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Health Tips 1.0: Choosing Ingredients for Baby Wet Wipes

 
嬰兒濕紙巾

Nowadays, many parents have a clear understanding that baby wet wipes unavoidably contain chemical ingredients. Otherwise, wet wipes could develop mold in humid conditions (the shelf life of baby wet wipes typically ranges from 2 to 3 years).

Please note that currently, there is no brand of baby wet wipes on the market that explicitly states "Free of Preservatives."

However, if circumstances necessitate the use of baby wet wipes instead of Roaze multipurpose wipes, parents need to be particularly cautious about avoiding baby wet wipes that contain the following ingredients. Otherwise, if a baby's skin becomes damaged, subsequent skin issues are more likely to recur. This not only makes the baby uncomfortable but also affects the caregiver's emotions.

Remember, baby wet wipes should not contain the following 4 ingredients:

1. Paraben and Phenoxyethanol Preservatives

The EU recommends avoiding the use of "parabens." Research suggests that prolonged exposure to "parabens" or "phenoxyethanol" preservatives could lead to hormonal imbalances. The former can also impact male reproductive abilities. Phenoxyethanol, an oily liquid, is toxic to the blood and liver. Additionally, it can lead to allergies. Currently, in the production of hygiene and beauty products, Europe sets the maximum concentration of this preservative at less than 1%. However, this concentration is still substantial for newborns. Many countries have already prohibited the use of this ingredient in products for infants and toddlers under 3 years old.

2. Propylene Glycol

The majority of wet wipes contain propylene glycol. What is propylene glycol? It's a thick, slightly sweet liquid with moisturizing, preservative, and antibacterial properties. Besides wet wipes, it's found in products like body wash, lotions, cosmetics, ointments, and even as a solvent in the pharmaceutical industry for creams and vitamin solutions. It's undeniable that as long as propylene glycol remains within prescribed limits, limited ingestion or skin contact is generally acceptable for most people. Under normal wet wipe usage conditions, there's usually no issue of "poisoning."

However, propylene glycol is still a toxic substance, and long-term use is not advisable. This is especially true for babies with delicate skin. Prolonged use might irritate the baby's skin, leading to allergic reactions and other skin issues. Continuous use of such wipes for cleaning hands and eating can also introduce toxic substances into the digestive system, posing safety risks. Many major baby wipe brands also include this ingredient, but they do not disclose the exact amount. Therefore, parents should use baby wet wipes sparingly for their infants and toddlers.

Given that propylene glycol isn't a favorable ingredient for babies, why is it added to baby wet wipes?

One common reason is moisturization. Propylene glycol acts similarly to glycerin, drawing moisture from the air to the skin, preventing the skin from becoming dry after using wet wipes due to liquid evaporation. Another reason is antibacterial properties. Most baby wet wipes are not individually packaged, and due to their moisture content, bacteria can easily grow on their surfaces once opened. This poses a health risk upon subsequent use. Propylene glycol's antibacterial activity is meant to slow down bacterial growth within the wipes.

3. Alcohol and Fragrances

Alcohol is known to be irritating and volatile. Applying it to the skin can lead to water loss and a sensation of tightness. Using such ingredients on babies and infants can cause discomfort, and fragrances can irritate the skin and lead to allergic reactions.

Fluorescent Brighteners

Fluorescent brighteners are used to make wet wipes appear whiter. As long as they're not used excessively, they generally don't have a significant adverse effect on the body. However, it's important to note that if these substances enter the body through wounds or other pathways, they can bind to proteins, making them difficult to excrete and potentially causing cell mutations, with potential carcinogenic risks. When parents choose baby wet wipes for their babies, in addition to scrutinizing the ingredients, they should test a small area of the baby's skin first and discontinue use immediately if any allergic reactions occur. Furthermore, it's advisable to avoid using baby wet wipes on sensitive parts of the baby's body, such as the buttocks, cheeks, neck, and facial features. This is especially important when the baby has skin issues like drool rash, diaper rash, dermatitis, allergies, and so on.

In general situations, using plain water or Roaze multipurpose wipes is the most suitable choice for newborns and young children.

 

Below is a common ingredient list for baby wet wipes, provided for reference:

Common Ingredients Usage Disadvantages
Purified Water Basic Ingredients  
Rayon Non-woven Basic Ingredients  
Propylene Glycol Moisturizer
For sensitive skin, even a 2% concentration can cause allergic reactions.
Butylene Glycol Moisturizer Compared to propylene glycol, it has lower irritability.
Methylparaben Antibacterial Agent, Preservative It could react with UVB ultraviolet radiation, thereby increasing the risk of skin aging.
Methylisothiazolinone Antibacterial Agent, Preservative Suspected to have cellular and neurotoxicity.
Aloe Barbadensis Moisturizing Application of aloe vera has no significant side effects, but oral consumption might lead to diarrhea.
Sodium Benzoate Preservative It is classified as having a low risk of causing skin allergies.
Polyaminopropyl Biguanide Preservative It is irritating to the skin and eyes.
Citric Acid Buffering Agent, pH Regulator, Natural Preservative It is irritating to the skin and eyes.
Phenoxyethanol Preservative, Fragrance Fixative It is classified as having a low risk of causing skin allergies.
Cetylpyridinium Chloride Antibacterial Agent, Surface Active Agent  
Benzalkonium Chloride Antibacterial Agent, Surface Active Agent It is irritating to the skin and eyes.
Benzoic Acid Preservative, Emollient It has irritant effects on the skin, eyes, nose, and throat.
Disodium EDTA Chelating Agent, Preservative Enhancer It may have irritant effects.
PEG-60 Surface Active Agent, result in a smoother texture When the skin is injured or inflamed, solubilizers might cause stinging and itching
PHMG Broad-Spectrum Antimicrobial Agent  
Quaternary Ammonium Salt Disinfectant It is irritating to the skin and eyes.

Source: Wiki/CosDNA