Skin, the largest organ on our body, absorbs almost 60% of what we put on it into the blood stream. There is no filter. It would be better to drink your shampoo than to put in on your skin. At least your saliva, intestinal tract, kidneys and liver would get a chance to clean out those nasty chemicals. On your skin, it goes straight into your system. A very scary thought when one starts shopping for baby’s first bath.
There are a few things I have discovered along the way that shocked me when it comes to baby products. First that any company would put anything toxic in a child’s product, secondly that they would then lie to us. Not just about it’s safety which is bad enough, but about what is in their products.
Here are a few of the mistruths:
You keep using that word, I do not think it means, what you think it means. If you are like me, unscented means fragrance hasn’t been added. What it actually means is fragrance has been added to mask the scent of chemicals, but nothing you can actually smell. Look for the phrase Fragrance Free.
This one actually made me cry a little bit, pardon the pun. Tear free doesn’t mean there are no tear inducing chemicals, it means they have added a numbing agent or tear duct paralyzer so the harsh chemicals don’t burn little baby eyes. Yea, you read that right. This is where it gets even worse, the chemical used may not even be listed on the bottle. When looking for a baby wash or shampoo look for the ingredients PEG followed by a number. And if you think it can’t get worse, scientists do not know what impact PEG’s can have. Are you crying yet?
Here is another tear jerker. I naively assumed fragrance was fragrance. Some were just essential oils, some were harmful synthetics, but they are just stuff that makes a product smell good. WRONG! Since the FDA allows fragrance to be called a “trade secret” any manufacturer can load up “fragrance” with a stew of chemicals and never list the ingredients. The term “fragrance” on a label could be ANYTHING! Most of which have not even been assessed for safety. How could they be, it’s a “secret”.
Now for something completely different, scary ingredients:
Parabens– a synthetic preservative, can interfere with the production and release of hormones
Phthalates– fragrance preservative, known carcinogen, organ damage, birth defects, decreased sperm counts and early breast development in both girls and boys
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) – This is a big one, it’s a surfacant in just about every soap for the body there is and it has many names, Sodium laureth sulfate, ammonium laurel sulfate, Sodium dodecyl sulfate, A13-00356, Sulfuric acid, monododecyl ester, sodium salt, Akyposal SDS, Sodium salt sulfuric acid, Aquarex ME, Monododecyl ester sodium salt sulfuric acid and Aquarex methyl. Known side effects include allergies, organ damage, cancer, mutations (no idea what this is really, but who wants it), developmental issues, neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption and reproductive concerns
Propylene Glycol- also known as 1,2-Dihydroxypropane, 1,2-Propanediol, Methyl glycol, and Trimethyl glycol, known to cause organ damage and respiratory issues
Triclosan- also known as triclocarbon, it’s antibacterial. So if it says antibacterial, you can bet it’s most likely in there. Known side effects are liver damage, and thyroid function disruption
Formaldehyde– I covered this in my last post here.
Soap by nature is alkaline so it’s going to burn. Trust me I have personally burned my eyes with many an organic tear free shampoo. There are some that are less irritating than others and have healthier ingredients. But in the end, the best thing you can do is teach your children to tilt their head and close their eyes. Until that time don’t let them get it in their eyes. Sorry that is just the way it is.
With that written, here are the brands I have researched and used.
California Baby – It did irritate my eyes a little, but it didn’t burn. It’s ingredients are low in toxicity, but not entirely chemical free. But for what you can now find in most grocery store shelves this is the best and easiest available.
Everyday Shea– I buy this at Whole Foods and I absolutely love it. It makes the best bubbles, it is missing all those nasty unpronounceable names and is a fair trade item to boot. I didn’t much like how it felt in my eyes, but it doesn’t burn.
Now here’s the one my Mother In Law is going to hate.
Don’t use soap that often! Water and a soft cloth between all those sweet little folds is really all a baby needs on a daily basis. Every other day or 3 or even once a week use soap. The days of daily baths with pungent washes, oils and powders are gone. It’s been proven time and time again this is so not healthy for the little ones.