Making sure your baby is healthy and happy is one of the most challenging learning experiences that all parents must go through. Learning which products work for you and your family is a complicated process that will take some trial and error; some chemicals in your everyday products might not be as safe for your baby as you’d like to think. Even though they are approved for use on human children, you still might not want to risk activating or agitating any potential allergies.
It’s pretty widely accepted that you can’t just put formaldehyde into stuff that people use on or in their bodies. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) gave it the highest (i.e. worst) score for negative health impact. It is a leading cause of allergic contact dermatitis, which is a type of eczema that develops usually within a few hours of contact with the allergen (the substance that the person is allergic to).
However, none of this has stopped the use of formaldehyde-releasing preservatives – so keep an eye out for these ingredients:
- Diazolidinyl Urea
- DMDM Hydantoin
- Imidazolidinyl urea
- Tosylamide/Formaldehyde Resin
- Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate
- 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (bronopol)
- Polyoxymethylene Urea
- 5-Bromo-5-Nitro-1,3 Dioxane
They may be hard to pronounce, but keeping an eye out for these ingredients will save you a lot of potential trouble later on down the road. Pro-tip: Baby wipes by companies like Honest do not have any formaldehyde or formaldehyde-releasing substances in their product. Options do exist, you just have to do your research.
Tocopheryl and Tocopheryl Acetate are compounds that are hugely beneficial for your skin, as they contain strong anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. However, they are often synthesized using hydroquinone, which is currently recognized as a carcinogen, and thus found to have evidence of carcinogenic properties. It is an allergen, skin toxicant and has been linked with other non-reproductive organs toxicity.
You will likely not see phthalates as a listed ingredient on any labels of baby wipes. However, you would likely find the words “fragrance” or “perfume” on labels, which is a mixture of hidden ingredients in baby wipes. According to the EWG, fragrance mixtures can often contain diethyl phthalate, which is associated with hormone disruption, allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and has potential effects on the reproductive system. The EWG has given it a rating of 8 on a scale of 10 – with 10 being the most harmful.
When looking for a great brand of baby wipes, it is good practice to look for varieties not containing a fragrance, as they tend to irritate sensitive skin, as well as steering clear of anything containing the suffix “-paraben” (a chemical preservative).
These aren’t the only hidden ingredients in baby wipes, but they are among the most harmful. If you do you due diligence and research, you can steer clear of these chemicals and have a happy, healthy baby with a happy, healthy bottom.