Is My Baby's Skincare Safe?
Needlessly exposing your child to health risks is every parent’s nightmare.
It’s a question every parent has asked themselves. And with good reason. You want to keep your precious little one’s skin soft and healthy. But you also want to protect them from potential harm - both immediate and long term.
We get it. We share your fears. And we believe in producing transparently safe and natural baby skincare products that you can trust and use with your children - without it keeping you up at night.
- What are the warning signs you may notice in your child that indicate a problem with their skincare products?
- How can you confidently say that the products you use on your child are safe?
- What are some of the most concerning ingredients you should avoid?
We’ve got all that and more for you. Read on.
Common Concerns with Baby Skincare
You use body wash, diaper cream, and moisturizer on your child to help them feel comfortable, safe, and clean. The issue arises when those same products cause irritation, redness, allergic reactions, and other negative side effects.
What cause these common concerns?
In most cases, an active ingredient in the product you’ve used triggers a skin reaction. This happens with adults as well, but because your baby is still developing and their skin is more sensitive, the effects are often more pronounced.
Plus, your little one isn’t able to reason out why they feel bad - they just know their skin is itchy, dry, irritated, or otherwise painful.
Another issue with many skincare products for babies are their messy formulas. Some ointments are thick, oily, and leave behind a layer of grease that active babies can manage to smear everywhere.
What would you do if your child reacts poorly to a specific skincare product?
Probably switch to a different, safe formula, right? But would you report the concern to the FDA? Most parents don’t, unless the reaction is especially severe.
According to an analysis of adverse side effects of baby care products reported to the FDA from 2004 to 2016, nearly half resulted in a health care visit. However, the researchers determined that “the Food and Drug Administration has little oversight of these products and relies on consumer-submitted adverse event reports,” which are not always made.
With that in mind, we strongly recommend you speak with your child’s pediatrician before you start using any baby skincare products - especially if they have already shown signs of sensitive skin. You can alleviate many concerns by choosing pediatrician and dermatologist tested products, like our entire line at Tiger Baby.
How to Identify Baby-Safe Skincare Products
One of the easiest ways to identify baby skincare products that are safe for your family is by looking for demonstrable claims that matter to you. While some claims can be made by any brand without any need to back it up, other these are only earned by the best quality baby skincare companies:
- The Leaping Bunny - Brands that are Leaping Bunny approved - including Tiger Baby - are not animal tested and do not use any ingredients or suppliers connected to animal testing. The complete requirements for approval are listed on their website.
- Dermatologist/Pedatrician Tested - This means that the product has been tested on human skin by a dermatologist and/or pediatrician and the formula has been found to be safe and tolerable for most people. Typically, this testing includes the repeated application of the product on skin to monitor for reactions by means of the Human Repeated Insult Patch test. This three phase test is usually administered over the course of six weeks. All Tiger Baby products are dermatologist and pediatrician tested.
Potentially Harmful Ingredients in Baby Skincare Products
Have you looked at the baby care bottles lately in your local store? You could get a headache reading labels, comparing ingredients, and trying to rule out every product with a potentially harmful chemical in it.
Feeling overwhelmed, some parents just give up and use whatever products are available. But is that the wise choice?
A 2018 report from the UK analyzed the ingredients of 438 baby products to see what, if any, potential allergens they contained. The results?
- 88% of the products reviewed contained at least one of their identified allergens.
- The most abundant compounds were parabens, fragrances, cetyl/steryl alcohol, methylisothiazolinone, sodium lauryl sulfate and lanolin alcohol.
- Products branded and marketed as “‘sensitive/gentle/organic/fragrance-free’ appeared to contain a greater number of reference allergens than those not marketed as such”
The evidence shows that the majority of baby care products contain skin irritating ingredients.
How can you identify and avoid the ingredients that are bad for your child’s skin? Start with this simple list of the harmful ingredients most common in today’s popular baby skincare products.
Sulfates are nearly ubiquitous in personal care products, including those made for babies. Most shampoos and body washes contain either sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate. Both are common irritants that can leave you child with itchy, red, dry skin after a bath.
Our products eschew sulfates in favor of skin safe alternatives, including:
- Sodium Methyl Oleoyl Taurate - a gentle cleanser derived in part from palm kernels and coconut. It’s natural, biodegradable, and milder than the sulfates in most product.
- Coco-Glucoside - a non-irritating, baby-safe surfactant that helps remove dirt and oil from the skin
You’ll find both - and zero sulfates - in our Baby Shampoo + Body Wash. Instead of a thick, heavily foaming formula made with irritating sulfates, it’s designed to be gentle, effective, and safe for bath time.
Few ingredients in your baby’s skincare products are as mysterious - or as potentially harmful - as fragrances.
Most brands don’t list the actual components of their perfumes.
So it’s hard to know what specific ingredients are in them and which may be causing irritation to your little one. You can use this guide from the FDA to help you avoid allergens masquerading as fragrant ingredients in your child’s skincare products. A few are known to cause rashes and even breathing problems in some children.
Because of these concerns, our lightly scented products never contain any artificial fragrances. Instead, they’re made with plant-based, natural ingredients that offer a pleasant scent without any irritating chemicals.
The dyes and coloring used in skincare products are regulated by the FDA in the US. But some mineral, plant, and animal based dyes don’t have to be certified for use in cosmetics and can slip through the cracks.
To avoid these concerns and put parents’ minds at ease, all Tiger Baby products are made with natural coloring ingredients. Our ingredients lists are clear, complete, and transparent so you know they will be safe for your child.
These preservatives are easily absorbed into the skin and are known to be irritants and allergens for many people. And studies suggest that long term exposure to parabens over a lifetime can affect metabolism and hormone regulation.
Avoiding early use of parabens is in your child's best interests.
Fortunately, there are many safe alternatives to parabens - such as sodium benzoate - that help preserve products without becoming a risk to you or your child’s health.
These chemicals have been used in cosmetics for many years as plasticizers, flexibility boosters, and solvents. But according to a study from the American Academy of Pediatrics, “infant exposure to lotion, powder, and shampoo were significantly associated with increased urinary concentrations” of phthalates.
Of greater concern for new parents, “this association was strongest in young infants, who may be more vulnerable to developmental and reproductive toxicity of phthalates” because of their still developing metabolic system.
Fortunately, the FDA states that “the use of phthalates in cosmetics intended for people of all ages, including infants and children, has decreased considerably since our surveys began in 2004.” Still, concerned parents will want to make sure their baby’s products don’t contain any.
Want to Know More?
For an even deeper dive into the ingredients we avoid and their potential to put your child at risk, read our post: No-No Ingredients We Avoid and Why