Are Baby Cosmetics Safe?
Picture a small sweet, cuddly and delicate newborn baby with a faint baby fragrance, which stays with you. Do you ever wonder how secure are the baby products in the market sold with a claim that they are very mild? With studies showing that many of them are responsible for adverse health effects on the baby, the question really is "How many of us check the label for its contents to ensure that the product is completely safe and nontoxic?" Babies are born with a defenseless immune system for any allergic products and their system only becomes resistant with age. Therefore, one must insist on using products with a very low allergy risk, preferably containing simple and safe, natural ingredients without added perfumes or preservatives.
Talcum powder is made from a purified mineral called magnesium silicate or talc, which can easily be contaminated with other substances. It is similar in composition to asbestos which is carcinogenic or cancer-causing in nature. Talcum powder poisoning can occur in our daily lives due to anyone accidentally or intentionally breathing or swallowing it. The concern for baby's health increases due to its widespread use in almost every household and commercial establishment. Can you reckon with the fact that this fine white powder or talc is not only present in baby powders, but present in other common products, such as eye-shadows, foundations, deodorants, antiseptics, soaps and lipsticks which the cosmetics industry relies on? Yes, it is scary. Nevertheless, what are the precautions one can take to prevent the ill effects of talcum powder? To start with, use only talc free powder for babies.
Do you smother your baby with talcum powder? It surely smells heavenly. Do you know that research links the use of talcum powder to lung disease, notably asbestosis, which can lead to lung cancer? Babies whose mothers use talcum powder liberally on them have a higher risk of breathing difficulties. Your baby can accidentally inhale baby powder causing pneumonia and inflammation (or swelling) of the airways. Records show that thousands of little infants each year have become seriously ill or even died following talc inhalation.
Talcum powder is an important contributing factor in the development of ovarian cancer and cervical cancer in girl babies who have had talcum powder dusted on their pelvic areas. The tiny particles of talc can travel through the genital area to the ovaries and stick on them causing an inflammation, which allows cancer cells to multiply. There is no evidence that baby powder helps to prevent or treat diaper rash. The best preventive and risk free method is to clean and pat dry your baby's bottom at each diaper change and then apply a thin layer of protective ointment or cream. A recent study found that women who use powder in their genital areas are 40% more likely to develop ovarian cancer than women who don't use powder, or use it only in other areas.
There is an associated link of using talc with blisters, allergic reactions and even shedding of the skin. There are instances of dermatitis and even skin related cancers.
Generally, people who use powder may consider avoiding these products containing talc or substituting cornstarch-based powders that contain no talc. There is no evidence at present which shows that cornstarch powders cause cancer.
Sure, you would like to clean, protect and moisturize your little baby's skin. Bath times can be fun for you and your baby but do not use harmful detergents that strip away the natural pH or acid barrier of babies' skin which is necessary for their well-being. As a rule, babies should never be placed in water with bubble baths, which contain chemicals and irritants known to increase the risk of urinary tract infections in babies and toddlers. A recent report in Clinical Pediatrics reads that over 75 percent of newborns suffer rashes within the first few months of birth thanks to the chemicals and irritants present in moisture baths, lotions and other products used on babies.††
Babies are born with a white coating called the vernix caseosa, which is protective in nature. It is the best moisturizing and protective lotion known to a human being, and it should be massaged into the baby's skin immediately after birth. Soap will strip away the baby's natural protective lipids on the skin. Always minimize the use of soap even if it is mild and unscented and without any strong preservatives that can cause eczema and allergies.Most soap contains detergents, which remove healthy bacteria and destroy the protective mantle on our skin. This is especially true of baby's skin. In fact, many pediatricians recommend that babies be washed in warm water only, without soap as far as possible. Totally avoid antibacterial soaps or antiseptics unless recommended by your pediatrician.
Products Containing Preservatives and Parabens
Parabens are weakly estrogenic, that is, they produce a similar effect on the body as estrogens. They can be easily absorbed from the skin though cosmetics and cause changes in the sexual organs and sexual development.††
Babies usually have very thin and fine hair if at all they have hair. Use a mild shampoo as their hair need not be washed with any harsh shampoos especially those containing antidandruff chemicals used on adult hair. Avoid anything with synthetic fragrances, allergenics, and parabens.
No matter how hard television advertisements tell you that antiseptics used in baby baths would prevent infection, remember that not all antiseptics are safe and some contain talc.
All said and done, it is really safer to avoid excessive use of any chemical product even if they are mild. Therefore, go natural, stay close to Nature and gift your little bundle of joy a flawless baby skin for the rest of his or her life!