Tag Archives: baby

Not Puppy Love: Why is Formaldehyde in Shampoo

When you last went to the store, did you buy soap or shampoo? Have you recently purchased shampoo for your dog or cat? If so, did you even consider that there might be formaldehyde in shampoo, soap, and other skin care products you use every day for your pets, your baby, or yourself? This is the sad, but sometimes true reality of the products we have in our homes. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Really, there’s formaldehyde in shampoo?!

By now you’ve probably seen the adorable pictures that blogger Jessica Shyba took of her son Beau napping with the family dog Theo.

Puppy and baby got us talking here at Soap Hope about what goes into products for kids and pets.

We picked up a bottle of dog shampoo at the local pet store and had a look at the ingredient list. It started off fine – water, honey extract, and chamomile extract seemed like winners to us — but why was artificial fragrance, DMDM Hydantoin, and Tetrasodium EDTA in dog shampoo?

Formaldehyde is for the Dogs

DMDM Hydantoin is a preservative that works by releasing formaldehyde into the product continuously over time. Formaldehyde does a great job inhibiting the growth of mold; but it’s also a known carcinogen, and most people don’t want it on their bodies or on their pets – especially when the puppy is snuggled up with the kids.

The consumer goods industry in the U.S. has a lot of leeway. If they want formaldehyde in shampoo, for example, but you don’t want to tell their customers, they can just add DMDM Hydantoin instead. The DMDM Hydantoin will slowly break down into formaldehyde in the shampoo throughout the life of the product. Problem solved!

(In the European Union, companies can’t get away with this trick: if an ingredient in their product breaks down into formaldehyde, they have to write “contains formaldehyde” on the label.)

In the Dog House

It’s not just Theo’s shampoo we think about at Soap Hope, it’s young Beau’s as well. Until 2014, Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo had Quaternium-15 in it. You guessed it – Quaternium-15 releases formaldehyde in shampoo and other products they designed for babies. Years of public outcry finally caused Johnson & Johnson to reformulate their baby shampoo.

J&J Removing Formaldehyde in Shampoo
J&J removes formaldehyde-causing ingredients in their shampoo.
Image Source: NYTimes.com

Shampoo needs a preservative to prevent the growth of bacteria. Big manufacturers don’t care that Quaternium-15 and DMDM Hydantoin produce formaldehyde; they care that they are very cheap and give their products a shelf life of over a year. These manufacturers know they can put pretty pictures on the products and make commercials with happy kids and pets, and that most people won’t look any further.

“No more tears!” Not quite.

Better Ways

There are better ways for manufacturers to preserve shampoo rather, than putting formaldehyde in their products. They can use a low-risk food-grade preservative like potassium sorbate, which has the same toxicity level as table salt. Even better, they can use vitamin e (tocopherol).

Some manufacturers don’t even require a preservative. For your pooch, try the totally natural Woof Wild Dog Shampoo Bar. Hand made by Maggie Hanus at A Wild Soap Bar, this shampoo bar has organic oils, aloe, oats, clay, sea salt, essential oils, yucca root and horsemint. It will leave your dog’s coat soft, shiny, and smelling great.

For moms and dads looking for a safe shampoo, we recommend any products from Acure Organics.

For baby’s bath time, try Hugo Natural’s Chamomile Vanilla Shampoo and Wash, followed by Badger’s Chamomile & Calendula Baby Oil, which contains nothing but certified organic essential oils.

What other ingredients are you worried about in your body care products? Let us know.

The Basics Behind Your Baby’s Skin

We’ve all heard the phrase,  “smooth as a baby’s bottom.”

There’s a lot of truth behind that idiom — newborns and infants have especially soft skin. It’s why we love snuggling them so much!

But that smooth skin also needs to be cared for and protected, especially while our little ones are growing and developing.  Why?

Infant skin is several times more sensitive than yours.

Babies grow and develop at such a fast rate — parents are especially aware of this, especially when little ones start crawling and putting everything in their mouths.

baby feet

Their skin is also developing, and this includes adapting to their new environment.

“Unlike adult skin, newborn skin is thinner and may not fully mature for up to 12 months,” explains Jo Bridgman, Midwife for the Johnson’s baby Professional Team. “It absorbs and loses water faster, leaving it vulnerable to dryness and irritation. Infant skin can be up to ten times more sensitive than adult skin, making it prone to conditions like atopic dermatitis and eczema.”

Take extra care when cleaning your baby’s skin.

Anyone who’s changed a diaper knows the importance of keeping an infant’s skin clean and protected.

From taking care of diaper disasters to battling irritating rashes, keeping your kiddo’s skin clean might feel like a lost cause.

A baby’s epidermis is not as fully developed as an adult’s, so it’s thinner and has smaller cells.  This means your child’s skin has an increased risk of bacterial growth and may be more prone to irritation.”

babyProtective barriers over baby’s skin can be especially helpful here, ensuring that moisture stays in and bad bacteria stay out. Using ointments with zinc oxide are great for healing diaper rash and provide that layer of protection.

Breakouts, cradle cap, and eczema are common, but preventable.

Because a baby’s skin absorbs everything so much more easily, things like acne and cradle cap are going to happen.

Many of these conditions, while they might seem alarming, are totally normal. Something like cradle cap, for instance, is mostly harmless: “Possibly it has to do with overactive sebaceous glands in the skin of newborn babies, due to the mother’s hormones still in the baby’s circulation.”

And if you remember last week’s post about dry shampoo, you’ll recall that sebaceous glands will overproduce oil when skin gets dry — so using natural, nutrient-rich moisturizers and oils on your little one’s skin can help to prevent that overproduction.

Shop Baby Skincare Products at Soap HopeIt’s a lot to digest, and there’s certainly no shortage of advice out there when it comes to parenting and caring for your child’s health.

But never fear!

Skin conditions like sunburn, eczema, and diaper rash are no match for our baby skincare products at Soap Hope — so you and your kiddos can feel clean and safe.

No Thanks To Paraben

Last week, Environmental Science and Technology published the results of a study by researchers from Arizona State University and State University of New York’s Downstate School of Public Health.

The study tracked 180 pregnant women in Brooklyn, New York. The study found triclosan – a commonly used chemical in antibacterial soaps – in 100% of the women’s urine. Every one!

The same researchers also found parabens in 100% of the cord blood samples they tested, with triclosan in half of them.

Endocrine-disrupting parabens like triclosan affect the body’s hormone system. It has been clearly shown that there is a relationship in humans between triclosan levels in the body and allergies. A study by the National Institutes of Health shows that the more triclosan you have in your system, the more likely you are to develop allergic reactions to a variety of foods, for example.

The irony is that other studies reveal that simply washing your hands with plain soap and water is just as effective at eliminating bacteria as using a soap with triclosan in it.

Triclosan does act as a preservative in consumer products – but so does vitamin E, which is what many of our makers use in their products. Why do big manufacturers use triclosan? It’s cheaper. They don’t appear to be concerned about the side effects on people or the environment. They also know there’s nothing especially “antibacterial” for the user of their product, but they market it that way anyway.

We have strict standards about what may be used in products at Soap Hope. Triclosan, and every other paraben, is banned from the products we carry at Soap Hope. Our carefully selected products simply will never have parabens, period.

Essential oils? Definitely. Vitamin E? Yes, please. Parabens? No thanks.

Our goal is to free you from reading labels – we read them for you. If you find it at Soap Hope, it has passed our research test. And when you buy it here, the entire profit for your purchase goes to empower women. Soap Hope means “Everything Good for Body and Home.”