Sorry for the radio silence last month, those following me on social media (Facebook & Instagram), know that I have been contributing to a couple magazines, in addition to working on a start up, so my writing efforts were channeled elsewhere last month. For those in India, do check out March's Mother and Baby magazine for a detailed piece on how to raise fearless feeders, and April's Conde Nast Traveller (hard copy of both) for some summer inspiration on adventure holidays with kids!!
I've been posting a lot about skin care cosmetics, and how it is safer for our little ones that we use more natural and/or organic products. Particularly in today's day, when most of the products available in the market have chemical components in them, and harsh surfactants (cleansers). However, we now know through the news and scientific studies that it is as dangerous to put these on your skin as it would to eat them. Our skin is porous and receptive, and chemicals can seep through to our blood and have dangerous long term effects. So, it is best to know what you are putting on your skin, and especially your babies' skin, and is even better to keep your kids away from products that have a high chemical content.
If you are from the school of thought that says "well, we used these products/ chemicals growing up and are fine." I've used that argument in the past too when I didn't know better. However, having your own children changes a lot more than your body, it can change your perspective too, and the fact of the matter is - diseases like eczema, polycystic ovarian syndrome, autism and the multitude of cancers we see were just not as prevalent before as they are today. I personally have suffered from PCOS for most of my life too, and know the reproductive and hormonal havoc it causes.So, if it's simply a matter of being safer with our children by changing our product preferences, then why not?
What is the difference between organic and natural?
4. PPGs or proplyene glycol, absorbs water and is often used to make anti-freeze. It's also a solvent and penetration enhancer like PEG. Even though it absorbs water, it actually dries out the skin. It's used as an industrial cleaner to clean out machinery, due to it's harsh nature. Over time, it can cause skin issues like eczema and contact dermatitis.
5. Phenoxyethanol: Phenoxyethanol, began to be used as a paraben alternative, and now is very commonly used - as a preservative. Over time, it has proved to be just as deadly. Not only is it a culprit in contact dermatitis and skin conditions like eczema, but it has been linked to issues in the central nervous system, as it has toxic effects on the brain. In girls, use over time, can cause reproductive damage.
6. Sodium Benzoate: Sodium Benzoate is actually used in products - many many products, that claim to be natural and safe. However, sodium benzoate encourages the production of free radicals in the body, that actually destroy your DNA!! When mixed with other things like Vitamin C (which is great on it's own), it creates benzene, a common culprit in cancers.
7. Acrylates: These are used in parlors to help bind your acrylic nails to your hands. So what are they doing in on your baby's skin? They help lotions appear thick and creamy. In concentrated form, they cause major skin issues, but even in a milder form, they seep into the skin and can cause harm in the long run.
8. Harsh Surfactants like CAPB: Surfactants are what causes our products to foam. There are mild surfactants that are safe and harsher ones like cocamilopropyl betine that cause more lather (even though they do not actually clean any better than the mild surfactants), and also cause more skin issues and toxicity. This is found in most bubble baths of chemical origin, and are known to react with other common chemicals in skin products to create nitrosamines, which are cancer causing. Its a very common trigger in eczema, rosacea and contact dermatitis too.
10. Silicones: Silicones are like polymers, they go under a multitude of different names (eg methicone, dimethicone, trimethicone, dimethiconol, cyclypentasyloxane). They are smoothening, water resistant, and cheap. However, they can dehydrate your skin, interfere with cell growth, and are very difficult to get off your skin. They also interfere with other ingredients, for example, if your mosturizer has silicone in it, it will not be as effective as a moisturizer.