Would you clean your child with a chemical that is also used to degrease car engines? Well the startling fact is that Sodium Lauryl Suphate (SLS), an ingredient still in use in many children’s body care products, is also used to clean car engines!
Every day our children are potentially exposed to many chemicals — the vast majority of which have never been screened for safety. I’m not a doctor, a chemist or a scientist. I’m a Mom who believes that my child has the right to be free from exposure to harmful chemicals, artificial ingredients and nasty preservatives. When my son was born I felt it was my duty to understand those long lists of ingredients on his skin care products and that I had a responsibility as his mother to reduce his exposure to toxins. Doing my homework has at times been an enlightening journey of discovery while often a shocking eye opener.
I had always thought that for these toxins to be harmful they needed to swallowed or inhaled. What I forgot is that the skin is the body’s largest organ and is absorptive. Whether a chemical is soaked in through the skin, or an aerosol spray is inhaled, or suds wash down the drain and back into the drinking water supply – they can easily end up in your child’s body.
What I find most alarming is the fact that many of the children’s skin care products on the market are not only harmful to their skin but also to their long term health. Many of these ingredients are known carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) and they are used by the industry simply because they are cheap.
When exposed to toxic chemicals, even small doses can affect your child’s sensitive and developing body, leaving them vulnerable to allergies and frequent bouts of infections, colds, and even behavioural challenges.
The following are just some of the synthetic chemicals that have been identified by scientific studies to be harmful to health.
Sodium Lauryl Suphate (SLS) and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (ALS )-
SLS is a surfactant that creates lather in formulas. Often described as being “derived from coconut”, which disguises their toxic nature, these chemicals are commonly used in shampoos, toothpaste, soaps and bubble baths. SLS and ALS can cause severe skin irritation, and are easily absorbed into the body through the skin, building up in the brain, heart, lungs and liver, leading to potential long term health problems. SLS and ALS may also cause cataracts, and prevent children’s eyes from developing properly.
Parabens are preservatives widely used in skin care and baby products to prolong their shelf life. They are suspected to be carcinogenic and can cause rashes and allergic reactions.
Found in many creams and cleansers, Propylene Glycol can cause skin rashes and contact dermatitis, and has been shown to cause damage to the kidneys and liver.
Alcohol is used as a solvent in many skin care products. It causes skin irritation and strips the skin of its natural acid mantle, promoting the growth of bacteria, moulds and viruses.
DEA (Diethanolamine), TEA (Triethanolamine) and MEA (Monoethanolamine)-
These substances are harsh solvents and detergents that are used in body creams as an emollient. They can cause allergic reactions, and long term use of DEA-based products (such as Cocamide DEA) have been linked to an increase in the incidence of liver and kidney cancer.
Mineral oil is derived from petroleum (crude oil), and is commonly found as a main ingredient of face and body creams. Baby Oil is 100% mineral oil! It coats the skin like a plastic film, clogging pores and stops the skin from eliminating toxins, which can lead to acne and other skin disorders. Other petroleum based ingredients include paraffin wax, paraffin oil and petrolatum.
Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)-
PEG is used as a thickener in skin care products. PEGs interfere with the skin’s natural moisture balance, which accelerates ageing and leaves the skin vulnerable to bacteria.
Talc is a soft mineral used in talcum powders. Inhaling powders containing talc may be harmful to long term health.
Saccharin is an artificial sweetener added to many types of toothpaste. It’s been banned in many countries. We have become so addicted to sweets, we can’t even motivate our children to brush unless artificial sweeteners have been added to them.
Examine the labels of your children’s skin care products carefully, and learn to recognize ingredients that are harmful to their skin and their health.
Don’t be fooled by the words ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ on the label. Many products contain one or two natural or organic ingredients, but they may also contain harmful synthetic chemicals as well. Read all the ingredients and keep an eye open for the ones listed above.
Whenever possible, choose products with 100% natural ingredients. Find a company you can trust that will give you simple, safe ingredients.
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