The cold weather may leave your children’s hands dry, cracked, and in serious need of moisture. That’s why buying a hand cream is important to get your children’s skin back to its smooth and soft condition. However, you shouldn’t buy just any hand cream; it should be hypoallergenic and the ingredients should be safe for your kids. You need to make sure you choose the right product when searching the countless brands and formulations.
A simple search online will help you find top picks from dermatologists, mommy celebrities and influencers, and friends and relatives will also probably have some recommendations. But at the end of the day, it’s your responsibility to ensure your children’s safety by choosing the right product. Certain ingredients, like harmful chemicals, may harm the gentle and sensitive skin of your little ones. In this post, you’ll learn the things you need to watch out for when buying a hand cream for your kids. Let’s get started!
Parabens have been used as a chemical ingredient in beauty products since the 1950s. Preservatives, like parabens, stop molds and bacteria that could spoil a beauty product or possibly harm your baby. Toiletries would have a shorter shelf lifespan without preservatives. Parabens also prevent bacteria and acts as a preservative in shampoos, deodorants, scrubs, lipsticks, and even hand creams. However, there’s a chance that parabens can be harmful to your children. It’s better to buy a hand cream that says paraben-free. Here are some concerns and alternatives to parabens:
- Parabens are found in breast tumors, and it mimics estrogenic activity associated with breast cancer. This fact is crucial to consider for your young and teenage girls.
- Alternatives to parabens include plant-derived ethylhexylglycerin or phenoxyethanol, naturally-derived ether alcohol.
- If you are concerned about parabens, inspect the labels on the hand cream and other skin products your children use for paraben content (e.g., alkyl parahydroxy benzoates, methylparaben, ethylparaben, isobutylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, isopropylparaben).
Sulfates are found in shampoo, toothpaste, body wash, and even hand creams, and are effective foaming and cleansing agents. Sulfates are considered safe up to 50 percent maximum concentration if they’re properly rinsed off your children’s skin. Nevertheless, there are hand creams that are sulfate-free. However, it’s important to note that sulfate-free products are not necessarily better. Many companies swap sulfates for other chemicals that are even worse. Here are some concerns and alternatives to sulfates:
- Sulfates are found to break down proteins which can lead to degenerative effects on the cell membrane.
- Sulfates tend to leave residue in the lungs, heart, and brain.
- When looking for sulfate-free hand creams, choose those that use vegetable or fruit-based cleansing ingredients.
3. BPA and Phthalates
BPA and phthalates are related chemicals which are plasticizers found in food packaging, drug coatings, and beauty care products. Just like baby products that usually boast a BPA-free status, here are some good reasons why BPA and phthalates should be avoided, even in hand cream tubes and bottles.
- BPA exposure may have serious consequences for prenatal development, reproduction, and sexual maturity.
- BPA contributes to overall environmental toxicity.
- BPA and phthalates can interfere with the normal use of hormones in the body (e.g., estrogen, testosterone, thyroid hormone, and adrenal hormone).
- These chemicals may lead to genital changes causing lower sperm count in boys and hormone regulation disruption in girls.
4. Formaldehyde-releasing Preservatives
Quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, and methenamine are some examples of formaldehyde-releasing preservative found in beauty care products. If it exceeds .05%, there’s a risk through inhalation. These preservatives may cause skin irritation and sensitivities. It’s better to choose natural alternatives when buying hand cream for your toddlers, school-age, and teenage children such as:
- Tea tree oil
- Grapefruit seed extract
- Vitamin E
5. PEG Compounds
Polyethylene glycols, or PEGs, refer to petroleum-based compounds used to soften, thicken, and gelatinize cream-based products. However, the issue with PEGs is that they’re usually contaminated with ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane. These are human carcinogens that can potentially harm the nervous system and can remain for long periods in the environment without degrading. Here are some facts about PEG compounds:
- PEG compounds enhance the penetration of other product ingredients into the skin but can be harmful in high concentrations.
- The number next to the ‘PEG’ indicates the number of units of ethylene glycol (e.g., PEG-4 or PEG-150). The more easily the product is absorbed into your children’s skin, the lower the number. Because you want to minimize the possible effects of ethylene glycol, aim for a higher PEG.
Generally, FDA-approved skin products are safe. By knowing the ingredients or components of hand cream or any other skin products, you reduce exposing your children to harmful chemicals. These chemicals, when accumulating on the skin, can be absorbed by the body, causing carcinogens and other medical conditions in the long run. It’s better to be on the safe side by choosing the right skin care products for your kids.