How safe are the ingredients in your baby
skin care products?
So you're presented with your precious new baby and Bepanthen understands that the only thing you on your mind is how to keep her safe.
We've all heard scare stories about the ingredients in cosmetics and skin care products, and while it's easy to turn a blind eye to the strange ingredient lists on your own expensive body lotion, suddenly when you have a baby to think about, it seems to be more important that you know exactly what you're using.
But is there any real danger from using baby skin care products?
According to the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), there have not been many research studies that have looked into the use of baby skincare products, and there are no standardised skincare policies or guidelines in the UK.1
We suggest that you take the RCM’s advice, and if you want to use a baby cleanser or moisturiser, choose one that’s very mild and pH neutral. The RCM also suggests that any substances which could potentially irritate or sensitise babies skin should be left out of baby cleaning or moisturising products unless they are needed for hygiene purposes.1
Don’t get too hung up on worrying about chemicals though. All products that are intended for use on children under three years old have to pass a specific safety assessment.2 So you can take comfort in the fact that baby skin care products are safe to use on babies and young children.
Chemicals and long names
The sheer number of different baby skincare products on offer can be overwhelming. According to Euromonitor, the baby care market is one of the fastest growing of the whole cosmetics and toiletries industry, second only to sun care,2 and as a result the supermarket shelves are groaning with dedicated baby care products, from basic baby oils and nappy creams to products that you probably didn’t know you needed until you saw them in the baby aisle!
You don't have to go mad and buy everything though - with a few well chosen products you can take care of baby's skin from a very young age, and make sure that you protect it against common causes of irritation like nappy rash.
We know it’s easy to worry about these things, but any skincare products specifically designed for babies will have passed rigorous safety tests, so there shouldn't be anything that's actually proven harmful in any baby skin care products that you buy in this country.2 Even so, it's a good idea to try and avoid using highly scented baby products which might cause allergies and irritation, and instead opt for fragrance free products which don’t have any additional chemicals such as preservatives, colours and antiseptics.
With some of the scare stories about chemicals in skin care products, some parents prefer to choose organic and 'natural' baby skin care products.
You still need to be careful when you opt for organic, though. There are controls over what can and can’t be described as organic, since 2000 when the Council of Europe's Committee of Experts on Cosmetic Products issued a set of guidelines on natural cosmetic products. There has also been a definition of the word 'natural' when it’s used to describe cosmetics since 1981. There are a number of reputable organic certification schemes for cosmetic products and a couple of schemes for natural products.4
The problem is that even though organic and natural certification for cosmetics is enforced by law, certification costs money, and because it's not compulsory, some companies call their products natural or organic without any kind of certification.4 If you decide that going organic is the way forward for your baby, play it safe and always choose organic products which have been certified by The Soil Association or similar.