Saturday, August 25, 2012

More Petroleum Jelly Alternatives

The second most common use for petroleum jelly is as a barrier on our precious infant's bottoms. For babies, any toxic overload is magnified, because of their small size. Children are more vulnerable to the effects of toxic chemicals than adults. Their immune systems and central nervous system are immature and still developing, which means their bodies are generally less capable of eliminating toxins. As well, children have roughly double the skin surface of adults per unit of body weight, so a child can absorb proportionally more chemicals.

Well, one possible alternative is to do nothing. This is actually a fine plan. Washing baby well with each change, and changing baby as quickly as possibly when needed, may actually be a great way to avoid diaper rash.

However, some babies just seem to rash even with the best of care. When choosing an alternative product, take your handy list of "the toxic ten" with you and verify that your chosen product is free from all of them. Again, it all comes down to taking the time to read the label. Harmful ingredients include:  PEG, TEA, DMDM hydantoin, quaternium-15, parabens,  1,4-dioxane, fragrance, petroleum jelly, coal tar colours, ammonia, propylene glycol, mineral oil, sodium lauryl sulfate. There is no need for a scented product, so, I would avoid all added scents.

You might try using a natural oil, or blend of oils, such as sweet almond, peach kernel, grapeseed, or coconut. Preferably, you would use a certified organic oil. This will leave a thin film of protection between baby and diaper contents. These oils are also nutritious for skin.

My personal favorite is to use organic shea butter. In it's natural state, shea butter has the consistency of cottage cheese. It melts at body temperature. If the weather or room it is stored in is cool, it will be harder. Regardless, a small scoop in the hands, when rubbed together, will melt the shea and it can be applied to baby. It forms a water resistant film, yet allows the skin to breathe. It is very moisturizing, and is renowned for its skin softening properties. Shea is virtually unscented. For infants, even essential oils are unnecessary, and, should be avoided in all infant products.
eScential Wellness is currently developing a Baby Bum Butter, a vegan product made with organic coconut oil, organic cocoa butter and organic shea butter. There may be a faint coconut odor, but, this is inherent in organic virgin coconut oil and/or a faint chocolate aroma from the cocoa butter. These are not added fragrances. Look for it soon on the website,

Saturday, August 4, 2012

As promised: alternatives to petroleum jelly!

The most appropriate alternative will depend on what, exactly, you were using the petroleum jelly for in the first place. One of the most frequent uses is as a lip gloss. Because lip products are ultimately ingested, it would be wise to treat your lips to a moisturizing, lip healing, and non toxic lip balm, instead. There are several reputable brands around...but, read the label!!! Lip balms are not  all created equal, and, it is up to you, the consumer, to do your homework. Verify that they have a complete ingredient list, and, check that none of the "toxic ten" are in it. (Read one of my previous blog posts to see what the "Toxic Ten" are.)

There is one brand out there, whose name is practically synonymous with lip balm, that has earned this excerpt from Natural Skin Care reviews:  "--------- lip balm contains 11 chemicals that have not been assessed for safety in cosmetic formulas by the C.I.R. These chemicals are:Saccharin, MINERAL OIL, Camphor, White Wax, Saccharin, Flavors, Carnuba Wax, Arachadyl Propionate, 2-octyldodecanol, Polyphenylmethylsiloxane 556, Wax Paraffin, D&C Red #6 Barium Lake"

Camphor has the added problem of drying out your lips...which, of course, makes you reach for more lip balm...great for product sales, not so healthy for your smoocher.

Environmental Defence conducted a study that found:

  • "The highest levels of arsenic (70 ppm), cadmium (3 ppm), and lead (110 ppm) were all found in lip glosses, something which could be ingested
  • The product containing the highest level of lead was Benefit Benetint lip gloss, at 110ppm, over 10 times higher than the 10ppm limit set out in the Health Canada Draft Guidance on Heavy Metal Impurities in Cosmetics. This same product contained 70ppm of Arsenic, which is over 20 times higher than Health Canada's recommended limit of 3ppm." 

    To read the complete study, click here:

    Of course, look for a lip balm that uses organic ingredients. Then you can be assured that ingredients are free from pesticide residue, and, that they are not genetically modified (non-GMO.)

    All lip balms can be checked for safety on the web site I find it easier to access this site by going to your home page, and googling Skin Deep. Then, click on the products link. If you look up Burt's Bees 100% natural Lip balm (Honey) you'll find they rate it at a number 3 - moderately risky for toxicity.

    Course, goes without saying that all 7 of eScential Wellness lip balms are organic, and toxin free. 

    It may take some work on your part, but, consider it time well spent. 
    Next post: what to use to protect baby's bottom. :-)