I have this weird theory that whatever is safe for a baby, would be safe for adults and provide the best protection too. therefore, whenever i go on a holiday at the beaches, i would definitely look for banana boat’s baby block… there are those that contain as low as 35spf and there are those that are as high as 55spf i think. the smell is lighter and i don’t develop allergies to it. the best part is, it works like a charm… for me, that is.
First off Juan, I don’t think its a weird theory at all – usually products made for babies have the most gentle of formulas – and its great that you’ve found a product that works for you :)
Not all commercial baby products are safe
My interest in this comment was piqued mainly because I was wondering if baby products are really all safe and I was quite nonplussed to find out that not all commercial baby products are safe whether for you or for baby.
Despite labels carrying such reassuring claims as “extra gentle” and “safe for Baby’s delicate skin,” dozens of top-selling children’s bath care products contain trace amounts of the toxins 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde, according to a buzzworthy report from a consumer watchdog group, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. Far from safe and gentle, both substances are classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as “reasonably anticipated to cause cancer in humans.” (source)
The problem really lies in the fact that baby skin is very thin compared to adult skin so what might not pose an irritation to adult skin can potentially irritate baby skin. This link about toxins in baby bath products is a quite a good read whether you have babies in the house or not.
Also, I don’t know if you’ve noticed it, but many commercial baby products have strong fragrances. Sometimes, I wonder if its even stronger than products for adults. I find that a little strange if baby products are supposed to be more gentle.
Physical sunblocks for babies and children are less irritating
In respect of sunblock for children and babies, this link is quite informative. I especially noted this point from the article:-
Choose a broad-spectrum sunblock (meaning that it blocks both UVA and UVB rays) with a SPF of at least 25. Broad-spectrum products contain one of three active ingredients: avobenzone (trade name: Parsol 1789), zinc oxide, and titanium dioxide. Avobenzone is a chemical sunblock, while zinc and titanium dioxide are physical sunblocks. While both have been tested for safety on baby’s skin, some pediatricians recommend that children under six months use a physical sunblock, as it may be less irritating. (emphasis mine)
Physical sunblocks are usually recommended for children, with zinc oxide being touted as the best blocker for both UV-A and UV-B rays. However, as I have noticed, Zinc Oxide doesn’t agree with my skin so a baby friendly sunblock that’s high in zinc oxide will similarly not work for me too. I also find products with high zinc oxide content drying on the skin – I tested Badger SPF30 mineral sunscreen in my hand over the weekend (micronized zinc oxide 20.5%) and my hand felt dry.
Some baby products can irritate adult skin
I also came upon this forum where some adults had extolled the virtues of using baby products including Aveeno and Johnson & Johnson Top to Toe wash for their hair or skin. When I came to the last page, I noticed that some people had reported that they were developing rashes from using these baby/kids products which went away when they stopped. This might imply that there are ingredients in the products that can irritate the skin whether it be adult or children skin so it would appear that not everything labelled for baby is truly gentle and irritant-free.
Natural is probably best for baby but be careful what “natural” products contain
It looks like natural is the best way to go when it comes to skincare for babies and ultimately some adults who might have skin problems or very sensitive skin. I was at the Expat Eco Expo at KLCC Convention Centre over the weekend where I came upon a few natural/organic baby brands – Buds Baby, Weleda Baby and Badger Balm were 3 that stood out. I was told adults could use them too although there are adult specific natural/organic products available.
That said, I’ve since learnt that some “natural” products may not be all that natural as it might contain petrochemicals. Some baby oils use mineral oils which don’t bug the majority of the population but I’ve read of people using baby oil to cleanse their faces and this has the potential to clog your pores to kingdom come. That said, whoever extols the virtues of baby oil finds it works for them so perhaps we’re all different that way.
Also, as many “natural products” use or contain essential oils it may not suit everyone. Personally, I find it hard to use organic or natural products because I develop contact dermatits when using some organic products and not knowing what causes it really bugs me! This link contains quite useful information for moms who are looking for baby friendly products.
Not all baby products may be suitable for adults
My conclusion is that not all baby products may be suitable for adults. They may be more gentle on the skin in general but as with everything, there is always the potential to irritate because our skins and their tolerances are different :)
If you have thoughts on this subject or are using baby products for your skincare because it works for you, please feel free to share in a comment below! :)
Disclaimer: All opinions are my own. I am not a dermatologist nor a doctor nor a scientist nor a miss-know-it-all just a curious cat :P