As a parent, it’s especially worrisome to find dry patches and rashes on your child’s skin. Are they sick? Is it something they ate? Sometimes, however, the solution is as simple as changing your child’s skin care products. The same synthetic fragrances and parabens you actively avoid in your own skin care is, unfortunately, rampant in theirs.
Though the FDA has deemed many of these chemicals safe, many of the tens of thousands “approved” ingredients have never been thoroughly tested, and most have never been tested for safety on infants, toddlers, or children. Avoid risking reactions to their delicate skin and sensitive systems by seeking specific ingredients in their body washes and lotions.
Scents: If you’re choosing scented products for their aromatherapy benefits, ensure that the ingredients include pure essential oils. Simple listings such as fragrance/parfum/parfume indicate a potentially toxic combination of synthetic chemicals. Artificial fragrances have been linked to allergies, skin sensitivities, and even respiratory illness. You’re more apt to notice therapeutic calming effects of lavender (lavendula officianalis) or chamomile (anthemis nobelis) when the pure essential oil is used. Look for the oil’s botanical name to help ensure a quality aroma. *Note: even products labeled “unscented” may still list fragrance or parfum in the ingredients, be sure to read the label for certainty.
Petroleum-free: Though petroleum-based ingredients (mineral oil or paraffin) may seem to heal chapped or irritated skin, they actually create an impermeable barrier. The pores lose their ability to “breathe” and can seal in any dirt or bacteria. There is also a possibility that petroleum-based ingredients are contaminated with 1,4 dioxane- a likely carcinogen- and they may also interrupt hormone activity. Why are these in anyone’s skin care products, especially our children’s? Instead, look for ingredients like aloe and olive oil to help nourish their delicate skin and alleviate any dry patches.
Organic: Selecting products with organic ingredients helps alleviate concerns of pesticide contamination and GMO usage.
Nut-free: Parents of children with allergies adds another layer of concern. Because approximately 60% of what goes onto the skin is absorbed into the body, ingredients safe for children with nut-allergies is imperative. Rather than shea or almond oil, choose lotions and washes with nutrient dense seed oils such as evening primrose (oenothera biennis) or meadowfoam (limnanthes alba) and jojoba oil (simmondsia chinensis) which closely mimics the skin’s natural sebum. Coconut oil (cocos nucifera) is another beneficial and nourishing oil. Even though the FDA classifies coconut as a tree nut, they are technically a “drupe” in which the inner seed is encased by a hard covering, similar to a peach. While coconut allergies do exist, they are generally independent of tree-nut allergies.
It’s our natural instinct to protect our children, and we’d like to assume that all companies have intentions for our children’s best health also. Unfortunately, many big corporations are more focused on their bottom line than better health. Understanding ingredient labels allows you to look beyond marketing gimmicks, and choose products that you trust are created with your child in mind.
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