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Lotions and Potions

An Aussie Mum's Guide To Eco Friendly Babies: Lotions and Potions

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Lotions and Potions

When looking at skin products for your baby (we'll look at ones for mum later!) it's easy to be overwhelmed by the selection available.  With all the great products out there, it's really sad to see many skin care ranges marketed at babies containing known allergens like Sodium Laurel/Laureth Sulphate (SLS). The linked government report shows SLS can cause skin irritation and gastric (stomach) irritation if swallowed.  Some anti-chemical resources say this ingredient may cause cancer but this report states that has not been adequately studied either way.

Johnson's is a prime example of a company that has made a name for manufacturing baby care products, many of which contain SLS.  With 'over 100 years of experience', surely by now they'd be looking at their product formulations and saying to themselves, we can do better.  They have now bought out Johnson's Naturals, a range that has mostly natural ingredients.  The moisturising cream in that range actually looks pretty good based on ingredient listings.    However, some synthetic preservatives are used in tiny amounts and the wash still contains sulphates- something I would try to avoid.

As a rule of thumb, the fewer ingredients the better it is- even better if you can pronounce those ingredients!  Unfortunately the regulations on product labelling often let companies get away with listing only 'active' ingredients, which may only make up 1-3% of the total product.  This meanas you do not know what is in the other 99%.  One company that is really pushing for transparency in labelling is MooGoo.  Check out their website for some great info on the chemicals often used in skin care and cosmetics, and for some great products- I have been using their MooGoo range (very gentle, no tears formulations suitable for use on newborns up) on myself and my kids with great results.

Evohe is an organic skin care range more geared to adults, but their range is so multi-purpose, there are a few I love to use on bub.  Number one would be the Repair Intensive- you really can use it on anything but it's skin healing and anti-fungal properties make it THE best nappy rash cream I have ever seen.  The Body Mist is great for spraying on bums as a cleanser or all over as a light moisturiser.  The Omega Body is thick and nourishing for very dry skin (and makes a wonderful hair treatment for mum!)

The A'Kin Purebaby range is one I've had some great feedback on.  Unfortunately, the website only lists active ingredients, you'll have to read product labelling for the full list.  They are, however, free of the common skin-irritating nasties.  They make a barrier cream called Bottom Balm which is great to seal away moisture from the skin.

Always be careful applying a barrier cream though- you can actually trap moisture and bacteria under the cream and cause infections.  This can be quite common when using lanolin based nipple creams.  Only apply if you really need it and use sparingly.  Where possible allow the affected skin to air dry and breath.

Watch out for ranges that claim to be 'natural' or 'organic' when the ingredient panel looks like something you'd spray your garden with.  Some companies will throw in a few essential oils amongst the skin irritants and try to pass themselves of as a natural range, so it always pays to check.  One example was Natural Instinct- they were made to relabel all their products after the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) ruled their labels were misleading in that they were using the lesser known names for chemicals like SLS instead of the industry accepted ones.  This meant people with known allergies were buying the products after checking ingredient listing and being caught out.    The company has now reformulated all their products and I believe has changed hands.  The new products actually look pretty good- I haven't had the chance to try them yet though.

Sometimes, the simple solution is often the best.  For dry skin or cradle cap, just use some organic Apricot Kernel Oil or Coconut Oil and massage into skin all over baby- and yourself if you like!  You can usually get these at the supermarket or health food store.  Using organic oils means they are free of any pesticide residue.

Newborn babies only need to be bathed every few days and if bathing daily as part of a bed time routine, you can just use plain water.

Instead of chemical laden wipes, use a tissue in a little water.  Change nappies frequently to keep the skin dry and allow nappy-free time to air the skin and prevent nappy rash.  Just make sure nappy-free time doesn't occur when on Grandma's favourite oriental rug- or when you are lifting your baby boy up and he's pointed straight at your face!!!


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