Safe Baby Lotion Guide – What Toxic Ingredients To Avoid In Baby Lotions

Baby Lotion

What toxic ingredients should you avoid in baby lotions?

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Baby lotion is something you put on directly to baby’s delicate skin. Skin is our biggest organ. What we apply topically on our skin is absorbed into our bloodstream. Not only that, unlike soap or body wash, lotion is on your body all day rather than being washed off. Therefore, there is more exposure to chemicals when we put on lotion. In addition, baby’s skin is thinner and has a higher pH than adult skin.  It also has less moisturizing factor than adult skin. It loses water faster and is more vulnerable to toxic chemicals. Therefore, choosing the lotion that is sensitive to delicate baby’s skin is very important.

However, many baby lotions have toxic chemicals in them. For example, Aveeno Baby Calming Comfort Lotion, Lavender & Vanilla contains fragrance as one of its ingredients. Fragrance includes numerous synthetic chemicals that a manufacturer does not have to disclose. Often, fragrance includes phthalates. (Frgrance EWG’s Skin Deep Score: 8 – hazard score 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest) It also has benzyl alcohol which is an organ system toxicant (non-reproductive). Benzyl alcohol also has been associated with contact allergy. (Benzyl alcohol EWG’s Skin Deep Score: 5) It is easy to think of this lotion as a good baby lotion since Aveeno is a well known, successful company that has been making baby products for a long time.

Companies use preservatives, penetration enhancers or fragrances to make baby lotion function well. However, some of these synthetic chemicals are harmful to your baby and they should be avoided if possible. The average age for an American girl to get her period was 16 to 17 in the past but now it is less than 13 due to the toxic chemicals from plastics such as phthalates. Toxic chemical such as phthalates interferes with the endocrine system which is the body’s system of glands and hormones. (Puberty Comes Earlier and Earlier For Girls.) There are plastics everywhere in our environment for our baby to be affected. Therefore, baby should be protected from toxic chemicals whenever possible. I feel baby lotion is one item that you should read the ingredients carefully. I have listed toxic ingredients to avoid in baby lotions below.

 

Ingredients To Avoid In Baby Lotions

1,4-dioxane (EWG’s Skin Deep Score: 8)

1,4-dioxane is not an ingredient. It is formed when ethylene oxide, a known breast carcinogen, is added to other chemicals. Ethylene oxide is added to other chemicals to make the chemical less harsh on the skin. Sodium laureth sulfate (SLS), PEG compounds (PEGs), chemicals that include the clauses xynol, ceteareth, oleth, laureth, myreth can be contaminated by 1,4 dioxane. Therefore, when you see Sodium laureth sulfate (SLS), PEG compounds (PEGs), chemicals that include the clauses xynol, ceteareth, oleth, laureth, myreth in baby lotion’s ingredient list, there is a high chance that the chemical is contaminated by 1,4-dioxane. 1,4-dioxane  is a href=”https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/726331/1%2C4-DIOXANE/#.WgbCLmhSzIU” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>possible human carcinogen and known human respiratory toxicant. There is also high concerns of organ system toxicity.

 

Nitrosamines (EWG’s Skin Deep Score: 6)

Nitrosamines are not ingredients but they are formed from reactions of chemical mixtures in products . The wetting agents triethanolamine (TEA), monoethanolamine (MEA), and diethanolamine (DEA) indicate possible nitrosamines in the product. Nitrosamines are banned to use in cosmetics in Canada. They are possible human carcinogen. They also can cause endocrine disruption or organ system toxicity.

 

Petrolatum (EWG’s Skin Deep Score: 4 but PAHs’s Score is 9)

Almost 40% of baby lotions contain petrolatum. Petrolatum can be listed as Petrolatum, Petroleum Jelly, Paraffin Oil, Mineral Oil and White Petrolatum.  (White Petrolatum is refined and safer for use but still has PAHs contamination concerns.) Petrolatum is usually contaminated with toxic chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a group of more than 100 different chemicals that are formed from burning coal, gas, oil, tobacco, wood or other organic substances. It is linked to cancer and it may also affect the eyes, kidneys, and liver.

 

Fragrance (EWG’s Skin Deep Score: 8 )

Fragrance mixes often contain many synthetic chemicals including phthalates. Phthalates are known to be endocrine disruptors. Endocrine disruptors interfere with our endocrine system and can cause lowered fertility and an increased incidence of endometriosis, and some cancers. However, fragrance can be listed as just ‘fragrance’ and phthalates don’t have to be listed on the baby lotion as an ingredient. Manufacturers do not have to disclose fragrance or perfume (or parfum) ingredients since ingredients can be considered as a trade secret. Therefore, as a consumer, you don’t know what synthetic chemicals have been added to fragrance mixes. Phthalate is just one ingredient that is commonly used for fragrance. The phthalate commonly used in fragrance products is diethyl phthalate.

One thing you should know about scents is that ‘Fragrance-free’ doesn’t mean the product doesn’t have a smell. It just means fragrance wasn’t used in the product but it may have been scented with other additives such as essential oils or fruit/flower distillate waters. ‘Fragrance-free’ won’t have tons of chemicals including phthalates so it is a good thing.  However, if you are allergic to fragrance, it is possible that you can get allergy reactions to essential oils as well. Therefore, if you have an allergy, keep in mind that there may be other scent added to the product when you see ‘fragrance-free’. On the other hand, ‘unscented’ doesn’t mean toxic chemicals are not used and it is safe. Usually unscented products use fragrance agents to mask other smells. Typically, these masking fragrance agents are made of phthalates. Therefore, if you are choosing between the two, ‘fragrance-free’ will be the one that you want.

 

Quaternium-15 (EWG’s Skin Deep Score: 8)

Quaternium-15 is used as a preservative. It is a formaldehyde releasing chemical. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and also a known human skin sensitizer toxicant or allergen. In addition, there are high concerns of  Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs). 

 

DMDM hydantoin (EWG’s Skin Deep Score: 7)

DMDM hydantoin is an antimicrobial agent. It is a formaldehyde releasing chemical.  Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and also known human immune toxicant and allergen. In addition, there is high concerns of  Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs). 

 

Parabens  (EWG’s Skin Deep Score: 1 – 7 depending on which paraben )

Parabens are used as preservatives in many cosmetic products  to stop the growth of fungus and bacteria.  They can be absorbed through skin. They mimic estrogen and disrupt hormone function. They have been detected in breast cancer tissues so there is a concern that they may be linked to breast cancer. They can be listed as ethylparaben, methylparaben, butylparaben, propylparaben, and isobutylparaben. ( Parabens.)

 

Phenoxyethanol (EWG’s Skin Deep Score: 4)

Phenoxyethanol is used as a preservative. There are high concerns of Irritation of skin, eyes, or lungs. There is also a concern of immune system toxicity with phenoxyethanol. However, there is limited evidence to prove immune system toxicity.

 

FD&C Colors (EWG’s Skin Deep score depends on the color. FD&C Red 17 is 5, for example.)

Artificial color is used to make a lotion look colorful so it is appealing. FD&C dyes are made from petroleum. International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) did the study and found that FD & C blue #1 caused cancer in rats. Also, some studies have found that FD & C Blue Dyes 1 & 2 are linked to behavioral, learning and health problems. FD & C color dyes can also cause allergic reactions, nausea, asthma attacks,  immune system tumors, urinary bladder tumors, kidney tumors, brain tumors, organ damage, birth defect, etc. Almost all dyes cause negative health effects and many are linked to cancer. (Adverse Effects of “inactive” ingredients.)

 

Propylene glycol  (EWG’s Skin Deep score of 3)

Propylene glycol is a form of mineral oil and it is petroleum-based.  It is used as a a penetration enhancer. A penetration enhancer helps other ingredients penetrate more deeply into skin. Therefore, chemicals can get rapidly absorbed by the skin including toxic ingredients. Propylene glycol can also enter the body by breathing air that contains it.  It is dangerous for children under 4 years old, pregnant women or people with kidney dysfunction. They are not able to eliminate propylene glycol in the body so it will be harmful to their health. Propylene glycol also causes allergic reactions or skin irritation. It can be also listed as methyl glycol, 1,2-dihydroxypropane, 1,2-propanediol, and trimethyl glycol.  (read Darkside of Propylene Glycol and Propylene Glycol: The Complicated Additive With Potentially Dangerous Side Effects.)

 

Mineral oil (EWG’s Skin Deep Score: 1-3 depends on the usage )

Mineral oil is derived from petroleum. Unpurified mineral oil has contaminants that can cause cancer. Purified mineral oil has not been linked to cancer but scientists said there are concerns of cancer. There is a strong evidence of mineral oil being a human immune and respiratory toxicant or allergen. Mineral oil also clogs pores. (3 Key Reasons To Avoid Mineral Oil)

 

Ingredients In Baby Lotions Examples

Organic Baby Lotion – Earth Mama Angel Baby Lotion

Earth Mama Angel Baby Lotion is made without synthetic fragrance, phthalates or parabens and no petroleum products, mineral oil, Vitamin E or dyes. It is the first US personal care product certified to the NSF/ANSI 305 Standard for Personal Care Products Containing Organic Ingredients. It is formulated by a nurse and herbalist, certified by Oregon Tilth. It is naturally vegan and gluten-free. All of this lotion’s ingredients are rated ‘1’ by EWG’s Skin Deep.

EWGs Skin Deep Score: 1

Ingredients: Aloe barbadensis (organic aloe) leaf juice extract, Olea europaea (organic olive) oil, Aspalathus linearis (organic rooibos) extract, Calendula officinalis (organic calendula)flower extract, Olivoyl hydrolyzed oat protein, Cetearyl alcohol, Glyceryl oleate, Glyceryl stearate, Kosher vegetable glycerin, Vanilla planifolia (organic vanilla) fruit extract, Butyrospermum parkii (organic shea) butter, Citrus sinensis (organic sweet orange), Xanthan gum

 

Toxic Ingredients In This Baby Lotion: None. All of this lotion’s ingredients are rated ‘1’ by EWG’s Skin Deep.

More Info

Burt’s Bees Original Nourishing Baby Lotion

Burt’s Bees Original Nourishing Baby Lotion has natural ingredients like buttermilk, sheaf butter and sunflower seed oil. It also has no parabens, phthalates, or petrolatum. However, it still has some toxic ingredients in it. One of its ingredients parfum (fragrance. Parfum (fragrance) is made of many different synthetic chemicals that a manufacturer is not required to disclose.

 

EWGs Skin Deep Score: 5

Ingredients: aqua (water, eau), glycerin, decyl cocoate, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, cera alba (beeswax, cire d’abielle), butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter, polyglyceryl-3 stearate, glyceryl stearate citrate, cetyl alcohol, butyris lac (buttermilk powder, babeurre en poudre), cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, vitis vinifera (grape) seed oil, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, chamomila recutita (matricaria) flower extract, calendula officinalis flower extract, centaurea cyanus flower extract, tilia cordata flower extract, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, anthemis nobilis flower extract, hypericum perforatum extract, parfum (fragrance), tocopherol, sucrose stearate, xanthan gum, glycine soja (soybean) oil, canola oil (huile de colza), lactic acid, *citric acid, glucose, sodium chloride, sodium stearoyl lactylate, *sodium benzoate, magnesium aluminum silicate, phenoxyethanol, glucose oxidase, lactoperoxidase, limonene.

Toxic Ingredients In This Lotion:

  • Parfum (Fragrance) –  (EWG’s Skin Deep score of 8) 

Perfume has the high hazard score of 8 by EWG’s Skin Deep. (hazard score 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest) Fragrance mixes often contain many synthetic chemicals including phthalates. However, fragrance can be listed as just ‘fragrance’ and phthalates don’t have to be listed on the baby wipes as an ingredient. Manufacturers do not have to disclose fragrance or perfume (or parfum) ingredients since ingredients can be considered as a trade secret. Therefore, as a consumer, you don’t know what synthetic chemicals have been added to fragrance mixes. Phthalate is just one ingredient that is commonly used for fragrance. Although Burt’s Bees says that this lotion has no phthalates, there are other synthetic chemicals that are included with parfum and we wouldn’t know what they are. Parfum (Fragrance) is a known human immune system toxicant or allergen.

  • Lactic Acid (EWG’s Skin Deep score of 4) 

Lactic acid may be animal-derived according to PETA. Lactic acid is often used as an exfoliant. It has concerns of irritation of skin, eyes or lungs.

  • Sodium Benzoate (EWG’s Skin Deep score of 3)

Sodium Benzoate is one ingredient that has a sense organ toxicity (non-reproductive) concern. However, this concern is marked low by EWG’s Skin Deep since there are limited evidence of organ system toxicity. On the other hand, there are people who are against using this chemical in products. In the article, This Is Why Sodium Benzoate Is So Scaryit states that the combination of sodium benzoate and citric acid and/or ascorbic acid (vitamin C) form benzene, a cancer-causing chemical. Burt’s Bees Original Nourishing Baby Lotion has both citric acid and sodium benzoate in the ingredients. (marked with * and in bold)

  • Phenoxyethanol (EWG’s Skin Deep score of 4)

Phenoxyethanol is used as a preservative. There are high concerns of Irritation of skin, eyes, or lungs. There is also a concern of immune system toxicity with phenoxyethanol. However, there is limited evidence to prove immune system toxicity.

  • Limonene (EWG’s Skin Deep score of 6)

Limonene is used as a scent. It is from the peels of citrus fruits or other plants. It has high concerns of  Irritation of skin, eyes, or lungs. Limonene itself is not a dangerous chemical. However, when it is exposed to sunlight and air, it turns into skin and respiratory irritants and sensitizers. Also, one study done by Prof Alastair Lewis of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science at the University of York showed that limonene’s exposure to ozone in the air, it produced formaldehyde which is a carcinogen. (Is There A Danger From scented products?)

More Info

 

Final Thoughts

All of bad ingredients I listed are highly toxic and harmful to a baby. Baby’s skin is thinner than adults’ and more susceptible to damage from toxic chemicals. Like Nicotine patch we put on adults, what we put on our baby’s skin is absorbed into her bloodstream. Most of these toxic chemicals can cause serious health effects such as cancer, organ system toxicity, irritation of skin, eyes or lungs, allergies, etc. Therefore, it is necessary to read ingredients first before buying a baby lotion. The bad ingredients that I listed above should be avoided. There are baby lotions that only use natural or organic ingredients instead of synthetic chemicals. I feel a lot safer for my baby to put on organic ingredients such as organic avocado oil or organic shea butter instead of putting on toxic ingredients such as petroleum jelly or mineral oil.

 

If you are looking for an organic baby lotion, read my next post, ‘Best Organic Baby Lotion – Get A Non-Toxic Baby Lotion For Your Baby!

WHAT DO YOU THINK? PLEASE LEAVE ME A COMMENT!  😀

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