One of the main reasons we started with NAÏF is that most of the big baby brands use cheap ingredients in their products that can irritate the skin and can even be potentially harmful for your baby. As the ingredient label on the back of your products is not that easy to read for most people, we have listed 5 ingredients to look out for. Luckily, there are also plenty of (baby-) brands out there that make very nice products without using these ingredients.
1. Mineral oil
Look for on label: mineral oil, petrolatum, paraffinum, parrafinum liquididum
Mineral oil is a cheap petroleum by-product used is many creams, moisturizers, hair products and oils. In baby products, you may find mineral oil in diaper creams, baby wipes, oils and lotions. Big cosmetic companies like to use mineral oils as a base for their products because of the cost and it is praised for it’s lubricating action. Unfortunately, mineral oil acts as a coating on your skin and thereby blocks your pores and the skin’s natural breathing process. A lot of the well-known brands make baby oil from nothing more than mineral oil with synthetic fragrance…not exactly what you want to put on your baby’s skin. Studies have linked mineral oil to several diseases. Read more here
Look for on label: Ethylparaben, butylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, other ingredients ending in –paraben
Parabens prohibit the growth of microbes and are therefore widely used as preservatives in the food and cosmetics industry. Parabens can irritate your baby’s skin. However, the biggest concern is that they are known to disrupt hormone function. An effect that is linked to increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity. Since a baby’s hormone system is not yet mature, parabens can cause irreparable damage to the developing endocrine system.
Look for on label: phenoxyethanol
A preservative often also used by products that claim to be “all-natural” as an alterative to parabens. Phenoxyethanol is not completely uncontroversial as it may have impact on the nervous system and has been even restricted in Japanese cosmetics. It is known to be an irritant to the skin and may cause vomiting and diarrhea if exposed at high enough concentrations. In 2008, the FDA published a warning for nursing mothers against Mommy’s Blisse Nipple cream that contained both phenoxyethanol and chlorpenisin (another preservative known to impact the central nervous system).
4. Sodium lauryl (ether) sulfate
Look for on label: SLS, SLES, sodium dodecyl sulfate, sodium PEG lauryl sulfate,
This synthetic substance is used in shampoos and wash products for its detergent and foam-building abilities. Also often used in baby products. Although this makes products nice and foamy you can better avoid this ingredient. SLS / SLES can cause eye irritation, skin rash, hair loss, scalp scurf similar to dandruff, and allergic (reactions?). It is a known skin irritant that is easily absorbed through our biological shields
5. Polyethylene glycol
Look for on label: PEG- followed by a number. The lower the number, the more easily the compound is absorbed into the skin. PEG is a class of ethylene glycol polymers that moisturizes, keeps products stable, and enhances the penetration of other ingredients, both good and bad. PEG’s can irritate the sensitive baby skin. In addition, they help traffic all sorts of chemicals they may be contaminated with across your epidermis.