Can allergies be caused by chemicals touching your baby's skin?
Posted on 19/04/18 7:27 PM
A recent research study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology highlights a problem we believe everyone, especially those with newborn babies, need to know.
What’s the problem? The problem is that we don’t know how the contact of chemicals with newborn babies skin affects the formation of the skin barrier and their immune system. This research is a preliminary look in to whether skin contact with food and chemicals such as those found in baby wipes can result in the development of allergies – and their findings tell us, YES they do!
We’re not saying all allergies are due to chemicals, there is genetics, epigenetics, microbiome, diet and other environmental factors too. But until we have more information about how all of these factors contribute, a precautionary approach is the SAFEST way to go.
What we do know is that a newborn’s skin is very thin, permeable and that the skin barrier is not formed until 4-6 weeks of age.
We also know that their immune system is not fully functioning until the age of 2 years.
We know that skin contact with allergens and cleansing agents can interfere with normal skin barrier function and possibly lead to allergies.
What things does a newborn come in contact with:
Food, skincare and cleaning chemicals on hands, lips, and cheeks.
Cleaning and preservation chemicals in clothing (theirs and those holding them), bedding and blankets.
Cleansing and preservation chemicals in nappies, baby wipes, soap, bubble bath, creams, lotions, shampoo, and conditioner.
Chemicals and flame retardants in carseats, prams, mattresses, bassinets and furniture.
Food particles, dust and disinfectant/cleaning chemicals from flooring and carpet.
The key thing is to be mindful of what does come in contact with your baby’s skin.
- Make sure hands are cleaned with mild soap (avoid antibacterial) before changing baby and after eating and handling food to avoid foods contacting your newborn baby’s skin.
- Use water only for cleaning baby in the first months of life.
- Make sure fabrics touching baby are washed before use with mild soap/detergent and if possible give them an extra rinse, hang them in the sunshine to dry if you can.
- Buy furniture and baby items that don’t contain flame retardants and have been tested for risky chemicals.