Learning how to read the label goes a long way, for:
(1) You would not risk paying for nice-sounding marketing terms whose ingredients don’t match up
(2) You reduce the risk of your child developing rashes from using a product with irritants, thus also reducing the time, cost and agony that go with caring for a child with itchy rash
(3) Most importantly, you have a peace of mind of what you’re applying on your child’s delicate skin daily!
Firstly, what grabs your attention on a product is the packaging, and terms like hypoallergenic, natural, organic, and safe for babies are usually printed prominently. However, there is no regulatory body that sets out when a company can call its product using such terms (except for organic which is regulated by U.S. Department of Agriculture). Thus it is left to the discretion of each company whether to call itself so.
Secondly, a child’s skin is thinner and more vulnerable to the penetration of irritants and allergens. Therefore, it is good to choose a product without the major irritants like fragrances, preservatives and parabens. Also choosing a ‘natural’ product does not necessarily guarantee any risk of rash, as some children can be hypersensitive to certain natural ingredients like Vitamin E. You can also look at the number of ingredients as the more ingredients there are; generally it is more likely that one of it may irritate the child’s skin. Lastly, while many companies do not indicate the percentage of ingredients used (as in food label), the ingredient that is listed first is the one with the highest percentage.
Lastly, whether a product is suitable for babies is a pure marketing term as there is no guideline as to what is considered safe. The best thing you can do is fall back on your knowledge of reading skincare product label, taking care to avoid fragrance, perfume, dye, preservatives, paraben, formaldehyde, propylene glycol, paraffin and sodium lauryl sulfate. When trying a new product, always test on a patch of skin before applying on the whole body.
For a child with dry skin or eczema, generous amounts of moisturizers are used and must be applied after shower. Given the amount used and the cost involved, it certainly pays to learn how to choose the right skincare product!
Photo: freedigitalphotos.net “Child in Meadow” by chrisroll