Baby skin care: ingredients to avoid in cosmetics

Certain components in products to care for the baby’s skin cause dermatological alterations. It is essential that parents identify which are the ingredients that could harm their children’s skin.

Last update: 06 March, 2022

A healthy and gentle routine is necessary in the care of the baby’s skin. As it is a delicate dermis, you have to receive products with ingredients that are not harmful.

From before the birth of the child, parents usually stock up with shampoos, lotions, creams, soaps, wet wipes, diapers, colognes and more. But when purchasing children’s cosmetics it is essential to verify the INCI formula (International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient), in order to avoid dermatological damage.

The consequences of an inappropriate selection lead to irritations or, in the worst case, the body absorbing the components. Note that not all baby products are safe; some increase the risk of hormonal imbalance, cause alterations in development, cause allergies and affect disorders of the immune and nervous systems.

Hazardous ingredients during baby skin care

The Guide Safe cosmetics for young children highlights that the epidermis of a child’s skin is thinner than that of an adult and its protective barrier function is less effective. Hence the importance of paying attention to recipes, as they could contain the following harmful elements.

mineral oils

Oils are usually presented as such, but also under the nomenclature of petroleum jelly, paraffin or paraffinum liquidum. Although its action is lubricating, interfere with the natural respiration of the skin, because they clog the pores. They are in towels and moisturizers or diaper rash.

Certain products marketed to prevent diaper rash actually cause irritation because of their ingredients.

polyethylene glycol

the peg, Macrogol or polyethylene glycol fuses various chemicals that are easily absorbed by the skin. The toxicity of the compound depends on the ingredients of the mixture and its effects could be inflammation or itching.

Propylene glycol

Propylene glycol is a variety of alcohol useful in the preparation of sunscreens and moisturizers, due to its ability to soften the skin. The problem of high concentrations of this product is evident in allergic reactions, especially in children.


Almost all baby cosmetics contain perfumes, but not all children tolerate them. Some rashes, allergies, and respiratory problems arise from the use of scented items. Make sure that the products you buy are not manufactured with odorous substances.


Parabens are preservatives that prevent the proliferation of microbes. If you read the labels of soaps and shampoos, you can locate parabens, butylparaben or ethylparaben. Its presence is sometimes related to the hormonal alteration or the endocrine system of the baby.


The substance prevents the growth of bacteria. However, formaldehyde tends to cause irritation and allergies. Another complication linked to the chemical is asthma.

Children’s liquid soaps may contain formaldehyde. Although manufacturers use low doses, it is the constant and prolonged use that increases the risk.

chemical sunscreens

It is clear that the baby’s skin is much more sensitive to burns, but it is not an issue that you can solve just by applying sunscreen. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notes that these lotions are risky. The agency suggests looking for a natural shade and dressing the child appropriately.

This is not to say that sunscreens are always harmful, but their drugs could permeate the body and transgress hormonal activity, thanks to substances such as homosalate, benzophenone, octisalate, oxybenzone and avobenzone.


The phenoxyethanol It is a common preservative in children’s cosmetics. linked to reproductive and developmental disorders. It is only considered safe if the maximum concentration is 1%.


Sulfates are in almost all products to care for children’s skin, from shampoos to soaps. Sodium lauryl sulfate and laureth Sodium sulfate is the pair of salts most used in children’s cosmetics.

Although serious damage is not recognized, they are associated with temporary rashes, dryness, redness and itching. The recommendation is check if after the bath the child shows any of the symptoms. If so, it’s best to switch to sulfate-free products.

What kind of ingredients are recommended to take care of the baby’s skin?

The products you choose to take care of your child’s skin must be approved by your doctor and preferably be the following:

  • Neutral pH cleaners: look for ingredients without harsh additives.
  • Mild surfactants: to prevent diaper rash and other skin conditions.
  • Emollients with glycerin: The baby’s skin loses more water than that of adults, therefore, it dehydrates faster. Appeal to emollients that restore or maintain natural antioxidants.
  • Physical protectors: Instead of chemical sunscreens, for babies older than 6 months you can use physical sunscreens made with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
  • Free of synthetic dyes: also of paraffins or petroleum derivatives.
For UV protection, it is important not to expose the child during the most powerful hours of the sun, in addition to selecting non-aggressive protectors with the skin.

When to consult a professional?

From the first pediatric controls, Find out what cosmetics are suitable for your baby Considering that a child is more vulnerable, it is pertinent to reduce their exposure to chemicals.

Clarify with the specialist what is related to the areas of application, the frequency of use and the physiological characteristics, as they are factors of great influence on the effects of the product. As soon as you notice skin conditions, see a doctor.

If possible, request a manual that guides you on skin care. A supporting document is Newborn and baby skin care guidebased on scientific and practical evidence.

Importance of labeling in baby cosmetics

The integrity of an infant’s skin is critical to preserving the body’s thermoregulation, barrier, and immune functions. For what it deserves proper care, according to a work published by the magazine Professional Pharmacy.

Part of the precautions are in Pay close attention to cosmetic labels. to determine what the potentially harmful elements are. Don’t be overconfident, even though advertisements use words like hypoallergenic, organic or kind.

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