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Children"s Personal Care and Aromatherapy

Using essential oils to replace harmful commercial baby care products

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Some children”s personal care products have been found to contain harmful chemicals. Natural alternatives are available and can be fun to make at home.

There are many personal care products on the market for children: baby wipes, shampoos, bath products, creams and lotions. These products appear on the store shelves in all sorts of glitzy packaging, offering wonderful results that we can”t possibly live without. After taking off the rose-colored glasses and reading the ingredient lists, one will find that some of the chemicals in these products have been linked with serious health concerns.

Formaldehyde and Dioxane Found in Baby Products

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a coalition of environmental and health groups including the Breast Cancer Fund and the Environmental Working Group, recently tested a number of baby products and more than half of the ones tested were found to contain trace levels of formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane. Formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane are known to cause cancer in animals and are listed as probable human carcinogens. While there may only be small amounts of these chemicals in any one product, children may be exposed to several products every day, several days a week and those exposures add up.

Parents & Healthcare Providers Speak Out

In May 2009 more than 40 organizations representing 1.7 million parents and healthcare providers joined forces to urge Johnson & Johnson to remove formaldehyde, 1,4-dioxane and other hazardous chemicals from personal care products, including their Baby Shampoo, by the end of 2009. Johnson & Johnson is already making formaldehyde-free products for the Japanese market, where the chemical is banned from cosmetics.

Natural Alternatives

Shampoos, baby wipes and bath products are very easy to make at home with little fuss or bother. The best essential oils for children are: Mandarin essential oil, Chamomile (R) essential oil, Petitgrain essential oil, Lavender essential oil, Manuka essential oil, Eucalyptus Radiata essential oil, Palmarosa essential oil, Helichrysum essential oil, and Chamomile (G) essential oil.

To 30mls of a natural shampoo, base cream or bubble bath base, add the following number of drops of pure essential oil:

  • Newborns 0 - 1 drop
  • 2 - 6 months 1 - 2 drop(s)
  • 7 - 12 months 1 - 3 drop(s)
  • 1 - 4 years 1 - 5 drop(s)
  • 5 - 7 years 3 - 6 drops
  • 8 - 12 years 5 - 9 drops
  • 12 years and over 5 - 10 drops

Hydrosols and Baby Care Products

Hydrosols can help to keep things clean around your baby. Rose hydrosol is wonderful for cleaning sticky fingers and faces. It can also be used on a tissue instead of a diaper wipe to freshen up after a diaper change. Tea Tree hydrosol can be used to clean toys, changing areas, crib rails and car seats. Lavender hydrosol is very relaxing and anti-inflammatory. Spray it around the crib at bedtime to help baby relax or make into a compress and apply to the cheek to soothe a teething baby.

The Future of Baby Care Products

Parents and healthcare providers must continue to lobby for safer children”s personal care products. In the meantime, finding natural ways to prepare such products can be rewarding and fun.

This article was first published at Suite 101 on July 28, 2009 and is republished here as per the terms of our agreement with Suite 101. Visit Suite 101 to read all of our articles.


*This is educational information and any opinions expressed here-in do not replace professional medical advice. If you are ill, see a suitably qualified medical practitioner.*

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