. However, mineral oil is still often found in baby oils, and is usually combined with fragrance. We’ve already touched on why you should avoid fragrance, but when it’s mixed with mineral oil it’s even worse. Mineral oil and petroleum are both byproducts of oil refining. It’s often used to lubricate the skin, or help with diaper rash, but it actually blocks your baby’s pores and prevents their body from releasing toxins. It completely disrupts the skin’s normal functions and makes room for all of these toxins to stay present.
This ingredient that’s commonly found in soaps and shampoos can make products foam and all, but the risks are no fun. Sulfates can cause skin irritation, eye irritation, allergic reactions, rashes, and even hair loss in your little ones. They’ve been removed by big companies in a lot of cosmetics and skincare, but can still be found in plenty of baby products. Labeling isn’t always so clear, so look out for SLS and SLES on ingredient lists.
Would you want an ingredient that’s used in wiper fluid for your car used on your baby’s body? I don’t think so! Well, that’s exactly the case with propylene glycol. It enhances the penetration of other ingredients, but a baby’s body can’t process it properly until at least 12 months of age. It’s known to irritate the skin, especially in infants, and because of its penetrating properties, it gives room for other chemicals to stay present. Propylene glycol is most commonly found in baby wipes, and not clearly labeled. Look out for PEG- followed by a number on an ingredient list.
Another controversial ingredient, formaldehyde, is meant to prevent mold from forming. While nobody wants mold present anywhere, this is still a human carcinogen and can be incredibly toxic to your health. It’s most commonly found in bathing products for babies, and in the past, companies failed to include it in ingredient lists. Formaldehyde has been linked to irritation, allergic reactions, respiratory complications and is a probable human carcinogen. It’s mostly present in shampoos and soaps and labeled as 1,4-dioxane.
I know this is all a lot of information to process, but this is information that everyone should be aware of. Whether you’re a new mom or thinking about having children soon, you can start making changes to your daily routine to make your home safe for all. Taking care of your family will always be your number one priority, so why not make sure that you’re living in the safest environment possible? These are simple swaps to make if you’re not already using non-toxic products. Stay safe and healthy!