Baby soap is one of those things that parents of new born know they are going to need. Bath time can be worrisome enough for some parents with a new baby. They wonder whether the temperature of the bath water is just right and if they are holding the baby correctly and is the baby comfortable. They want to be completely sure that the baby soap they are using is completely safe and gentle for their baby's skin.
Why should I be aware of this?
Most baby soaps and brands promise delivering hygiene in a mild manner. However, we need to be aware that the deceptively gentle soap with mild fragrance in light baby colors might have ingredients that might irritate the baby. Some of us also use mild soaps recommended for adults to bathe the baby. We end up wondering whether we are doing the right thing.
Babies are especially vulnerable to contact with chemicals. This is because
- A baby’s blood-brain barrier – which prevents chemicals from traveling from the blood into the brain – is not fully developed.
- Substances that have a small effect on adults can contribute to developmental problems in children.
- Babies also ingest products that are meant for external use only by putting fingers, hands, toes, toys and other objects into their mouths
- Babies’ skin is more permeable than adult skin, thereby allowing more chemicals to be absorbed.
Baby soaps and health
Baby soap's play an important role in keeping your baby healthy and germ free. However, the baby soap you opt for might have an adverse impact on the baby's health soap. If your baby's skin is sensitive you can go for an organic baby soap. Whichever baby soap you buy, look carefully at the labels and try and avoid products that have the following ingredients.
- Parabens - Parabens are irritating to skin and eyes and are readily absorbed through the skin. Look out for these names on the labels. There are several specific parabenssuch as propylparaben, methylparaben, ethylparaben, butylparaben.
- Formaldehyde --Formaldehyde is a probable human carcinogen and is associated with gene damage, mutations and developmental problems.
- Glycerin --Glycerin can cause mild headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, thirst and diarrhea if ingested.
- Phthalates -- Phthalates are used for adding fragrances. These are suspected carcinogens and hormone disruptors.
- Colorings -- FD&C Yellow #5 is an allergen and has been associated with hyperactivity in children.
- Triclosan is an ingredient of concern in many antibacterial soaps and products. Although it is not used in many baby soaps, many parents think that it is safer for their baby to wash with antibacterial soap. Triclosan has been shown to disrupt thyroid hormone processes in frogs.
Other ingredients that have an adverse impact on health
- Calcium silicate, sodium hydroxide , cocoamidopropylbetaine, laureth-4, propylene glycol, styrene, sodium lauryl sulfate and citric acid are irritants.
- Cocamide DEA is a potential carcinogen
- Glycerin is also toxic
- PEGs are mild irritant and might cause kidney damage.
What can I do?
Baby soap plays a very important role in keeping your baby’s skin clean. The baby soap that we select should be
- Gentle -- A baby soap that is not gentle irritates the baby’s skin during or after bath time.
- Hypoallergenic -- Buy a hypoallergenic baby soap as we do not know at this stage what the baby might be allergic to, and they are more susceptible at this very young age
- Non-toxic -- Baby soap also needs be non-toxic since young babies like to put their hands in their mouth, and you want to know that if your baby swallows some of the baby soap, they will be safe.
- SLS free -- baby soap should be Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS) free. SLS is a harsh chemical that is used as the chief foaming agent in soaps, including some baby soaps.
- The baby soap should not strip away the moisture from baby's skin.
Even though your baby’s skin will go through a few rough times, if you are using the right baby soap, then you know that you are caring for your baby’s skin as best as you can.
During the first few weeks and months of your babies life, the baby's skin might develop spots, rashes, and some dots. Though it is normal and temporary, contact the pediatrician is normal. You can opt for a home made baby soap or a natural baby soap.
Homemade baby soap
One recipe for making a homemade baby soap. This will require
- 194 g lye
- 19 oz water
- 8 oz sweet almond oil
- 7 oz jojoba
- 2 oz castor oil
- 4 oz shea butter
- 19 oz coconut oil
- 14 oz palm oil
- 1 oz vitamin E oil
Heat oils to 100 degrees. Combine lye and water and cool to 100 degrees. Combine oils and lye/water mixing well. At trace add the vitamin E oil. Pour into a mold and proceed as you would with cold process soap.
Natural baby soap
Consider using natural baby soap that is made from only natural ingredients insuring that it is safe and gentle on your baby's skin. Many times natural baby soap even helps protect and soothe your baby's skin. Natural baby soap are generally made of few ingredients such as will have water, oil and glycerine.
All of these ingredients are natural. However, the term natural does not always mean natural.
Do not take the manufacturers’ word that natural baby soap is really natural. Look out for soaps that have information on their labels that say that they have shea butter or some other oil or natural ingredient that was derived from a chemical. That means that the chemical is still in the soap. However, the soap can still stick the natural label on the soap.