Like my mother always used to say…
“Wear sunscreen, don’t touch your face, drink lots of water!” So many of us remember tidbits that our parents told us along the way, about tips and tricks that have been passed on from generation to generation.
However, with each generation we learn more about the importance of clean products and what we should put on our skin and why. Maybe more importantly though, is what’s not included in a list of ingredients and understanding what to avoid using on our skin and in our bodies.
We know the value of choosing safe products for our children, especially when it comes to baby’s sensitive skin. Ingredients like dyes, fragrances, latex, heavy metals or harmful chemicals can commonly irritate the skin, cause an allergic reaction and be considered toxic. Many conventional brands use these items in their products and it’s important to try to avoid these additives when possible.
Ingredients to Avoid in Diapers and Wipes
Totally Chlorine Free (TCF) Vs. Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF)
Diapers that are marked using TCF pulp means that the bleaching process does not use chlorine or chlorine derivatives. It is a much safer process because it uses oxygen, peroxide, or ozone-based bleaching systems. These methods are safer than using chlorine because they do not generate dioxins. This is the safest bleaching method you’ll find being used in diapers at this time.
Diapers that are marketed using ECF pulp means that elemental chlorine is not used. However, the pulp is bleached with chlorine dioxide, which is a chlorine derivative and itself is a hazardous substance. This process reduces dioxins, but it is believed that it doesn’t fully eliminate them.
Dye-based Ink vs. Water-based Pigment Ink
Look for products that use natural, water-based pigment inks instead of dye-based inks for diaper designs. Pigments are finely ground particles of color, whereas dyes are chemicals. Pigments are painted onto the surface of the material, while dyes bind to the material via a chemical reaction. Pigment-based inks are more water resistant, less prone to smudging and are more UV resistant.
Keep in mind that the standard wetness indicator used in diapers is an adhesive that turns color when wet. Depending on the specific ingredients used, this may not be the most natural and clean option for baby’s skin.
In addition, some diapers that appear “natural” in color are created to look this way by using a combination of pigments that result in a light brown color versus white or patterned.
Fragrances, Lotions and Parabens
The average number of ingredients in the most popular wipe brands is 9, some of which are unrecognizable and hard to pronounce. Avoiding added fragrances, soaps, alcohols and parabens in wipes can help to eliminate a potential skin reaction.
That said, fewer ingredients may not always be better. There is a lot of talk about “clean” wipes. Here’s the thing though, if a wipe used just water, as some encourage, it could irritate the skin and dry it out. In addition, if a product contains water, preservatives are necessary to eliminate the breeding of mold and bacteria.
When selecting your wipe of choice, find one that uses as few ingredients as possible while being safe and useful. For example, ABBY&FINN baby wipes are made with 99.7% triple purified water plus just three other purposeful ingredients, all of which you can pronounce:
- Water - triple purified to remove heavy metals and minerals
- Natural Soybean Amino Acid - antibacterial agent
- Organic Aloe Vera - provides healing and anti-inflammatory properties
- Natural Vitamin E- helps support immune system, cell function and skin health
There are many choices one has to make as a parent and it can often feel overwhelming. Trust your instincts, ask your pediatrician and get advice from fellow moms - but a good rule of thumb is to choose products that are transparent and have a clean ingredient list, while being effective and purposeful. These choices don’t have to break the bank either!