A rising number of children suffer from allergies and some of the key culprits include commonly used products, such as bubble bath, soaps or sun care lotions.
Most of these types of allergies come in the form of skin reactions – rashes, eczema, spots, irritation or even blisters. They’re painful, itchy and may cause a burning sensation on the skin and are really unpleasant.
It’s sometimes hard to know exactly what is causing the reaction but, if you suspect a bathing product, soap or Shampoo May Be The Cause, a process of elimination can be a good way of sussing out the problem. For example, if you think the soap could be the cause, stop using it for a while, or change to an alternative product.
Here’s why some of the products commonly on offer can cause allergic reactions, the ingredients to avoid, and tips on buying safe products for Allergy Sufferers.
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Soap and Cleansing Products
Many of the soaps sold on the high street boast that they’re ‘natural,’ but often they’re not. In fact, many products are made up of synthesised chemicals containing petroleum-based detergents – not nice or natural ingredients that will be gentle on the skin. Rather than cleansing the skin, the chemicals can have a drying effect and irritate sensitive skin. When you’re buying soap and cleansing products, take a careful look at the ingredients list first.
You’d expect baby products to take into consideration the fact that baby skin is delicate, but alarmingly not all manufacturers do. Some products contain mineral oil – a petrochemical – synthetic detergents, preservatives and artificial fragrances. They can be too harsh on a baby’s skin and cause unwanted allergic reactions.
It’s a lovely notion to include some gentle, pleasant smelling bubbles in your bath, but if you’re using them with children, it pays to shop around. Many bottled bubble baths are made from synthetic detergents, man-made dyes (which provide vivid colour) and artificial fragrances. It may look pretty in the water, but unwanted side-effects include skin rashes and irritation. In some instances, children are even susceptible to getting urinary tract and kidney infections from bubble bath.
Sun Care Products
Sun care products, such as sunscreen and lotion, are used to protect children’s skin from Sun Exposure. While they certainly do that job well and are valuable to use, some children may suffer additional unwanted effects in the form of allergic reactions and skin irritation. This is due to some ingredients in certain products, namely cinnamtes (such as octyl, methoxycinnamate and cinoxate) and benzophenones. Sometimes the alcohol and preservatives used also cause problems.
If your child suffers from skin allergies due to products such as these, you need to reduce their use or cut them out completely. Allergies can be treated, but if you continuously use the suspect products, it will just aggravate the problem. Some children will grow out of the allergy, or may eventually become immune to it, but finding alternative products that aren’t so harsh on the skin is recommended.
When you’re buying and choosing products, be aware of these issues:
- Try before you buy – some shops, especially those specialising in products that really are natural (e.g. Lush) are happy to provide small samples of products, so you can test them out and see how your child’s skin reacts.
- Read the ingredients – it’s easy to spot chemicals and artificial ingredients on the product label (look for some of the ones mentioned above), but if you’re unsure, don’t be afraid to ask questions.
- Contact the manufacturer – if the shop assistants can’t help answer your queries, find out if the manufacturer has a helpline available and call for more details.
- Hypo-allergenic products – these are generally kinder on the skin.
- Aqueous cream – if eczema is the problem, and it is diagnosed by a doctor, then use aqueous cream instead of soap.
- Natural alternatives – if you shop around and search hard enough, there usually are effective alternatives that really are natural and won’t cause loads of unwanted effects.
- Sensitive skin – look for products for sensitive skin as sometimes that can reduce the reaction.
- Cost – you may have to pay over the odds for natural products, but with your child’s health in question, it’s worth it.