Have you ever wondered if your child really needs all the special baby products that you can find at your local shops? They are advertised as being manufactured especially for your baby’s gentle skin, so you might feel inclined to purchase them.
The question that gets asked frequently by a lot of concerned parents is: does my baby really need soap and shampoo?
Your baby’s skin is a natural bacteria barrier
To be able to answer the question above, we first need to take a look at the protective role of your baby’s skin. The skin works as a barrier to protect your child from microorganisms such as harmful bacteria and viruses from the outside world.
How does it do that? The skin has its own types of good bacteria, a self-protection system called beneficial bacteria that fights the bad bacteria.
A healthy skin is an important part of a baby’s immune system, as it offers protection against toxins, sun radiation and it can even heal faster. But we can easily damage our skin’s beneficial bacteria by using inappropriate products.
It is important to consider carefully the products you use on your baby's skin; most of the time they can do more damage than good.
The problem with baby products
Most of us use antibacterial soaps, body lotions and other such toiletries on ourselves and on our babies. What is the problem with these products?
In the US, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has been in a 40-year lawsuit to interdict the usage of 19 chemicals often used in soaps and shampoos. Their aim is to inform people on “The Dirt on Antibacterial Soaps”: the toiletries containing toxic chemicals like triclosan and triclocarban.
Studies show that they can have a damaging influence not only on the skin but on the hormonal system as well, disturbing the thyroid’s function in the regulation of testosterone and estrogen. These effects cause early puberty, poor sperm health, infertility and obesity. The chemicals also intensify allergies and can lead to learning impairments.
What can you do to protect your baby’s health? How can you identify these harmful products?
Healthy ways to take care of your baby’s skin
Even with so many problematic products out there, you still have plenty of ways to ensure the health of your and your baby’s skin.
Here are a few simple solutions you can try:
1. Help your baby’s skin externally
Try to go for natural alternatives when choosing products for you and your baby.
- Spend some time reading the product labels before buying
- Always read the list of ingredients on the products you want to buy
- If the bottle says it is “gentle and safe”, don’t take it for granted
The safety of toiletries and baby products come from the ingredients from which they are made. It’s a good idea to always read the labels carefully.
2. Help your baby’s skin from within
The health of your baby’s skin depends on their nutrition. Strengthening the whole body’s immune system has a powerful influence on the skin’s health as well.
Your baby receives a lot of their nutrients through breast milk or formula. If you are breast feeding, one great way to make sure your baby receives the best nutrients is by taking care of your body through a balanced diet and making sure you have a healthy skin care routine.
Refined sugars are shown to increase insulin production and in turn increase the production of hormones called androgens. Increased androgen levels can cause sebaceous glands in the skin to produce and secrete more oils, which can get trapped in pores, causing pimples.
A healthy and balanced diet can have a great influence not only on your body but on your baby’s as well. Taking care of you means taking care of your baby!
Your baby’s skin works as a barrier to the outside world to protect their health. Another important function is to eliminate toxins, regulate the body’s temperature and incorporate vitamin D.
The skin is our largest organ. Its health is influenced by the products we put on it, as well as by our diet. Having a balanced diet and choosing natural toiletries can ensure your baby has a healthy, glowing skin.
- The Dirt on Antibacterial Soaps
- F.D.A. Bans Sale of Many Antibacterial Soaps, Saying Risks Outweigh Benefits
About Timea West ND BHom BNat DNut Nutrition Strategist, Facilitator
Timea holds Bachelor degrees in Naturopathic and Homeopathic medicine. For the past decade she has been in clinical practice in Australia and the UK and is currently engaged in numerous aspects of of the health industry.