Things to know before buying any baby care product

It is said that being a parent is the best and the most rewarding experience one can go through. However, it can be quite overwhelming too. You want to give your precious one the best in everything. Given the fast paced lifestyle, today’s parents cannot use some of the traditional methods that worked best for their parents or grandparents. Nowhere is this change more evident than in the baby’s bath and skin care routine, where modern parents neither have time to follow traditional methods nor have the confidence to use the chemical based products available in the market. There are also fake products flooding the market, which might have harmful effect on the baby’s skin and health. Here are a few useful tips and answers to common queries that will help you identify the best suited products for your baby’s needs:

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How can I decide which skincare product is suitable for my baby?

The most important thing to look out for on the label is that, it should be mild and made for babies. Check for the phrases "pH neutral" or "pH balanced" used to describe baby skincare products. pH scale helps in identifying the nature of the substance used i.e., whether acidic or alkaline. Most of the products do not mention an exact pH level. In such cases, check for the label which says pH neutral. A pH neutral product does not dehydrate and helps to keep your baby’s skin healthy.

Are antibacterial products good for my baby's skin?

No. Do not use products that are labelled as antibacterial or antimicrobial on your baby's skin.
Mild and liquid baby cleansers or alcohol-free baby wipes work perfectly well to keep your baby clean. Antibacterial ingredients are not usually added to products formulated for babies.

Why does the label say, "alcohol free"?

Alcohol is commonly used in adult skincare products to let them get dry quickly and feel light on the skin. This is not meant for baby’s skin, as it can be very drying and irritating. It shouldn't be used in skincare products for babies.

Should I choose fragrance-free products?

Mildly scented pH neutral cleansers, when used sparingly, are unlikely to cause a skin reaction for most babies. But, if your baby’s skin is dry or has symptoms of eczema, you should avoid all perfumed products. In such cases, your child’s paediatrician can suggest some skin care product for the baby, based on the specific skin type and condition.  

How do I check if a product is suitable for the baby?

Do a patch test if you are not sure whether the product will be suitable for your baby or not. Apply some product to a small area of the skin on your baby's arm or leg. Wait for 24 hours to see if the baby has a reaction. If your baby's skin reacts, it will become red, itchy, sore or flaky. If you see these signs, stop using the product immediately.

How do I choose the right bath products?

While choosing a baby bath sponge, opt for cotton-based sponges or cotton towels which will not be harsh on your baby’s skin. Since baby’s skin can be very sensitive at this time and prone to rashes, these precautions should be taken.

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What kind of diapers are good to use?

Use diapers which are biodegradable and which have high absorption properties that help keep your child’s skin smooth, soft and rash-free. Choose products from reputed manufacturers and stores which provide good quality and assurance.

Talk with your paediatrician!
Talking with your paediatrician before buying any sort of baby product for your child is the best thing you can do. After all, doctor’s suggestion would be based on your child’s specific needs, hence would be safer. Your doctor may advise you to use certain kinds of products which will not cause any harm to your little one.

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Furthermore, you can choose a product which has these commonly used terms on the product label: 

  • Alcohol-free: Free from ethanol or ethyl alcohol.
  • Dermatologically tested: There is no legal definition when this term is applied to a cosmetic product, but it usually means "tested on the skin". The tests might not necessarily have been done by a doctor or dermatologist, but may have been checked afterwards by a medically qualified person.
  • Hypoallergenic: Less likely to cause an allergic reaction.
  • For sensitive skin: Less likely to cause irritation.
  • Natural: A substance derived from nature. However, natural substances are not necessarily healthier or safer. For example, nicotine and arsenic are natural substances. Babies can react differently to same natural product, so be cautious and watchful while using any such product for the first time on your baby. You should better proceed with a patch test. 
  • Preservative: Ingredient added to protect products and the user against contamination by germs during storage and use.
  • Soap or alkali-free: Free from soap or other chemicals that have an alkaline pH level, that is, pH8 or more.

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