Baby feet

Ingredients to Avoid when Buying Baby Products

There are plenty of do’s and don’ts to follow when you become a parent - but are you reading the labels on your baby products closely enough? If you’ve found your baby suffering from unexplained eczema, itching, or an unexpected allergic reaction, then this blog post is for you. 

Why It’s Important to Check the Ingredients in Baby Products

Did you know that a product only needs to contain 1% natural ingredients before it can benefit from the term “natural” on its packaging? That means that more often than not, parents are falling into the trap of believing that the products they buy are safe and natural, not realising that many of these conceal potentially harmful chemicals and ingredients.

Well, we’re here to expose those ingredients and let you know exactly what to look for and what to avoid the next time you stock up on creams and lotions. 


Not just found in brightly coloured and long-life foods, preservatives are often responsible for causing itching and allergic reactions in babies and young children.

Some preservatives can also release small amounts of a product called formaldehyde which can be carcinogenic and is highly irritating on the skin.

Look out specifically for these ingredient labels which contain formaldehyde:

  • 2-bromo-2 nitropropane-1,3-diol
  • Diazolidinyl urea
  • DMDM hydantoin
  • Imidazolidinyl urea
  • Quaternium-15

Other preservatives to be aware of for their link to allergic reactions are:

  • Methylchloroisothiazolinone
  • Methylisothiazolinone
  • Parabens (butyl, ethyl, methyl, propyl, isobutyl)

Foaming / Emulsifying Agents

It’s amazing how some terms are such common entities in the adult beauty industry, that we forget how harmful they can be on sensitive skin.

Toothpastes, shampoos and face foams are all popular in the adult market, and yet many of them contain an ingredient which is especially irritating on young skin - Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS).


Dimethicone is not the worst on our list but there are better options out there when it comes to keeping your baby’s skin soft and smooth. The goal of this ingredient is to stop moisture from escaping the skin and to provide a waterproof barrier atop sun cream - certainly something you will want in the warmer months. 

As an alternative to this ingredient, consider other options like plant oils and waxes which provide the same core function but with additional health and skin care benefits for your baby. 

Artificial Perfumes

Baby holding mother's hand

Another one that Mum’s might think they love - but baby does not. In actual fact, most of us don’t realise how harmful artificial perfumes can really be, with fragrances one of the beauty industry’s leading causes of allergy and irritation on the skin. So, if you find yourself itching after your morning routine, check your scented lotion and perfume bottles!

If the word ‘Parfum’ is on your bottle, then the chances are that the product contains synthetic chemicals to produce that scent - and that the percentage of synthetics is around 95%. 

For baby and child skincare products, stick with fragrance-free options - ideally those where you recognise and can pronounce every ingredient listed on the bottle. 

DEA and TEA 

Not to be confused with the staple British drink, TEA and DEA can be carcinogenic when combined with nitrites - another often misunderstood and harmful ingredient of many beauty products. 

When these two ingredients come together, the chemical reaction produces a hazardous end product which is carcinogenic and highly bad for your baby’s health - definitely something to avoid. 

Look out specifically for these ingredient labels:

  • 2-bromo-2 nitropropane-1, 3-diol (Bronopol)
  • Padimate-O (found in sun screens)
  • 1,4-Dioxane

Artificial Colours

These are there to make products look nice - beyond that, all they do is cause irritation for the skin. And trust us when we say your baby won’t be impressed by the colour of their lotion. All colours will be listed on the ingredients list by their CI (Colour Index) number so look out for those and avoid any numbers lower than 75000 (as this indicates the colour is synthetic). This little trick should serve you well if you like coloured products, though our main advice would be to keep it super simple and let nature determine the colour of the product. 

Expectant mothers should note that all of the above should also be avoided as much as possible during pregnancy. 

Got more questions? Want to know exactly which products to buy for specific conditions and skin problems? For more advice and to browse our collection of eco-friendly and safe organic skincare products for babies and mothers.

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