Mum myths

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Beauty -

AL­MOST nine out of 10 par­ents (89%) worry about the im­pact of chem­i­cals in ev­ery­day prod­ucts on their chil­dren’s health, ac­cord­ing to re­search by the Cos­metic, Toi­letry and Per­fumery As­so­ci­a­tion (CTPA).

And more than a third (35%) say they would stop us­ing a prod­uct im­me­di­ately if they read a me­dia story ques­tion­ing a prod­uct’s safety.

Faye Mino, spokesper­son for Bounty Par­ent­ing Club, says: “Many ex­pec­tant mums tell us that they are con­fused about what they should and shouldn’t do when they are preg­nant.

“Like­wise, par­ents are of­ten un­sure about which prod­ucts are safe to use on their ba­bies and what age they can be used from.”

With such pre­cious mo­ments at stake with baby-to-be or your new bun­dle of joy, the last thing you want to be wor­ry­ing about is what’s on your bath­room shelf.

Here, we bust the five top cos­met­ics myths that cause par­ents con­cern.

MYTH: EX­PO­SURE TO CHEM­I­CALS IN COS­MET­ICS DUR­ING PREG­NANCY CAN HARM AN UN­BORN CHILD

This is a big con­cern for one in six ex­pec­tant mums, but you can con­tinue to en­joy your favourite prod­ucts dur­ing preg­nancy stress-free.

In the case of cos­met­ics and per­sonal care prod­ucts, all prod­ucts must be rig­or­ously as­sessed for safety be­fore they are sold and this takes into ac­count use by women dur­ing preg­nancy, ac­cord­ing to the CTPA.

“Choos­ing for per­sonal choice or life­style should be the rea­son you buy and use a beauty prod­uct,” ad­vises Dr Emma Mered­ith, CTPA’s head of sci­ence and tech­ni­cal ser­vices.

“They are all safe, whether you’re an ex­pec­tant mum or us­ing them on your child.”

MYTH: COLOUR­ING YOUR HAIR AND SELF-TAN­NING SHOULD BE AVOIDED WHEN PREG­NANT

Around one in three women be­comes more aware of the chem­i­cals in their ev­ery­day prod­ucts when they get preg­nant.

But colour­ing your hair or us­ing self-tan­ners is per­fectly safe when you are ex­pect­ing or breast­feed­ing.

Dr Mered­ith says: “The amount of prod­uct ab­sorbed that is ap­plied top­i­cally is very min­i­mal, which is why most medicines are oral or in­jectable.”

Make sure you carry out the skin sen­si­tiv­ity test 48 hours be­fore colour­ing your hair.

There is no ev­i­dence to sug­gest us­ing cos­met­ics makes breast milk un­safe but, if self-tan­ning, avoid the breast area as it won’t taste or smell nice for your baby.

With so much con­flict­ing in­for­ma­tion sur­round­ing preg­nancy and ba­bies, it’s lit­tle won­der sleep de­prived new par­ents can feel con­fused by which prod­ucts are best for baby.

MYTH: YOU SHOULD ONLY USE NAT­U­RAL OR OR­GANIC PROD­UCTS ON BA­BIES’ SKIN

More than half of those polled by the CTPA be­lieve ‘nat­u­ral’ in­gre­di­ents are bet­ter for chil­dren, and more than a third (36%) feel safer with ‘or­ganic’.

But the body does not dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween things that are nat­u­ral or syn­thetic, ac­cord­ing to the CTPA.

“There’s a per­cep­tion that nat­u­ral and or­ganic prod­ucts are safer. They aren’t,” Dr Mered­ith ex­plains.

“All in­gre­di­ents have gone through ex­actly the same re­view and tests to en­sure the prod­uct is safe.”

There is an en­hanced safety as­sess­ment that’s legally re­quired for all prod­ucts in­tended for chil­dren un­der the age of three. Baby-tar­geted prod­ucts are spe­cially for­mu­lated us­ing milder cleansers, low lev­els of fra­grance and care­fully con­trolled pH.

MYTH: PARABENS CAN BE HARM­FUL TO CHIL­DREN

Parabens have re­ceived a bad press re­cently prompt­ing many beauty com­pa­nies to use al­ter­na­tives be­cause of the negativity sur­round­ing them, which in­cludes links to can­cer.

In fact, parabens are ideal preser­va­tives that keep prod­ucts free from bac­te­ria, moulds and fungi that might oth­er­wise cause real harm to the user.

“There are a list of preser­va­tives that has been ap­proved for safe use, and parabens is one of them,” Dr Mered­ith con­firms.

They are non­toxic to hu­man cells, and that in­cludes ba­bies and chil­dren.

MYTH: SUN-BLOCK ON CHIL­DREN’S SKIN CAN CAUSE VI­TA­MIN D DE­FI­CIENCY

There are mixed mes­sages about sun­screens and vi­ta­min D. Vi­ta­min D is es­sen­tial for good health, par­tic­u­larly in main­tain­ing healthy bones - but ex­ces­sive sun ex­po­sure can cause dam­age too so there needs to be a bal­ance, ac­cord­ing to the CTPA.

The Bri­tish Skin Foun­da­tion rec­om­mends chil­dren use a min­i­mum SPF30 prod­uct with UVA pro­tec­tion.

Dr Mered­ith ad­vises: “It’s not 100% achiev­able or prac­ti­cal to keep small ba­bies out of the sun en­tirely but it is im­por­tant to keep them pro­tected and in the shade as much as pos­si­ble.

“Use t-shirts, hats and all-in-one swim­ming suits to cut down on their sun ex­po­sure.”

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