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A baby’s delicate skin is irresistible. However, it is essential to recognize that something as simple as skin-to-skin contact can trigger a reaction in babies with naturally sensitive skin. Every parent should pay particular attention when choosing skin care products. Care goes beyond avoiding a topical allergic reaction. When purchasing baby lotion, soap, wipes, shampoo or sunscreen, parents should consider what ingredients compose the product as they are absorbed through your baby’s sensitive skin.

Initially, vernix may still cover your baby’s skin. This whitish covering provided moisture protection for your newborn while in the womb. Once the vernix peels off, protect their skin from losing moisture and outside contamination. Choose baby products made from only natural and organic ingredients.

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A skin care routine is an invaluable part of tending to your baby. Skin care involves more than just keeping your baby clean and dry. Examine your baby’s skin and check for redness, dryness, and rashes. Skin reactions may be simple like atopic dermatitis or more severe like eczema. While red patches may look similar, treatments vary. Rashes have a range causes from oily skin to laundry detergent. It is always a good idea to check with your pediatrician. In rare instances, they may send you to a dermatologist.

Part of every skin care routine should include massage. A parent’s touch is soothing for a baby’s sensitive skin, and a soft massage with essential oils nurtures and soothes. Skin-to-skin contact between you and your baby releases oxytocin, a hormone that plays a significant role in the bonding between parent and child.

Unless you are experiencing very warm weather, doctors do not recommend frequent bathing. It dries an infant’s skin and removes the oils that naturally protect it. This leads to an increase in the possibility of your baby developing skin conditions.

A variety of baby products are currently available, but parents should be extra wary when selecting which products are right for their babies. Consumers are more informed and vigilant than ever about the ingredients found in personal care products. The Environmental Working Group conducted a study in 2008 and found that among many personal care products used by women, there were 16 ingredients that could be harmful to a user’s health. Environmental Working Group Senior Scientist David Andrews said: “Premarket safety testing is not something that’s necessarily done for cosmetics or personal care products [1].”

In order to know what products are right for baby sensitive skin, it is important to know which ones to avoid. Here are the four ingredients that are not suitable for babies’ sensitive skin.

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Baby Sensitive Skin Chemical #4- Steer Clear Of Phthalates

Phthalates, commonly called chemical plasticizers, are used as plastic softeners in children’s toys and as lubricating agents in personal care products. They are also used in insecticides, household products, car-care products, and flooring materials.

University of Rochester Medical Center Epidemiologist Shanna Swan conducted studies on how exposure to phthalates affects pregnant women and their children. Phthalates do not stick to plastics, so they are easily absorbed in the air or ingested by children who put their hands on their mouths while playing. Babies are particularly vulnerable to ingesting phthalates since they munch or chew on almost anything.

In many personal care products, phthalates increase the product’s spreadability and stabilize the product’s fragrance. Once a baby uses these products, the phthalates are absorbed through the skin.

Baby lotion for sensitive skin
Baby Sensitive Skin Chemical #3 – Steer Clear of Parabens

Parabens are often used as preservatives in shampoos, moisturizers, deodorants, sunscreen, and other cosmetics products. Advocates became concerned about the possible connection between parabens and breast cancer. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration considers parabens safe even when used in cosmetics. However, some parabens are already banned in the United Kingdom.

Parabens are not easily recognizable because they have many names such as butylparaben, methylparaben, benzylparaben, and propylparaben. Methylparaben is one of the most commonly used parabens in consumer products. Many baby wipes contain parabens which are linked to diaper rash and other allergic reactions among babies.

Baby Sensitive Skin Chemical #2 - Steer Clear of Sulfates
Baby Sensitive Skin Chemical #2 – Steer Clear of Sulfates

Many baby shampoos and personal care products contain sulfates which increase their lather component. Aside from drying out the hair and skin, frequent use of shampoos with sodium lauryl sulfate leaves residues in the heart, lungs, and brain. Sulfates are also linked to skin irritation that can lead to eczema.

While sodium lauryl sulfate is not widely used in baby products, the milder version (sodium laureth sulfate) is still a common ingredient. It is best to choose baby products that are sulfate-free.

Baby Sensitive Skin Chemical #1 - Steer Clear of Synthetic Fragrances
Baby Sensitive Skin Chemical #1 – Steer Clear of Synthetic Fragrances

We love the smell of a clean baby. However, a lot of fragrances are created from petrochemicals such as phthalates, aldehydes, and other toxins. Possible irritants in scents are difficult to determine as the cosmetics industry keeps them confidential under the guise of “trade secrets”. Unfortunately, this ruse has been used by some manufacturers as a license to use a variety of harmful ingredients.

Common allergic reactions due to skin-to-skin contact include skin sensitivity and irritated skin (allergic contact dermatitis). Sometimes, harmful ingredients hidden under the label “fragrance” can lead to reduced sperm count, autism, obesity, diabetes, and even breast cancer. Long-term use of this ingredient can also lead to asthma and a host of other serious illnesses.

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[1]   WebMD; What’s In Your Personal Care Products?, Mary Jo DiLonardo, August 25, 2010.

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