Baby Mythbusting 101: What’s Really Safe for Baby Skin?

Wondering if "natural" is better for baby skin? Get the facts from an R&D expert and debunk some of the common misconceptions about baby products.

By David Mays

As a pharmacist, scientist, and dad, there is nothing more important to me than the health and well-being of my kids. When my kids were babies, I pulled out every stop to make sure I was doing the best I could and using products that were safe. That’s why now, at JOHNSON’S®, I make sure to treat everything I do with that same mentality.

As a parent in today’s world of connectivity, it’s perfectly normal to research baby products, especially those you use on baby skin. I’ve had the exciting opportunity to meet with Working Moms Against Guilt’s cofounder Susan Wenner Jackson and other JOHNSON’S® Baby CARES Council members several times to share my experience in this area and shed some light on the importance of knowing baby product ingredients.

Johnson & Johnson R&D expert David Mays with his two daughters.

I’m excited to have the chance to contribute to Working Moms Against Guilt today and use this opportunity to debunk some of the common misconceptions about baby products.

1. Tear-free products

A baby’s blink reflexes continue to develop long after birth, so sometimes your baby won’t know when to close his/her eyes during a bath, and not all baby products that promise to be tear-free are the same. JOHNSON’S® NO MORE TEARS® trademark provides reassurance of safety and mildness to the eyes, in case of accidental splashes. The thought that chemicals are added to numb a baby’s eyes is completely false. A product that carries the NO MORE TEARS® symbol is mild and has proven to be as gentle to the eyes as pure water.

2. Baby’s skin

A baby’s skin is way more sensitive and susceptible to irritants and changes in temperature or humidity. Even though your baby’s skin is naturally more hydrated than your own, during the first 12 months of life it loses water more quickly. Despite common misconception, putting lotion on your baby can happen as early as day one. Recent research has also shown the importance of using emollients, like lotions, early on help protects a baby’s delicate skin. So help keep them healthy by keeping baby skin moisturized and soft from an early age.

3. The truth about “natural”

For starters, everything contains chemicals since all fundamental ingredients are chemical in structure and function. A lot of fragrance allergens are composed of natural things like citrus fruits and flowers which can actually irritate a baby’s delicate skin. Preservatives may sound dangerous or scary, but they help prevent mold growth and contamination, especially in humid bathrooms. Rather than only looking for a “natural” notation on product labels, you’re better off buying from a brand you trust to provide products that have proven they are both safe and appropriate for your baby.

Visit the Johnson’s Baby YouTube channel for informative videos on parenting, products, and more.

David Mays is a father and R&D expert at Johnson & Johnson.

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5 thoughts on “Baby Mythbusting 101: What’s Really Safe for Baby Skin?

  1. Is this a paid post to advertise Johnson & Johnson products? If so, I think it should be noted as such. I was expecting a scientific explanation of why some products are better for children. Instead I read something like, “Trust me, I’m a scientist, my company’s product won’t hurt your child.”

    1. It is not a paid post. I am a member of the Johnson’s Baby Cares Council, which is how I’ve had the opportunity to hear and learn a lot about the scientific explanations you might have expected here. This article was something I requested from the folks at Johnson’s, and volunteered to post for our readers. I encourage you to check out for some of the more detailed information on these topics.

  2. I agree with Cara. Though I appreciate David’s perspective, it would also be helpful to have someone with a different background weigh in on this topic – perhaps a guest post from an expert at the Environmental Working Group?

    1. I think that’s a great idea. I will reach out the folks at EWG to see if they can provide some insights on how to choose safe baby products.

    2. Check out Ava Anderson. She has done a lot of research on the toxic chemicals put in our body products, and has a wonderful line of safe products.

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