Having a child with sensitive skin, can be a really tricky one. It often takes quite a lot of research to work out the best products to keep them clean without making any skin problems worse. Lila suffers with little patches of eczema, and although she never complains I can see that it looks itchy and sore.
It’s always much worse in the colder months due to the harsher weather outside and the heating inside. I’ve done quite a lot of reading up on the best ways to try to improve the problem.
The first thing I picked up on was to try to avoid products containing petrochemicals like liquid paraffin and mineral oils. Some of the leading brands on the high street like Johnson’s Baby Oil and E45 cream are made using these. Although they are gentle on sensitive skin they actually just hold moisture in the skin rather than actually adding much moisture. Mineral oils are actually a waste product of petrol production and are extremely cheap for use in cosmetics.
I definitely prefer to use natural products on the girl’s skin and avoid as many harsh chemicals as possible. Not only do they not really help their skin that much but they also are absorbed into their bodies, which is actually a little scary when you think about it.
I read lot’s of forums and tried a few of the recommended products and have found some definite favourites. I thought I’d share them on here incase anyone else is looking for some great products for their little ones.
Green People Organic Babies Baby Salve:
I’ve been using this since Jessica was a baby, and it really is the most amazing product. It smells absolutely amazing and is perfect for nappy rash, eczema and dry skin. I even use it on my hands when they are feeling extra dry. The great thing about this is that in soothes and moisturises at the same time.
It is extremely gentle and contains no nasties. I usually give Lila is a little massage with this after her bath before bed. The soothing lavender scent always makes her feel extra sleepy and settles for bed.
I couldn’t recommend this highly enough for people of all ages. It is a little pricey at £9.95 but it last absolutely ages so well worth the money.
I saw these recommended online, and when I realised you could buy them in the supermarket for just £2 I went straight to Asda to get them. I am so impressed with these.
I love the bright easy to squeeze packaging and the amazing smells of the products. They are really bright and cheerful and feel like much more expensive products. They are also free from SLS, Phthalates, MIT, Parabens, Triclosan, Propylene Glycol and SLES (no I don’t know what all of these are either, but I’ll try to explain at the bottom of the post).
I use the Baby Bath and Zingy Orange Hair and Body Wash to clean Lila’s skin, you only need a tiny bit and both smell lovely. They leave her skin soft and clean with no dryness and I’m really happy with both of them. I especially like the Orange one as the colour is really nice and the zesty smell is lovely.
The Berry Burst Shampoo and Detangler is also really gentle but great for cleaning any food and dirt that gets into little children’s hair. Because it is SLS free it doesn’t foam as much as conventional shampoo but it still spreads over the hair really well. I’ve actually used this on my hair too, I’m really fussy about shampoo so was pleasantly surprised by how smooth and shiny my hair came out. I might even get my own tube and use this as my regular shampoo from now on.
On shorter hair you could probably use this on it’s own without a conditioner, but as both my girls have slightly longer hair I usually use a conditioner as well.
Tantrum is an upmarket hair salon for children on the Kings Road in London. They also have their own range of children’s hair products which you can pick up at Asda for about £2.50. I picked up the conditioner as I wanted something that would really smoothen and moisturise the girl’s hair and this one looked really good. It is also free or Parabens and has allergen free fragrance and is not tested on cute little animals.
One of the main draws for me was the fact that it was apple scented. I absolutely love anything with an apple scent as it’s so fresh and clean smelling. The conditioner itself is rich and thick and really does a fantastic job. After use Lila’s hair was smooth and shiny and really easy to brush.
I’ve also started using this on my hair and absolutely love it. My hair can be very hard work as it’s pretty wavy and there’s a lot of it. After using this on it and just leaving it to dry naturally my hair was frizz free and looking great, so this is definitely another kid’s product that I’ll be using myself.
I had been looking out for a baby oil which wasn’t basically a bottle of petrol based liquid. The best thing of all that the one I found only cost £1 and was free from petrochemicals, artificial colours and parabens. It is also hypoallergenic and dermatalogically tested (as all baby products should be).
In an aim to be more environmentally friendly Asda have reduced the amount of packaging used in this range and use 25% recycled materials in the packaging and the product contains 99% natural and sustainable ingredients, which is definitely a start towards protecting our planet.
The oil itself which contains sesame seed oil (so best avoided by nut allergy sufferers) is absolutely lovely. It smells really nice, in a natural way there’s no strong perfumes in there. In many ways it’s just like a normal baby oil to apply and it makes a great baby massage oil. I usually put a little bit on Lila’s skin before her bath so protect her from getting dry skin in the bath. If you do this just make sure you use a non slip mat and keep a close eye on your child – we don’t want any slipping!
Another thing I do regularly is give Lila oat baths, which are really soothing for eczema prone skin.
To make these I blend a handful of porridge oats in the food processor and mix with a little powdered milk, bicarbonate of soda, olive oil and chamomile tea (you only need a teaspoon or so of the other ingredients) and then place it in a stocking and let it soak in the bath before I put Lila in. It’s best to run the hot water in first so really get the best out of this.
This works wonders on her skin. There are loads of recipes for these online this is just the one I came up with myself and it works great for me.
What Are the Chemicals you Should Try and Avoid?
I’ve mentioned quite a few things in this post that I prefer to avoid when buying both baby products and cosmetics for myself. Here’s a really quick explanation of what each one is and the possible reasons why they should be avoided.
What are Parabens?
Parabens are artificial preservatives that can be found in a large number of products. It is thought they could contribute to breast cancer and they also produce estrogen. There isn’t much medical proof that they are harmful but I’d say it’s best to avoid products containing parabens where possible.
What is SLS?
Sodium Laureth Sulphate is a foaming agent and detergent found in most foaming bath products and shampoos. It is a known irritant and has been extensively tested. It is best to avoid it altogether on sensitive skin. You may find SLS free products foam less.
What are Petrochemicals Mineral Oils and Liquid Paraffin?
These are generally a distillate of petrol, in other words a waste product from the production of petrol. There are several levels of mineral oils, different grades are more harmful than others. They can effect the bodies absorption of some vitamins. Generally they are not particularly harmful, but more natural alternatives are generally more effective on dry skin complaints. Natural oils are also more nutritious to the skin.
What are Phthalates?
From what I can tell phthalates are used as a binding agent and also in the production of plastics. They are easily released into the environment and when consumed can lead to mild hormonal changes. As far as I can tell they are banned in cosmetics sold in the EU anyway and should be completely avoided by pregnant and breast-feeding women.
What is MIT?
Methylisothiazolinone (that was hard to type) is a biocide found in water containing products. It has been found to be allergenic amongst other health risks, so should be avoided where possible.
What is Triclosan?
Triclosan is an antibacterial and antifungal agent found in many cosmetics. It is not always fully removed from water treatment and can be harmful to the environment.
What is Propylene Glycol?
Propylene Glycol is a chemical found in many cosmetics. it can occasionally cause allergic reactions, this risk is slightly increased in people with eczema. The risk however is pretty low.
I don’t want to worry anyone, I just wanted to explain what the chemicals were that I mentioned in the post. Obviously I’m not an expert so it’s best to do your own research if you want to know more.
If you or your child suffer from eczema or other skin complaints I would also recommend seeing your GP or dermatologist who might be able to give you more advise.