Yes, will the worries ever cease… it seems not, because after researching new bath products for our kids I not only discovered some potential candidates, but also reasons to worry.
It seems there are some serious, and harmful, chemical “monsters” lurking in far too many children’s bath products. This includes the most common products we all used on our babies (and often continue to use) – Johnson & Johnson, Gerber, Baby Magic and L’Oreal – all are major offenders.
And the two scariest ingredients, you ask? They are 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde (doesn’t THAT one conjure up some horrible images?). Both are known carcinogens and unbelievably harsh on the skin, especially for young children.
1,4-dioxane is common in personal care products as a foaming agent. Of course the ingredients won’t actually list it under this name, so avoid ingredients called sodium laureth sulfate, PEG-100 stearate, polyethylene, myreth, oleth and ceteareth-20.
Formaldehyde comes into play when common preservatives (like parabens) used in the bath products release formaldehyde but, of course, this won’t be on the ingredients list either! Instead, look for and avoid names like quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea and diazolidinyl urea.
It’s absolutely mind boggling. Sometimes I truly don’t know what to look for and what to avoid, because it seems we need a chemistry degree to have the ability to read between the lines (and I think manufacturers count on that)!
I have heard good things about both Gaia and Weleda, as well as the line of Burt’s Bees Baby (often much easier to find at a local retailer) but we’re currently giving Organix South TheraNeem a try! The kid’s Shampoo & Bodywash and Conditioner are in use and (as far as my “non-chemistry-degreed-self” can decipher!) they don’t contain any of these scary ingredients! I also find it fairly interesting that they seems to work wonderfully (and make our kids smell fabulously citrus-y) but they don’t foam-up as much as the common brands and aren’t nearly as thick… hmmm? A likely side effect of what happens when you remove some of the bad stuff!
I know it will take extra effort, but there are plenty of products out there that are safer options. If you have something you recommend, please share!
But whatever you do, don’t settle for the old stand-bys just because they’re easy to find and an ad campaign and some slick marketer appealed to your emotional side to sell a product. Believe me, I used to be one of “them” and things aren’t always as they seem.