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.”