5 Synthetic Chemicals to Avoid at Bathtime

What we put on our skin is absorbed into our bodies. The American Journal of Public Health found that an average of 64% of the total dose of chemicals in public drinking water absorbed into the body through the skin. Infants have thinner skin than adults, therefore making their skin more permeable and sensitive to chemical exposure.

When we develop products at Sienna Naturals, we start with research of ingredients that are known for their effectiveness and safety, which is why we only used naturally derived ingredients. If you have been paying attention to the news surrounding the potentially harmful chemicals and ingredients that could be lurking in your baby’s shampoo, wash, lotions or other care products, you may be well versed in what to look for and how to read product labels. But, if you are like many of women and mothers I meet, you may find the process of navigating ingredients very confusing.

So, just what potential harm could these chemicals cause? Drawing on resources from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the Centers for Disease Control, and the FDA, I have put together a list with a few commonly used chemicals to avoid in personal care products for your baby and yourself.


5 Chemicals to avoid and why:

  1. Phthalates. Potential health effects: Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Endocrine system, Reproduction and fertility, Birth or developmental effects, Persistent and bioaccumulative, Brain and nervous system, Immune system (including sensitization and allergies).
  2. Parabens. Potential health effects: A study published in 2004 (Darbre, in the Journal of Applied Toxicology) detected parabens in breast tumors. The study also discussed this information in the context of the weak estrogen-like properties of parabens and the influence of estrogen on breast cancer. http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductandIngredientSafety/SelectedCosmeticIngredients/ucm128042.htm
  3. 1,4 Dioxane. Potential health effects: Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive). Studies in animals have shown that breathing, ingesting, or skin contact with 1,4-dioxane can result in liver and kidney damage. Laboratory rats and mice that drank water containing 1,4-dioxane during most of their lives developed liver cancer; the rats also developed cancer inside the nose. http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/phs/phs.asp?id=953&tid=199
  4. 2 bromo, 2 nitropropane, and 3-DIOL. Potential health effects: Allergy and skin irritation and in certain products it can break down to form cancer causing agents. http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient.php?ingred06=700019
  5. Sodium Laureth Sulfate. Potential health effects: Skin irritant and potential contamination with 1,4 Dioxane and Ethylene Oxide.


The environmental working group estimates that 57% of baby soaps may contain 1,4 Dioxane. There is a strong chance that if you turn over your baby shampoo, you may find a contaminant with this or another potentially harmful ingredients.


So, are you compelled to check out the products in your bathroom to find out how they stack up?

Good news! The EWG, through their website ‘Skin Deep’ has created a rating system for more than 74,000 personal care products. The tool is very simple to use: plug in the name of your baby care or adult beauty product, or an ingredient name and the site will give a safety rating along with an explanation of the product’s score.   http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/


Health and happiness, 


Founder of Sienna Naturals