Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Green Baby Series: Bath and Body

If you missed the first post, be sure to check it out here! This week I'm sharing about diaper rash creams, lotions, body wash and sunscreen.

Diaper Rash
If you look up petrolatum on EWG, it has a moderate health concern, and this is the active ingredient in petroleum jelly, Aquaphor, A+D, as well as many other creams. Desitin maximum strength and rapid relief both received a 5/10 score, meaning a moderate health concern, due to BHA in the max strength, and propylparabens in the rapid relief. Parabens can potentially disrupt the endocrine system by mimicking estrogen, and are one of the chemicals that I have been really carefully to eliminate out of my family's life.

If you were going to choose one of the creams mentioned above, I would choose petroleum jelly, aquaphor, or A+D original. However, there are many natural alternatives out there. Some of our favorites are Babyganics Healing Groovy petroleum alternative, and Boudreaux's Buttpaste, All Natural.

Remember, you can’t trust everything that claims to be natural. For example, I purchased Burt's Bees diaper ointment and later found out that it contains retinyl acetate, which is a known human reproductive toxicant. I really despise companies that try to mislead their companies with labels such as 'l00% natural' and still place toxins in their products.

I know natural diaper creams (like most natural products) can be pricey, but I have an even better alternative for you: coconut oil! Seriously, this stuff competes with the best of them. I started using it when my son had a bad diaper rash that turned into a yeast infection. Nystatin still hadn't cleared everything after almost two weeks, so I decided to layer it with coconut oil, and we saw improvement right away. Coconut oil helps with yeast because of the antifungal properties. Now it’s my go-to when I start to see redness. If the rash needs a little more protection, I do a layer of coconut oil followed with a layer of Babyganics ‘healing groovy petroleum alternative.’ Another tried and true ‘natural’ treatment for diaper rash is naked time! A little airing-out time goes a long way! For stubborn rashes that are continuously irritated by dirty diapers, I’ve used baking soda in a warm bath (we used to use a tummy tub, but when we transitioned to the big tub I would do the baking soda in just a few inches of water) followed with around 30 minutes diaper free play time, followed by the coconut oil/cream method I listed above.

We live in San Diego, and spend a lot of time outdoors year-round, so skin protection is a must. For myself and my husband, I’ve relied on Coppertone Sport SPF 50. It does what it says it supposed to- prevent sunburns- but with an EWG rating of 7, who knows what other damage it is doing to my body. The first sunscreen I purchased for Caden was Babyganics Cover-Up Baby Sunscreen SPF 50, and the whole family ended up using it. I didn’t have any problems rubbing it in for Caden or myself, but my husband would groan every time I got it out because it would stick to his hair and leave his skin white. We also never got burned or even tanned while wearing it. Although EWG rates it a 2, I won’t be purchasing it again because there are better, more natural, choices on the market. After doing some research recently, I ordered ThinkBabySunscreen SPF 50+ to replace our last bottle of sunscreen. Sadly, I can’t review it yet because it is still in the mail! Safemama has a great list of natural sunscreens.

 I think it’s a safe bet to say that almost every mom receives Johnson’s baby lotion as a baby shower gift. I think it’s also a safe bet to say that most moms don’t know that is has propylparabens in it.

This is another example of me reaching for BabyGanics before doing any research. Soothing Daily Lotion, Cucumber Aloe, seems like it is a good option, but it is rated a 5 by EWG because of fragrance. This is the same rating as Johnson’s baby lotion, which contains parabens, so I still would choose BabyGanics if I had to choose between the two. (Side note- EWG does have a lot of great information, but some ratings can be misleading. It is a great starting point, but not the end-all be-all in my book.)

Our bottle of BabyGanics lotion is still sitting on the shelf ¾’s of the way full. What do we use? Coconut oil! It’s the magic cream that works for anything and everything. Seriously, in our house, the term, “try coconut oil” has been said way too many times! I even use it on both mine and Caden’s faces, and it dries very quickly without being oily.

Johnson’s baby shampoo, just like the lotion, is probably a U.S. household staple. EWG gives the shampoo a 5, due to fragrance and QUATERNIUM-15, which is a formaldehyde releaser. However, I’m not sure if new bottles still contain this toxin, since Johnson’s was supposed to phase it out by 2013. We use Burt’s Bee’s fragrance free shampoo & wash and haven’t had any problems. Just a warning- a lot of natural baby products have shea butter in them, and from our experience, it burns your eyes. So stick to shea butter in lotions, not body wash/shampoo.

If you get anything out of this post, I hope it makes you run out and buy a tub of organic virgin coconut oil! Pretty soon you will be calling it the magic cream also! I’ll see you next week for all about pacifiers and teething remedies!


  1. Oh, I never even thought to use coconut oil in place of lotion or for diaper rashes! Do you think it would work on unidentifiable rashes too? We have tried about a dozen different types of lotions and soaps and nothing has cleared his skin up. Maybe the coconut oil will? I'll have to get some and give it a try asap! :) Thanks again for sharing all this info. it's so good to know and nice to read!

  2. I've been using coconut oil for rushes since my trip to SE Asia last year. We couldn't get a cream in pharmacies but we were told that this may work. It did! It's very popular there for many skin conditions.