“8 out of 10 midwives use Johnson’s Products on Their Own Children”
………because I’ve yet to meet a single one who does!
Johnson’s and Johnson’s are a market leader in the babycare world. Their supposedly gentle and “no more tears” formulas have been trusted for years by generations of families. Their products are given away for free in Bounty packs and they advertise their “gentle” claims extensively on the TV. If you are pregnant or just had a new baby there’s a high chance someone will buy you a J&J baby toiletry hamper as a gift.
I want to examine these claims though and more importantly I want people to understand exactly what is in these products and the potential damage they can do to their baby’s skin. Let’s start with two of the most popular Johnson’s products:
Johnson’s Baby Lotion Ingredients:
Water, Propylene Glycol, Myristyl Myristate, Glyceryl Stearate, Oleic Acid, Stearic Acid, Polysorbate 61, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Dimethicone, Isopropyl Palmitate, Sorbitan Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Synthetic Beeswax, Stearyl Alcohol, Benzyl Alcohol, Carbomer, Fragrance, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, BHT, Sodium Hydroxide, Red 33
Johnson’s Baby Bedtime (lavender) Bubble Bath and Wash Ingredients.
Water, c, PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, Sodium Trideceth Sulfate, Acrylates Copolymer, Glycerin, Sodium Chloride, Disodium Lauroamphodiacetate, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance, Glycol Distearate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Methylparaben, Laureth-4, Propylparaben, Sodium Hydroxide, Polyquaternium-7
Wow……………..let’s take a closer look at some of those ingredients:
Parabens (methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben)
Absorbed directly into the blood stream parabens are added as a preservative, they are known to cause allergic reactions and skin rashes.
Parabens have a potentially oestrogenic effect. Indeed In the July 2002 issue of the Archives of Toxicology, Dr. S. Oishi of the Department of Toxicology, Tokyo Metropolitan Research Laboratory of Public Health reported exposure of newborn male mammals to butylparaben “adversely affects the secretion of testosterone and the function of the male reproductive system.” Paraben levels have also been found to be elevated in many female breast cancer sufferers.
Sulphates (Sodium Triedeceth Sulphate)
This helps the product to foam and bubble (soft gentle bubbles anyone?), in doing so they strip the baby’s skin of its own sebum (natural moisturiser) and cause drying of the skin, they are also known skin and eye irritants (no more tears anyone?).
Petro Chemicals & Mineral Oils (Phenoxyethanol, Disodium Lauroamphodiacetate)
Smooths and softens hair and skin by creating a film over the skin, this clogs the pores, prevents natural sebum from being released which results in longer term dryness, also prevents toxins from being release via the pores and is obviously involved in acne and spot formation.
A chelating agent, binding metals in the preparation allowing them to be released into the water and may have an effect on softening hard water and helping foaming. Know for being a skin and eye irritant.
Alcohols (Propylene Glycol)
Alcohol is well known for its drying effect on the skin
Artificial Fragrances (fragrance)
commonly cause allergic reactions including skin rashes
Artifical colourings (Red 33)
Now would you put all of that on your skin? let alone the beautiful new skin of a tiny baby?
The very best thing to use on a baby’s skin is water – just water! if you want to add moisture then use a simple hypoallergenic organic vegetable oil such as sunflower.
If you still want to use a product on your baby make sure it is SLS, Paraben, Petro Chemical and Mineral Oil free and also free of artificial colours, fragrances and alcohol. BabyCalm stock a great range of natural baby toiletries, including the gorgeous Creatures baby toiletry range pictured here.
Sarah Ockwell-Smith, mother of four and owner of www.babycalm.co.uk