Something you might not know about our female founder team is that we are all parents. The ages of our children vary from 1,5 to 18 years so together we do know a thing or two about parenting.
Something that we don’t know though is why there are still no properly good skincare products that are appropriate for babies and children. It is almost a little annoying.
In fact every time our hopes are up because a new baby skincare launch is happening we usually start shaking our heads in frustration as soon as we take a look at the inci’s. But as usual let’s start at the beginning. First thing’s first: Why is baby skin so special?
2. The fragile nature of baby skin: Understanding the need for clean skincare
It is no rocket science to understand that the skin of babies is different to adult skin. Unlike ours, a baby’s skin is considerably thinner, more porous, and significantly more sensitive. Its delicacy is a testament to its vulnerability, making it highly susceptible to irritation, allergic reactions, and absorption of harmful substances.
The outer layer of a baby’s skin, the epidermis, is not fully developed at birth, making it less effective as a barrier against environmental factors. This developmental phase means that their skin can easily lose moisture, becoming dry and prone to rashes or other skin issues.
The pH balance of infant skin is distinct from that of adults too. Any disruption to this delicate equilibrium can lead to discomfort or skin conditions, underscoring the need for gentle, non-irritating skincare products specifically tailored for babies.
Given these inherent vulnerabilities, the necessity of using clean skincare products becomes absolutely clear.
The types of baby skin care products
Baby skincare products come in various forms tailored to meet the needs of delicate infant skin.
Creams offer rich hydration and protection, ideal for dry patches and soothing irritation.
Lotions provide a lighter, easily absorbable option suitable for daily moisturizing.
Washes, designed to be gentle and soap-free, cleanse without stripping natural oils.
Oils offer nourishment and can be used for massage or as a natural moisturizer. Additionally, shampoos formulated for babies ensure a mild cleanse, keeping in mind their sensitive scalp and hair.
Choosing clean skincare options formulated with natural non-irritating and fragrance free ingredients is essential to safeguarding the health and comfort of the little ones.
On the other hand products laden with less gentle ingredients and fragrances, can wreak havoc on baby’s sensitive skin, causing redness, itching, or more severe reactions.
So technically it should be possible for a parent to pick up any baby skincare product for a reasonable price and feel happy about a good choice for their baby’s skin. The common brands usually claim their products are „pediatrician proven“ and mild to the skin. But looking at the ingredients of the vast majority of baby skincare products (no matter the price range) we are not so sure about it.
This for example is a list of ingredients of a very popular brand’s baby shampoo and bath:
Ingredients – Aqua, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Myreth Sulfate, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Lauryl Glucoside, Glucose, Glycerin, Sodium Chloride, Lactic Acid, Polyquaternium-7, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Citric Acid, PEG-200 Hydrogenated Glyceryl Palmate, PEG-90 Glyceryl Isostearate, Laureth-2, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Parfum.
9 of these ingredients are concerning for baby skin due to their potential to cause irritation or sensitivity reactions. Let us explain a little more in detail.
3. The ingredients we don’t want to see in skincare for babies/Ingredients to avoid
As you can see above brands are frequently including the following ingredients to their baby skincare ranges leading to a variety of problems. The most common of these problematic ingredients in baby skincare are:
– Paraffinum Liquidum: Often found in skincare products for its emollient properties, paraffin can create a barrier on the skin, but it may also clog pores and hinder the skin’s natural ability to breathe. For a baby’s sensitive skin, avoiding such occlusive ingredients is essential.
– PEGs (Polyethylene Glycols): PEGs are commonly used in skincare as thickeners or solvents. However, they can be harsh on delicate skin, potentially causing irritation and allergic reactions. For babies, opting for products without PEGs ensures gentler care.
– Silicones: While silicone may offer a smooth feel and create a protective barrier, it can also trap impurities, potentially leading to skin irritation or exacerbating existing skin conditions. Baby skincare devoid of silicone is preferable for maintaining the skin’s natural balance.
– EDTAs (Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid): Used as a preservative or to improve product texture, EDTAs might cause skin sensitivities in some individuals. Babies, with their tender skin, are more susceptible, hence the avoidance of such additives is advisable.
– Chlorphenesin, Sodium Chloride, and Alcohol/ Ethanol: These ingredients may cause dryness, irritation, or allergic reactions in sensitive skin, making them unsuitable for baby skincare formulations.
– Parabens: Parabens are preservatives that prevent bacterial growth in skincare products. However, they have been linked to potential hormone disruption and have been phased out from many baby products due to safety concerns.
– Essential Oils and Fragrances: Fragrances, even if they smell pleasant, may contain chemicals that can cause adverse reactions. Opting for fragrance-free products minimizes the risk of skin sensitivities. The same applies to essential oils due to their potential to cause skin irritation, sensitivity, or allergic reactions
– Nano Particles: Tiny particles used in skincare, especially sunscreens, for enhanced protection. Concerns exist about their ability to deeply penetrate the skin, potentially causing unknown long-term effects or adverse reactions, making their use in baby skincare a concern.
– Homosalate: A common ingredient found in sunscreens, primarily used to absorb UVB rays. While considered safe for most adults in sunscreen formulations, it can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions in some individuals, especially those with sensitive skin. For babies and those with delicate skin, using products without homosalate can be a safer choice to prevent potential skin reactions or irritations.
– Octocrylene: Octocrylene is another UV-filtering chemical commonly used in sunscreens to protect against UVB and some UVA rays. However, similar to homosalate, it may cause skin irritation or allergic reactions, particularly in sensitive individuals.
We are aware that this is quite a long list. It doesn’t leave a lot of ingredients that can be used in formulations for baby skincare. But you know what, that is exactly our point: Simplicity is key!
Best baby skin care products
Baby skincare should ideally be straightforward, focusing on minimal dermis care through gentle cleansing routines, moisturizing and protection including sun protection.
Simplicity is key—opting for products that are free of skin irritants and devoid of overly complex formulations. Choosing uncomplicated, natural and main allergen free ingredients helps in maintaining the delicate balance of a baby’s skin without overwhelming it with unnecessary ingredients or engineered additives.
Opting for hypoallergenic (do not trust a label that states this without checking the inci’s first) and fragrance-free baby skincare products ensures gentle care that nurtures their skin’s health and well-being. One would think it can’t be that difficult to provide exactly these kind of products but what we see out there on the retail shelves is quite different.
4. Challenges of the baby skincare industry
The prevalence of skincare products for babies containing less ideal ingredients stems from a complex interplay of factors within the industry. One significant contributor is the lack of stringent regulation and existing loopholes that permit the inclusion of less good substances.
Inadequate oversight and ambiguous labeling standards create opportunities for companies to use ingredients that might not be in the best interest of a baby’s delicate skin.
But that isn’t our only problem when it comes to baby skincare…
5. Industry standards vs. reality: Why brands focus on parents rather than baby’s skin
In the world of baby skincare, marketing often targets parents, tugging at their heartstrings with promises of safety and care for their little ones. However, behind the charming packaging and persuasive ads lies a concerning truth—many brands prioritize appealing to parental sentiments rather than addressing the specific needs of delicate baby skin.
These brands, particularly heritage brands, often focus on fragrance, aiming to evoke nostalgia or create an aura of cleanliness, while sidelining the actual needs of a baby’s delicate and sensitive skin. Fragrances, while appealing to adults, are just not appropriate for baby’s skin.
Over-complicated baby skincare formulations
Other brands tend to over-complicate baby skincare formulations, often neglecting the simplicity that suffices for gentle care, unnecessarily complicating solutions for a delicate matter. They compile an extensive array of innovative ingredients for their products, package them in fancy designs, acquire endorsements from pediatricians, and voila—a new “amazing” baby skincare product is primed for the retail market shelves…
These marketing approaches, while successful in captivating the attention of parents, unfortunately neglect the crucial aspect of formulating products that prioritize gentleness & purity of a baby’s developing skin. In doing so, these brands miss the mark when it comes to providing skincare that genuinely nurtures and protects the delicate skin of our little ones.
DIOR we love a lot about you but not your baby products
The latest popular baby skincare launch confirms our theory. This is from the Dior press release from early November 2023: „Baby Dior scented water and skincare products embody the poetic interplay of two creators: Cordélia de Castellane, who adorns each bottle with enchantingly childlike designs, and Francis Kurkdjian, the creator of the dreamy notes of Bonne Étoile.“
The inspiration for the product line was Christian Dior’s youth in Granville: „Baby Dior scented water and skincare are a gentle reminder of sweet memories of early childhood, enveloping baby’s every waking moment in softness.“
We also understand the luxury skincare market, but does it really need a „Hydrating Milk for Baby and Child“ for 105 EUR? Let’s make skincare products for our kids accessible.
6. Skincare products and makeup tailored for kids and teenagers
As the sub headline suggest – it is not only baby skincare that is questionable.
Ensuring the cleanliness and regulation of skincare products and makeup tailored for kids and teenagers is of paramount importance too.
Products such as kids’ lip gloss which they very, very often end up licking off, make up for dress-up parties, and sheet masks designed for teenagers should adhere to stricter safety standards. Young, developing skin is highly sensitive and prone to reactions; therefore, it’s imperative that these products are formulated with clean ingredients.
Adolescents experimenting with make up or skincare often overlook the potential risks associated with certain ingredients.
Whether for occasional use during play or routine skincare, clean products ensure the well-being of young users, fostering a sense of responsibility in the beauty industry towards the next generation.
So yes, we really need a shift in focus—one that places the well-being of our kids at the forefront.
Mom and baby care products
Something that we really like and that came up over the last months is the significance of shared skincare experiences within families. The idea of ‘Mom and baby care products’ advocates for formulations designed to cater to the gentle needs of both mother and child – no matter how old.
This concept promotes the creation of versatile and clean skincare items suitable for delicate skin of babies & children and the preferences of mothers seeking simplicity in their routine.
Such products could encompass gentle cleansers, moisturizers, or soothing balms, emphasizing shared care and comfort, thereby providing an opportunity for brands to broaden their offerings to accommodate family-centric skincare needs.
We are quite excited to work on a project like that in the near future. There is just still so much room to create and be innovative with it.
7. Empowering choices: Advocating for change in the (baby) skincare industry
What baby, children and teenager skin genuinely requires— a gentle, minimalistic care suited to their delicate skin needs – is hard to find. We did a bit of research and didn’t come across what we were looking for. We see a huge potential for brands taking on that mission.
These brands ideally recognize the critical need for action to enhance quality standards and transparency within our industry.
At Mind The Beauty we strongly encourage fellow brands to join us in advocating for change and we are here to support them actively.
Together with our partnering lab’s in Italy we are ready to pave the way for a future where clean,and transparent baby & kid’s skincare becomes the standard, ensuring a nurturing and secure environment for the littlest members of our community.
Let’s get in contact and talk about your private label idea! We are looking forward to meet you!