Young Parents Team
If cost is not an issue, it might be worth using organic and natural products on your little one, according to Dr Wong Chin Khoon, a consultant paediatrician at Thomson Paediatric Centre.
“Babies have not built up a strong immune system, so it’s best to minimise their contact with chemicals,” he explains.
“A simple formula with fewer ingredients will ensure minimal contact with chemicals. It also lowers the possibility of an allergic reaction. And if it does occur, narrowing down the allergic agent will be an easier task.”
Young Parents finds out more about the science of baby care.
1. NATURAL VERSUS ORGANIC
A natural product is derived from ingredient sources that have not been artificially altered during production.
The term “organic” refers strictly to food items, including cotton, which are produced, manufactured and handled by organic means, as defined by the Organic Foods Production Act.
Organic products are produced without the use of pesticides, artificial fertilisers, herbicides, hormones, growth promoters or synthetic chemicals. During the making of your skincare products, synthetic ingredients such as additives are not added.
2. THE REAL DEAL
Organic skincare products don’t come cheap, so make sure you’re buying the real McCoy.
For example, products that claim to have ingredients “derived from organic or natural sources” may not be organic or natural if they have been processed with synthetic preservatives.
A simpler way is to look for the words “certified organic”, says Dr Wong Chin Khoon, a consultant paediatrician at Thomson Paediatric Centre.
Thanks to the many certifying bodies around the world, it is now easier than ever to buy certified organic skincare products in full confidence. Two major bodies are the USDA Organic (United States Department of Agriculture) and the ACO (Australian Certified Organic).
3. BUY LITTLE AND OFTEN
Don’t take claims like “preservative-free” at face value. It could just mean the manufacturers do not have to declare it on the label because the amount is not significant.
In the case of organic skincare, only food-grade preservatives are used to lengthen shelf life.
A skincare product can be truly free from preservatives if the formula is bottled in a protective atmosphere that prevents exposure to air, such as the Mustela Stelaprotect natural range.
When you buy a product that claims to be preservative-free – and if it is true – but is packed in tubs and tubes, don’t use it for more than three months.
Dispose of it once you notice a change in the colour or texture, advises Denise Ang, general manager of Dynamic Resources which distributes Mustela products in Singapore.
4. READ THAT LABEL
That’s not to say you should shun supermarket brands. Although they are neither organic nor natural, some do not contain toxic substances and are tested by dermatologists.
Scan the labels, Dr Wong suggests, and avoid these chemicals to minimise the risk of allergic reactions:
– Imidazolidinyl urea and diazolidinyl urea
– DMDM hydantoin (1,3-Dimethylol-5, 5-dimethylhydantoin)
– Methyl-, propyl-, butyl- and ethyl-paraben
– Bronopol (2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1, 3-diol)
– Benzalkonium chloride
– Chloromethylisothiazolinone and isothiazolinone
– Methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone
– Butylated hydroxytoluene and butylated hydroxyanisole