Use baby wash or very mild soap – the kind that doesn't really lather up – to clean your child for the first 12 months. Skincare products formulated for babies are gentler and less likely to irritate the skin, and babies just don't need the deep lathering effects of regular soap.
"Regular soap is designed to dissolve oily body odor, and babies don't have a problem with that," says Mary Spraker, a paediatric dermatologist at Emory University and spokesperson for the American Academy of Dermatology.
She adds that you don't really need to use soap or cleanser at all, except to clean a baby's bottom and the folds of skin around his arms and legs. Until your baby is about 1 year old, use products designed for babies or very mild soap only on the parts of his body that really need it. (Once he's eating solid food, you may have a few more areas to clean.)
Keep in mind that the American Academy of Paediatrics recommends bathing babies no more than three times a week for the first year. Frequent baths can dry out a baby's skin, especially during winter. Soaking in a tub of sudsy water can also irritate the urethra, increasing the risk of urinary tract infections (especially in girls).
So, if you are going to use soap, which soap do you use?
Firstly let me just point out that there is a lot of misinformation out there. You need to do your research before you can dismiss a product. Just because you do not know what an ingredient in a soap is, it does not mean it is bad for you. Having said that, the large commercial companies spend a lot of money with a lot of misleading slogans to get you to buy their products. So let us have a look shall we.
Sodium Tallowate, Water, Sodium Cocoate or Sodium Palm Kernelate, Glycerin, Titanium Dioxide, Fragrance, Pentasodium Pentetate, Tetrasodium Etidronate.
(Note, Sodium Hydroxide is used to make soap. Soap cannot be produced without it.
Sodium Tallowate is Tallow (not much good for Vegans) after the saponification process when mixed with water and Sodium Hydroxide. Same for the Cocoa and Palm oil in the list)
A lot of people get worked up about ingredients they do not understand. I certainly do not want to use products that have chemicals in, and the industry seems to have a habit of changing ingredients as if to confuse us, or am I being cynical?
So, I have highlighted Fragrance because this is a some what hidden ingredient. The issue really is the law as I do not think the ingredients used to Fragrance the soap need to be listed. This is the problem. When natural soap is made, we use essential oils and are happy to list them. Mass produced soap manufacturers use chemicals and many artificial fragrances can cause skin irritations and allergies.
One other ingredient to look out for is COCAMIDOPROPYL BETAINE. This is a synthetically produced ingredients linked with allergies and skin problems. If you have a very foamy soap, then this is going to be the chemical producing it. Personally, castor oil is a relied upon oil that produces a good lather, but I get chemicals are far cheaper for those that mass produce soap.
Ingredients of a simple handmade soap that is safe for your baby or child or anyone with sensitive skin:
Olive oil, Coconut Oil, Cocoa Butter, Sodium Hydroxide, Water, Lavender essential oil.
Look the product or ingredients up for yourself:
House Hold Products Database
It is personal choice. If you want to wash your baby or toddler with something full of chemicals, then so be it. Personally we avoided as many mass produced products as we could. The packaging may state that it is Baby Safe, but it is up to you to check if it is.
For us, we only use natural products. Sure they cost more, but what price tag do you put on your health and that of your children?
More information about cosmetics can be found here: