Our Baby Class

Thursday, June 20, 2013

It's a Wash

Growing up, I helped my older siblings take care of my nieces and nephews.  I remember the exact scent of Johnson's Baby Shampoo. I loved it so much that I used it myself, long after baby-hood.  When I brought my own daughter home from the hospital, the hospital sent me home with a sample size bottle. I looked at that tiny bottle, filled with amber liquid, and felt nostalgia wash over me.

Then I looked at the ingredients on the bottle produced by the brand "new mothers" have trusted for "more than one hundred years."

Here they are:
Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, Sodium Trideceth Sulfate, PEG-150 Distearate, Fragrance, Polyquaternium-10, Tetrasodium EDTA, Quaternium-15, Citric Acid, Yellow 10 and Orange 4. May also contain: Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide.

Water is harmless enough.  But the second ingredients, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, was voted "Allergen of the Year" by the American Contact Dermatitis Society in 2004. PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate is also an allergen. PEG-150 Distearate can contain impurities linked to an increased risk of cancer.  According to Cosmetics Info, PEGs should not be used on broken or irritated skin.  Tetrasodium EDTA is listed as one of the "Top Five Chemicals to Avoid" on Bubbleandbee.com.  It's made from known carcinogens, including formaldehyde, and easily penetrates the skin.  If you're looking for formaldehyde, Quaternium-15 may also be for you. It's also a known allergen, especially on infants' skin. "Fragrance" seems harmless enough, except that companies are not required to name which of more than 3,000 chemicals could be responsible for the fragrance.  According to the Environmental Working Group, one in twenty of these ingredients rates a score designating it as a "high hazard." 

Nostalgia or not, I did not feel comfortable putting these ingredients on my daughter's soft, sensitive skin.  Instead, I use Burts' Bees Shampoo and Wash for babies, rated a 2, or low hazard, by the Environmental Working Group. It's still not perfect, but even the unidentified fragrance is guaranteed to be free of common toxins, such as phthalates, parabens, sulfates, and petrochemicals.  All but one ingredient have a low hazard rating, most of zero or one.  Limonene is the sole exception, a moderate risk score of six. 

Here are the ingredients, in comparison:
aqua (water, eau), decyl glucoside, coco-betaine, lauryl glucoside, sucrose laurate, glycerin, parfum (fragrance), betaine, sodium cocoyl hydrolyzed soy protein, coco-glucoside, glyceryl oleate, sodium chloride, xanthan gum, glucose, citric acid, glucose oxidase, lactoperoxidase, limonene.

What do you use for cleaning your children? Or, for that matter, what do you use for cleaning your own body?  Later, we'll be talking about shampoo bars.  

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1 comment:

  1. We use Dr. Bronner's castile soaps. They have a baby mild version with no scent. We also have the citrus and tea tree versions. We buy the 32oz bottles from Amazon. You can dilute them so they're very economical.