Updated: Aug 16, 2021
In an effort to help you make the switch to more natural products, we thought we'd start a little collection of articles comparing popular products with their lesser known non-toxic friends. The goal here is not perfection, it is simply to reduce the toxic load by switching to more natural products where you can, ie. when they are available to you, and when they are affordable for you.
I like a good mix between low-tox and performance - meaning the less toxic the better, but I still want the product to work, so you'll notice that some of the products here are not 'perfect', and that's ok with me.
So let's start with one of the most important categories: baby products.
It's so important to make sure what you're putting on bub's skin is free from nasties! Their little bodies are often already overloaded with crap from sunscreens, vaccines, food additives, medicines, pesticides, fragrances, the list is honestly endless - so if you can make the switch to more natural skin products, it just eases that toxic load, even just a little bit!
To start with I've done a little comparison of top baby products, compared with a brand that we love, use ourselves, and have in store - Little Innoscents. If you have any requests for a this or that article, or would like some advice on one of your favourite products, let me know!
NAPPY RASH CREAM
Let's start with one of the most common, probably a product that 90% of us use, or have used in the past. It's every babies favourite thing to spread over the walls, it is SUDOCREM!!!
One thing that I often hear about Sudocrem is 'but it's just zinc, so isn't that ok'?
Unfortunately, Sudocrem is not just zinc oxide - it also contains things like:
- liquid paraffin (aka petroleum) and many other petroleum derivatives,
- benzyl alcohol and benzyl benzoate ( which are associated with skin allergies and contact dermatitis - counterproductive, no?)
- BHA (which is a known endocrine disruptor and suspected carcinogen),
- as well as a beautiful endocrine-disrupting lavender fragrance, delish!
In comparison, the only ingredient I don't love in the Little Innoscents Organic Intensive Soothing Cream is 'parfum', other than that, the cream is full of healing and skin-loving
ingredients and is a great choice when looking for a cleaner nappy rash cream.
UPDATE: since publishing this article, I contacted Little Innoscents about the 'parfum' listed in their ingredients. They assured me that no artificial/synthetic fragrances or colours were ever used in their products. The ingredient listed as 'parfum' is the International Naming of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) term, for a vegetable origin fragrance, that acts as a broad spectrum preservative in organic cosmetics. I love them even more now!
Looking for something even cleaner? I love Wellness Mama's recipe for home made nappy rash cream, check it out here.
Next on the list, baby wipes. These are one of the most used items on this list - wiping bums, hands and faces so many times a day (and we all know babies love sucking on wipes!), so when it comes to wipes, you really want to choose something with no fragrance and no unnecessary additives.
This time I'm going to compare with three major supermarket brands Huggies, Johnson & Johnson, and Little Ones. The majority of the wipes by these brands contain synthetic fragrance which can be made up of so many unknown chemicals including parabens and phthalates and even the 'fragrance free' versions all contain phenoxyethanol (which is a known endocrine disruptor) among other nasties. Endocrine disruptors have an additive effect - meaning they build up, causing more and more damage the more you use them. So in the case of baby wipes, which are used so many times a day, it is important to avoid this one.
If you're looking for an even more natural (and eco friendly) option, you could use a soft organic cotton washer simply wet with water (and some mild soap if needed).
Johnson & Johnson is the most obvious choice when it comes to this category and honestly, I dislike this brand so much I choose not to use any of their products (or products from brand that comes under their umbrella).
Their Johnsons Baby Oil is 'simply' mineral oil and fragrance - mineral oil being a derivative of petroleum products, and fragrance we've discussed above. It seems fairly harmless, but as Johnson & Johnson have come under fire over the years for not disclosing harmful ingredients in their products, I choose to stay away.
A better option is the Organic Nourishing Oil by Little Innoscents. This is a beautiful blend of organic sunflower and jojoba oil scented with organic oils of lavender, orange, lemongrass and spearmint - and that's it! No harmful chemicals, no synthetic fragrances. A great option for a nourishing oil for both mama and baby.
If you want something even simpler, a dab of unrefined coconut oil works wonders, and if you find that to be too drying, a good quality olive oil will do the trick!
Vicks Vaporub is a crowd favourite in the colder months, but there are so many better options out there from brands that actually care about what you're putting onto your baby's body!
Vicks doesn't make their ingredient list easy to find, which always sounds alarm bells in my mind. It contains the highly toxic Camphor oil, which can be harmful if ingested, or if absorbed into mucous membranes or broken skin - which is why you should never put it around your nose. It is also a petroleum-based product which I tend to steer clear of. Some studies have shown that Vicks can actually increase mucous production and should not be used in children under 2 years of age as it can cause respiratory distress.
A better option is the Little Innoscents Organic Winter Blues Vapour Balm. This balm is made on a base of organic sunflower and jojoba oils, shea butter and beeswax and is scented with organic essential oils known for their ability to soothe respiratory complaints. It is super gentle and doesn't have that eye-burning scent that Vicks is known for - a beautiful addition to your natural medicine cabinet.
Getting the balance of these warming essential oils right for babies is important, so I would tend to purchase these kind of vapour balms from companies that know what they're doing, rather than making my own. But for a more natural option, you could try rinsing with a simple saline solution, or investing in a bulb-sucker for a bit of manual help when unblocking tiny noses!
Little Innoscents is one of our favourite brands for low-tox baby care but there are so many lovely little brands out there that are doing the right thing for you and your baby. I encourage you to make swaps where you can and support these little businesses that care about your health, and not just about their profits!