we all use countless baby wipes as we raise our children and finding the perfect wipe can be a challenge, especially when considering things like diaper rash, recalls, and harsh ingredients. which wipes out there performed the best with the fewest wipes all while being safe on sensitive skin? i’ve teamed up with reviews.com to provide you with a helpful resource when trying to find a safe + effective baby wipe.
wipes need to be tough + gentle on your infant’s skin, but with so many options on the market, it can be hard to discern the best one. a quality wipe comes down to a list of different factors: cost, ingredient lists, size/thickness, and much more.
first, take a look at wipes that contain alcohol or synthetic fragrances. alcohols, particularly simple ones (denatured, ethanol, and isopropyl) or aromatic options (often a benzyl alcohol), can dry out sensitive skin. not so good in a product used as often on baby’s most tender areas. also ditch synthetic fragrance, as opposed to ones derived from natural essential oils. this is because synthetic fragrance can be a source of phthalates, which have been linked to allergic skin reactions. although they have their place, avoid using any wipes that are antibacterial for those sensitive areas, like Wet Ones, which are meant to kill germs, and are classified differently than baby wipes by the FDA.
a research team at Reviews.com went the extra mile to find any additional potentially irritating or harmful ingredients. after all, even if your baby doesn’t have a known skin allergy, you want the safest wipe possible for such a delicate area.
so, these are more ingredients to avoid:
- Methylisothiazolinone. this common preservative has been linked to cases of contact allergic dermatitis.
- Parabens. the verdict is still out for this preservative. some have concerns about skin irritation, and more significantly, endocrine disruption, while the National Institutes of Health (NIH) says ultimately, “Parabens are rarely irritating or sensitizing to normal human skin at concentrations used in cosmetics.” however, we weren’t willing to run the risk with baby skin.
- 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol. this preservative has formaldehyde-releasing properties, and research has also linked it to skin irritation and allergy.
- Iodopropynyl butylcarbamate. a preservative that is toxic when inhaled. babies do like to put things in their mouths, so it seemed best to avoid.
- Phenoxyethanol. similarly, this common preservative has been known to cause vomiting and diarrhea when consumed. the FDA raised concerns about phenoxyethanol in a nipple cream, which was recalled. again, we erred on the side of caution. this knocked out Costco’s popular Kirkland Signature wipes.
- Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate. this preservative, included in well-known natural brand Earth’s Best, has been linked to skin allergies.
- Chlorhexidine. an antiseptic used in medical settings that has been linked to skin damage in preemie babies, which eliminated Fresh ‘n Clean wipes.
when it comes to baby wipes, look for plant-based ingredients, and avoid potential allergens and irritating preservatives. you’ll know you’ve made the right choice when your baby’s skin stays fresh and smooth after a cleaning — no matter how messy.