12.22.2009

What's in your baby's shampoo?

Your skin is the largest organ that you have. It's the gateway to every other organ in your body. After having been diagnosed with skin cancer this past May I've been more aware of what I am putting on my skin, and I won't put anything on my baby that I wouldn't use myself.
It's hard to find all natural products these days. A lot of products are labeled natural which can throw people off. Natural doesn't mean organic, and there are plenty of chemicals that are natural but still harmful. It's extremely important to read labels and pay attention to what is in the products you use on yourself or your baby. There are a few ingredients that I really want to focus on, the first one is PARABENS. Parabens are endocrine disruptors and are absorbed through your skin and hair follicles. Methyl, propyl, butyl and ethyl (alkyl-p-hydroxybenzoates) parabens displayed estrogenic activity in several tests. This means these chemicals mimic your bodies own hormones. These chemicals can also pass through breast milk.  Some studies have linked parabens to breast cancer and reproductive issues.
Next up we have SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE and SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE. These are skin and eye irritants at low doses, and at high doses they are known to cause cancer and organ system toxicity. Some other names that these ingredients go by are Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate, Sulfuric Acid, Monododecyl Ester, Sodium Salt, Sodium Salt Sulfuric Acid, Monododecyl Ester, Monododecyl Ester Sodium Salt Sulfuric Acid, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Dodecyl Sulphate, and Sulfuric Acid Monododecyl Ester Sodium Salt.
PHTHALATES are also endocrine disruptors and are linked to infertility, neurological damage, and of course the big C word, cancer. These ingredients are known technically as dialkyl or alkyl aryl esters of 1,2-benzenedicarboxylic acid. If you are pregnant it's extremely advisable to stay away from this toxic ingredient because it has been shown to have adverse affects on the genitals of male children.
Unfortunately a lot of cosmetics and body products are made in the same factories that they make stuff like gas for you car. This is how PETROLEUM BYPRODUCTS are born. Petroleum byproducts have been linked to cancer. Ingredients to watch out for are Petrolatum, Petroleum Distillates, Petroleum Wax, Petroleum Naphtha, and 2-Nitro-P-Phenylenediamine. Finally, the last ingredient to watch out for is Fragrance. Almost all fragranced cosmetics contain neurotoxic solvents. That doesn't mean you have to buy products that don't have any scent though, look for items that contain essential oils (EO's), and keep in mind that unscented doesn't mean there is no fragrance.

Someone recently gave me some Johnson & Johnson products and they are chock full of chemicals including methyl, ethyl, and propyl -paraben. Using Skin Deep's Cosmetic Database I looked up their 'bedtime lotion' and it scored a 7 (on a scale of 0 - 10 with 0 being the safest). Several of the ingredients are restricted for use in cosmetics in different countries and several of the ingredients are linked to developmental/reproductive toxicity, allergies/immunotoxicity, neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption, organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), enhanced skin absorption, contamination concerns, occupational hazards, and biochemical or cellular level changes. Doesn't sound very good, does it?

Do yourself and your baby a favor and read those labels! Utilize the Skin Deep Cosmetic Database too, it's a wonderful resource!

1 comment:

Lindsey said...

I knoooow, I was totally shocked when I found out the baby products weren't as safe and gentle as I thought. I read somewhere that the only reason baby shampoo is "tear free" is because they put something in it that numbs the pain. Um, okay - that's scary.

It was the diaper cream I first looked up at cosmeticsdatabase.com and was surprised to see all the bad ingredients! My latest change was from regular baby wipes to a natural version. A cheap/natural version: soft paper towels sprayed with a mixture of water, olive oil, and essential oils especially made for baby. lol It's working so much better and my baby isn't fussing at diaper changes anymore! I feel bad that I used the other ones so long before this. Oh well, live and learn!

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