Our baby's skin is precious. We want to nurture it in the best way possible. Baby's are very sensitive to chemicals in skin care products, their growing bodies are much more effected by toxins than adult bodies are.
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), “infants up to age 2 are, on average, 10 times more vulnerable to carcinogenic chemicals than adults, and from age 2 to 15 they are 3 times more vulnerable to carcinogens than adults. Before the age of 2 babies have accumulated 50% of their life-time cancer risk.”
In this guide you will learn what ingredients to avoid, what ingredients are good, and what we think are the best products.
Disclosure: There are some affiliate links below and we may receive commissions for purchases made through links in this post, but these are all products we highly recommend. We won't put anything on this page that we haven't verified and/or personally used.
Ingredients to Avoid
- Mineral Oil - Also labeled as petrolatum, paraffinum, parrafinum liquididum. Mineral oil is a cheap byproduct of petroleum processing and acts as a plastic wrap on the skin, inhibiting the skin’s ability to release toxins.
- Fragrance - A catch-all term for thousands of different chemicals - most of which are made of coal- and petroleum-derived synthetic chemicals.
- Propylene Glycol - A penetration enhancer. Look for PEG- or PPG- followed by a number. The lower the number, the easier the compound absorbs into the skin.
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate - Watch out for SLS, SLES, sodium dodecyl sulfate, sodium PEG lauryl sulfate. A synthetic foaming a agent that is a known irritant.
- Parabens - Look for ethylparaben, butylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, other ingredients ending in –paraben. Used as preservatives in products, parabens may disrupt hormones. Beacuse a baby's endocrine system is still developing, it is best to avoid these.
- 1,4-dioxane - A by-product of a manufacturing process called ethoxylation. This cancer-inducing chemical will not be listed on the label because it is considered a "contaminant". Ingredients that are often contaminated are: PEG's, Sodium Sulfates, and chemicals that end with an "-eth"
- Formaldehyde - Chemicals that release formaldehyde (a known carcinogen) are often added to cosmetics. Avoid DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, ronopol (2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol ), 5-bromo-5-nitro-1,3-dioxane, quaternium-15, and hydroxymethylglycinate.
- Nitrosamines - Carcinogens that can cause contact dermatitis. Avoid cocamide diethanolamine (DEA), triethanolamine (TEA), and monoethanolamine (MEA).
- Talc - Carcinogenic when inhaled.
This list is just a small selection of natural ingredients that are great for baby skin.
- Plant Butters - Shea butter, cocoa butter, mango butter, murumuru butter.
- Vegetable Oils - Jojoba oil, avocado oil, apricot kernel oil, grapeseed oil, and many others.
- Essential Oils - Some baby safe essential oils include: chamomile, steam distilled lemon, lavender, and dill.
- Safer Foaming Agents - Decyl Glucoside, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Sodium Lauryl Sulphoacetate, and Cocamidopropyl Betaine.
Best Organic Baby Products
Shampoos frequently contain harsh detergents, synthetic fragrances, and irritating ingredients. "Tear-free" shampoos are made with a pH the same as baby's eyes so they won't sting, but they can be irritating to the skin and scalp. It is better to buy a shampoo with a neutral pH and just be careful to avoid the eye area.
This product is only really necessary of you have a baby with lots of hair.
An excellent home remedy for cradle cap is to massage the scalp with olive oil and leave on for an hour, then comb with a fine toothed comb.
Lotions and Creams
You can reduce the need for lotions and creams on your baby's skin by not using strong soaps and washes that strip the natural oils from your baby's skin.
Most conventional baby oils are made with mineral oil and fragrance. You can make a homemade body oil for babies using a blend or a single oil consisting of safflower, grapeseed, coconut, sweet almond, apricot kernel, sesame, or jojoba oil.
Castile soap is gentle, moisturizing, and safe for babies sensitive skin. Be careful to avoid the eye area, as this type of soap can sting them. Wash babies face with just a wash cloth and water. Use a drop of soap on a washcloth for the body.
Potentially harmful parabens, fragrance, propylene glycol, sodium hydroxide, and alcohol are just a few of the toxic ingredients commonly found in baby wipes, even the ones labeled "gentle". It is better to make your own.
How to make you own diaper wipes:
- At home use a cotton wash cloth and soap.
- When going out, put cotton wash cloths moistened with water and a non-toxic liquid soap in a jar or plastic bag. Bring another container for used cloths.
- Use a container with a tight fitting lid and fill it with cotton pads (ones for removing makeup) or squares of flannel. Fill the container with warm water and add a few squirts of vegetable oil. Keep the lid closed until you need a wipe. Soiled cloths can be washed in the washing machine.
Bubble baths can be irritating to the skin and genitals, better to use toys for bath play. If you must use bubble bath, you can use your non-toxic baby shampoo or buy one of our recommended products.
Dealing with a diaper rash is no fun. I used to apply diaper cream every time I changed my baby, to help prevent a diaper rash. The best ways to naturally deal with diaper rash are:
- Let your babies bum get some air, leave the diaper off for bits of time.
- Use a powder to absorb moisture. Rice powder, cornstarch (non-gmo), or arrowroot powder work well.
- Use an organic vegetable oil or plant butter in place of a pre-made diaper cream.
Powders should be used with caution, they can become airborne and irritate the respiratory system. Talc is a naturally occurring mineral which is carcinogenic when inhaled. Talcum powder is reported to cause coughing, vomiting, and even pneumonia.
An easy at-home alternative is rice powder, cornstarch (non-gmo), or arrowroot powder.
Washing baby skin too frequently removes their skin's natural oils, leading to dryness. You only need to bath a baby once or twice a week, cleaning dirty body parts like bums, faces, and hands as needed. Plain warm water and a mild soap are all that is needed.
Baby skin care doesn't need to be complicated. Less is more when it comes to caring for our babies skin. Keep it simple with some castile soap and some cotton wash cloths for cleaning and a good diaper balm.
I hope this guide has helped you in your search for organic and safe baby skin care products. Let us know in the comments if you have any questions or product recommendations!
All the Best,
The TBOSC Team
More Baby Posts