Baby Skincare Ingredients to Stay Away From

When you have a baby, you want to provide it with the best possible care. Part of caring for a baby is tending to their delicate skin. A baby’s skin is significantly thinner and more sensitive than adult skin, and it’s important to do everything we can to protect it.

Proper baby skin protection comes down to the products we choose to use. Baby skin is more prone to irritation and negative reactions from ingredients and chemicals found in many skin care products. You’d think that most baby skin care brands would completely cut out dangerous ingredients from their formulas, but this often isn’t the case. Just because a skincare product is marketed toward babies doesn’t mean it is good for their skin.

Harmful ingredients lurk in many supposedly “baby-approved” products. In the world today, baby care products are not thoroughly regulated. Some big companies can even get around existing regulations to cut corners and lessen their manufacturing costs. Parents should familiarize themselves with these baby skincare ingredients to stay away from, whether it’s in lotions, diaper rash creams, shampoos, or soaps.

Synthetic fragrances

Fragrances may smell appealing, but they are anything but when it comes to baby care. As one of the top allergens, synthetic fragrances easily irritate sensitive skin — mostly due to the many chemicals it takes to make them. When looking for baby skincare products, stay away from those with fragrance or parfum listed on the ingredient label.


A type of chemical found in cosmetic products, phthalates aren’t regulated by the FDA. It’s not yet clear how phthalates affect your health, but they may interfere with human development — and that’s the last thing you want to risk when raising a child. Look for diethylphthalate (DEP) when vetting an ingredient list.


One of the most common preservatives in cosmetics and personal care products, phenoxyethanol is often found in baby care products as well. However, this chemical compound can cause serious harm if swallowed, inhaled, or absorbed in the skin. Although it can cause serious irritation and even blistering, the FDA does not regulate phenoxyethanol in cosmetic or personal care products. Even if the concentration is 1% or lower — the approved amount by the FDA — repeated application can cause harm to the skin over time. It’s highly recommended to avoid the ingredient altogether, especially when choosing products for your baby’s fragile skin barrier.


Formaldehyde is a preservative commonly found in cosmetics, including baby wipes and soaps. While formaldehyde does prevent bacteria from growing, it can also irritate and prompt an allergic reaction when used on sensitive baby skin. Long-term exposure to formaldehyde may be even more serious, potentially causing cancer or other illnesses. It’s been phased out from many cosmetic products, but parents should still be wary of the ingredient when choosing safe products for their babies.


You may have heard that sulfate-free bath products are the new standard, but do you know why? Well, when sulfates come into contact with the skin, they can cause irritation, itching, redness, and dryness. Although we are being acquainted with the negative effects of sulfates in both baby and adult skin and haircare, it’s still a common ingredient and a big one to look for on ingredient lists. You might see them listed as sodium laureth sulfate or sodium lauryl sulfate.


Unfortunately, parabens are found in most personal care products as preservatives, especially soaps and shampoos. Parabens are quick to absorb into the skin, and should be avoided in baby products as they can cause irritation to their sensitive skin. Long-term exposure to parabens may be even more dangerous, so it’s best to avoid them altogether when choosing your baby care products.

Propylene glycol

This type of alcohol can actually soften the skin, but it may also cause skin reactions — especially in sensitive skin. Found in moisturizers and sunscreens, it’s quite a popular ingredient, so carefully check for it before picking up a new product to use on your baby’s skin. While an allergic reaction doesn’t happen 100% of the time, baby skin is more prone to negative reactions, so it’s best to avoid it altogether.


An ingredient commonly found in baby powders, talc is a powdered mineral that irritates the lungs when inhaled. Some research suggests that talc may even be carcinogenic. Health experts no longer advise using baby powder due to the fact that talc can damage fragile infant lungs. While most baby powder manufacturers have eliminated this ingredient from their products, it’s best to avoid baby powder altogether as there are better alternatives for keeping the diaper area clean and dry.


We founded NOLEO after starting our own family — and becoming alarmed at the dangerous ingredients in baby care products. NOLEO products are made differently, with natural, organic ingredients that provide little ones with the best, safest care for their sensitive skin. Shop all of our products at




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