Eczema in children: Look at the ingredient list

The personal care industry is effectively unregulated — do you know that the last piece of regulation in relation to the personal care industry was passed in 1938 — which allows companies are essentially free to do whatever they want, with no government intervention or checking, packing products that we use every day (including babies one too!) with toxic ingredients, including known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors.

With this free-for-all, companies can use whatever adjectives they’d like when it comes to marketing and “greenwashing” their products—natural, green, eco literally have no enforceable definition. In other words, what is touted on the front in no way needs to match what lives on the ingredient label on the back.

What you need to know about the law

What is used in a product are required by law to list out in detail on descending order. Often, you see that in a baby wash, aqua (water) being the first ingredient and the second being sulphate (commonly SLS, as it is cheaper to obtained). In the front of the label, these products are being marketed as “hydrating”, “natural”, “safe”, etc.

Can a product that uses sulphate be hydrating?
Maybe – if a formulation is added with additional emollient. However, do you know that sulphate is used in dermatologist test? You know the one where it is marked “dermatologist tested”?
The participating testers skin are sensitized with sulfate first, then a 72 hours patch test are done to see the reaction on the skin. If sulphate is used to sensitized the skin, which is to make the skin “red”, do you still think it is “hydrating”, “natural” and “safe” anymore?

This is just an example, and there are a lot more chemicals that can be used that could be ever-evolving list of ingredients linked to harmful health effects from hormone disruption, to cancer, to plain-old skin irritation. To name just a few: parabens, phthalates, PEGs, ethanolamines, chemical sunscreens, synthetic fragrance, BHT, BHA.

There’s a million types of chemical and there’s no way we would be able to know if this is safe or not

Yeaps, with our ever emerging world, new chemicals are up all the time. It’s difficult to check if the products are safe or not. This is where websites such as EWG plays an important role. EWG is an independent organisation, with a database where you can search if the chemical used in the products are safe or not.

EWG Hazard score key

You will be surprise that even in baby products, some of the ingredients used is of high hazard. For something that we used on a daily basis, plus some of it is not rinse off (for example lotion and wipes), these are absorb into our blood stream. Commonly, these ingredients that are moderate to high hazard are endocrine disruptors and carcinogenic.

Eczema in children

Remember in our last article, we talked about skin barrier? When a child has a compromised skin barrier, using products which hazardous chemical would only mean that these chemicals can dive straight into the deep layer of the skin and the bloodstream. Think all products made for baby is safe? Do a check if the products is really safe.


Ask Our Experts is a Bare Nuhcessities initiative to bring together a panel of Paediatricians, Nutritionists, Doctors and experienced parents to keep you updated on Parenthood. We are on hand to give our opinion to your most pressing questions! Disclaimer: All correspondences and information are opinions only and are not to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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