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No-No Ingredients We Avoid and Why

No-No Ingredients We Avoid and Why

At Tiger Baby, we believe that the health and safety of you and your little cub are truly non-negotiable, and that you should always feel empowered to make the safest purchases for you and your loved ones.

That's why we're committed to providing the most transparent, high-quality, and efficacious products on the market. Here's a list of chemicals and materials that Tiger Baby doesn't include and why they didn't make the cut. 


Sulfates -- like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) -- are surfactants, or detergents (not unlike dish detergent) that are used to create a lather and remove dirt, sebum, or other residues from surfaces.

The problem? They're way too harsh! Think about it -- this is essentially the same stuff that you use for your laundry and dishes. So, while it's excellent at cleaning away any junk, it's just too harsh for human skin -- especially baby skin! As a result, it's known to cause:

  • Skin irritation or acne
  • Canker sores
  • Stripping of the skin's natural oils
  • Eye damage

What's more, SLES is often also contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a byproduct of a petrochemical process that's known to cause breathing issues.

No, thank you.


At this point, you've probably already heard that parabens are a big no-no ingredient -- but you may not truly understand what they are or why they're so bad.

Parabens -- otherwise known as methylparabens, propylparabens, butylparabens, and ethylparabens -- are a family of preservatives that are frequently incorporated into ingredients to extend their shelf life and prevent the growth of mold or bacteria.

The problem? According to the European Commission's Scientific Committee on Consumer Products, longer chain parabens like propyl and butyl paraben - along with their branched counterparts, isopropyl and isobutylparabens - may disrupt the endocrine system and cause reproductive and developmental disorders, especially if used in higher-than-approved quantities. Even the FDA has acknowledged studies linking parabens to conditions like:

  • Breast cancer
  • Skin cancer
  • Decreased sperm count


Phthalates are “plasticizing ingredients” that are used to make fragrances stick to the skin or to make certain products more pliable when handled.

This class of ingredients is a known endocrine disruptor, and there are some studies that show it can cause birth defects. That's why congress has banned many types of phthalates from children's products, and why we think they should be avoided whenever possible.

Synthetic Fragrances

Fragrance isn't inherently bad, and there are many good-for-your-skin ingredients that naturally contain a little bit of fragrance (think rose oil and cucumber). That said, there are a few concerns to keep in mind when you're buying products with fragrance in them.

First, there are problems with natural fragrance. Natural fragrance is always created by some kind of “volatile reaction.” Well, if you apply something that's going through a chemical reaction to your skin, it's likely to cause irritation, right? That's why fragrance is one of the most common skin irritants, often causing sensitization or other negative reactions. This is even worse when it comes to baby.

Then there are “synthetic fragrances.” Cosmetic companies often use the term “fragrance” as a blanket term when they don't want to specify the chemicals that are actually in their products. What's more, this term usually refers to engineered scents or flavoring agents that contain any combination of 3,000-plus stock chemical ingredients, including hormone disruptors, allergens, and carcinogens. 

And these formulas are protected under the federal law's classification of trade secrets -- that's why the companies don't have to tell you what's really in there.

These should absolutely be avoided in all personal products.


Petrolatum, or petroleum jelly, is actually completely non-toxic when it's properly refined. The problem, though, is that it's often contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs.

PAHs are carcinogens and directly linked to cancer formation. No thank you. 


Phenoxyethanol is a preservative and stabilizer used in cosmetics, perfumes, and soaps. In some studies, phenoxyethanol has been linked to allergic reaction, as well as acute nervous system effects, particularly in infants.

Mineral Oil

Derived from petroleum, mineral oil is an ultra-refined, purified oil that's often used to lock moisture into the skin and help products feel silky smooth when applied. And it gets the job done, working as an effective occlusive on the skin.

That said, the molecule size of mineral oil is very large, which means that it can clog pores and cause irritation, particularly for babies or adults with sensitive skin.


Retinol, or vitamin A, is often lauded as the ultimate anti-aging, anti-wrinkle ingredient. While it can certainly get the job done, though, retinol is super volatile, and it can cause a slew of adverse reactions. In some studies, it's even been shown to damage DNA and speed up the growth of tumors when exposed to sunlight.

Yes, you could wear hats and sunscreen to try to prevent this from happening, but it's not something we want you to worry about.


For years, talc -- a super soft, natural mineral -- was a staple in every new mom's medicine cabinet and lauded for its ability to absorb moisture and stave off diaper rash. Since then, though, talc has been established as a carcinogen (Johnson & Johnson had to pay damages to the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer after using talc regularly). It's also been shown to cause skin irritation and respiratory inflammation when inhaled.

Polyethylene Glycol (PEGs)

PEGs are often used as thickeners, softeners, solvents, and moisture-carriers. While they're not inherently toxic, the problem is that they're frequently contaminated with ethylene oxide (a known carcinogen that easily penetrates the skin) and 1,4-dioxane (which causes respiratory problems and is banned in Canada).

Additionally, PEG beads -- the tiny beads used in many scrubs --  go right through our sewage systems into waterways, where they are often consumed by marine animals.


A common sunscreen ingredient, oxybenzone works by absorbing UV rays. That said, it's shown to act like estrongen in the body, leading to reproductive issues like endometriosis or altered sperm count. What's more, it's known to cause:

  • Skin irritation
  • Sensitization
  • Hormone disruption
  • Skin allergies
  • Harm to coral reefs

Here's to happy, healthy, irritation-free skin for you and your little cub.