Family toiletry and cosmetic safety webchat - Mon 26 July

With a baby-on-board or little people to think about choosing safe family products can be baffling, what with complicated labels and stories about products in the press.

To put your mind at rest we're pleased to welcome Dr Emma Meredith, from the UK's Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA) to host a web chat with us on Monday 26th July from 12-pm.

Don't worry if you can't make the time and date of this chat. Post your question now and come back after to view your answer from Emma...







[Modified by: bxwebmaster on 26 July 2010 10:35:25 ]

Posts

  • Welcome to today's webchat on toiletry and cosmetic safety with the CTPA.

    Dr Emma Meredith will be here from 12pm to answer your questions for an hour...

    [Modified by: bxwebmaster on July 26, 2010 11:56 AM]

  • Hi Emma

    I've heard that I shouldn't use talc on my baby as the particles can get into her lungs and cause allergies or asthma. Is this true? I find it easier and quicker to use after her bath and find that she quite likes it, but will stop if it is wrong.

    Thanks

  • Hi BabyExpert, this is Emma. I am Head of Scientific and Technical Services at the CTPA. Before this I was a hospital pharmacist and was often asked questions by concerned parents and mums-to-be over a whole host of issues. I am really passionate about the cosmetics industry and the safety of its products and I'm looking forward to answering your questions today.

    I'm happy to answer questions on lots of topics including cosmetic safety during pregnancy, breastfeeding and sun safety for children; I'll also be happy to dispel any myths you've heard about chemicals used in cosmetics and toiletries.

    So what would you like to know?
  • Hi Emma

    I've heard that I shouldn't use talc on my baby as the particles can get into her lungs and cause allergies or asthma. Is this true? I find it easier and quicker to use after her bath and find that she quite likes it, but will stop if it is wrong.

    Thanks


    Hi Lillyandme
    Thanks for asking a question. It's good to hear from you.
    Although cosmetic talcum powder is very fine in texture and could be easily breathed in, the small amounts inhaled in everyday use are safe and would not cause any long-term problems like allergies and asthma - or anything else. Cosmetic talcum powder containers are designed to ensure only small quantities come out when used. However, as I'm sure you are aware, you shouldn't let your baby play with the container since there is a risk of choking on the powder if the top comes off.

    Hope this helps
    Emma
  • Hi Emma, what's your advice on using organic toiletries for baby? I'm confused about whether organic ingredients are really better for baby's skin than standard ones, I'd like to use them but they are so expensive and I'm not sure whether it's really a benefit, or just a luxury. Thanks
  • Hi Emma
    I was hoping for some advice on nappy creams. We mainly use bepanthen but occasionally sudocrem. My health visitor has told me not to use sudocrem as it has alcohol in it and can sting baby's bum. Is this the case?
    Thanks in advance.
    Sapphire
  • Hi Emma, what's your advice on using organic toiletries for baby? I'm confused about whether organic ingredients are really better for baby's skin than standard ones, I'd like to use them but they are so expensive and I'm not sure whether it's really a benefit, or just a luxury. Thanks


    Hi Ali
    Thanks for contacting me today.
    The reason behind choosing products for your baby, and for yourself, should be based on whether you like the product and if it works for you - but not out of concerns of safety. It is a common misconception that natural and organic products are safer or less irritating than other products. All ingredients, whether natural, organic or man-made have to be safe for use in cosmetic products. Also, all cosmetic products are assessed for safety; this is required by law and an enhanced safety assessment is required for all cosmetic products intended for use on children under three years of age.

    So you can be confident that whatever products you choose from baby ranges will be safe to use on your child.

    I hope this reassures you.
    Emma
  • Hi Emma
    I have a question on the best laundry soaps? What is the difference between biological and non biological laundry powder and gels? I use biological as it works so well on stains (my children can't seem to eat anything without spilling) but if it is this tough on clothes is it bad for our skin and environment, should I be switching to non biological? The really environmentally friendly ones are so much more expensive and don't get the job done as well? Any advice appreciated, thanks...

  • Hi I am ttc and am just wondering about the following when I do (fingers crossed get pregnant). Please can you tell me why you shouldn't get your hair dyed whilst you're pregnant or breatfeeding and what can be used instead? Can I still use some fake tans, and should I stop getting my acrylic nails done?
    Thanks so much
  • Hi Emma
    I was hoping for some advice on nappy creams. We mainly use bepanthen but occasionally sudocrem. My health visitor has told me not to use sudocrem as it has alcohol in it and can sting baby's bum. Is this the case?
    Thanks in advance.
    Sapphire

    Hi Sapphire
    Thanks for your question. Products that are aimed at treating nappy rash are not actually cosmetic products, creams for keeping the area moist probably will be.

    I'm afraid I don't know specifically if these two creams contain alcohol or not. However, if your cream is a cosmetic product it will have all the ingredients listed on pack and if it contains alcohol then you will see this on the label as -alcohol denat'. If your cream is medicinal then ingredients will also be listed in a slightly different way but you will be able to recognise alcohol on the label.

    Alcohol is used in creams because of its solvent properties but it can dissolve oils and fats from the skin and remove water; so it is termed as having a drying effect and some people may find it mildly irritating. Some products will be labelled "alcohol free" for people looking to avoid these effects.

    I can understand some health visitors saying to avoid alcohol because if your baby's skin is broken with nappy rash then it might sting. But if your baby doesn't have nappy rash then they probably won't be affected.

    I hope this helps
    Emma
  • Hi I am ttc and am just wondering about the following when I do (fingers crossed get pregnant). Please can you tell me why you shouldn't get your hair dyed whilst you're pregnant or breatfeeding and what can be used instead? Can I still use some fake tans, and should I stop getting my acrylic nails done?
    Thanks so much

    Hi Clare_bear
    Good luck with your plans for a family.

    There is absolutely no problem with getting your hair coloured while pregnant or when breastfeeding. Always go for a widely recognised brand - which I am sure you would anyway.
    It is really important to make sure you follow the product instructions and carry out an allergy alert test as directed 48 hours before colouring your hair.

    Also self-tanning products are safe to use during pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding although you probably wouldn't want to apply it to your breasts because it won't taste or smell very nice for your baby and you wouldn't want them to swallow it.

    Similarly, having your nails done will be fine too. Just make sure you are visiting a reputable salon that has proper ventilation.

    However, some women can become anxious about cosmetic treatments at this time and for them it is better to avoid the source of anxiety - even though there are no safety concerns with cosmetic products themselves.

    Cosmetic products are covered by strict safety laws which includes a safety assessment for each product. The safety assessment must take into account all the different situations and conditions in which the products are likely to be used, including their use by women during pregnancy. If any risks at all are identified, the law requires that product makers must put clear warnings on the product labels. All cosmetic products must be safe and this means you can continue to enjoy your cosmetic products during pregnancy.

    I hope this answers all your questions.

    Best wishes
    Emma
  • Thanks for doing this interesting chat, I have 2 questions:

    I've heard that SLS & parabens included in family & baby products that make shower and bath creams bubble can cause harm even cancer, is there any truth in this, should we be avoiding them?

    Is -mineral' make-up really that much better for your skin or just something that has been thought up by marketing and make-up companies to jump on the -organic generation' bandwagon?

    Thanks for your answers

  • Hi Emma,

    This will sound silly, but how often should I change my toddler's toothbrush? I change mine every 3 months or so (I think!), and we all use the normal disposeable ones.

    Should I be changing my tiddler's toothbrush more frequently for any reason?

    Thanks,
    Rhian
  • Hi Emma
    I have a question on the best laundry soaps? What is the difference between biological and non biological laundry powder and gels? I use biological as it works so well on stains (my children can't seem to eat anything without spilling) but if it is this tough on clothes is it bad for our skin and environment, should I be switching to non biological? The really environmentally friendly ones are so much more expensive and don't get the job done as well? Any advice appreciated, thanks...



    Hi MrsMUMMYUK
    I'm afraid questions about laundry products are outside our area of expertise at CTPA but I'm sure our sister association, the UK Cleaning Products Industry Association (UKCPI), can help ([email protected]).
    I do know that rules governing the environmental safety of laundry products apply to all, whether or not the product makes specific claims about the environment. Also, using an effective laundry product means that you use less hot water in the wash and this is a key point to consider in protecting the environment (www.washright.com).
    Sorry I can't answer your specific question on bio and non-bio products but I hope this is of some help.
    Emma
  • Thanks so much to Dr Emma Meredith and the CTPA for such a great webchat.

    Dr Emma is kindly going to answer all the questions posted before 1pm.

    For more information about the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA) and the safety of products visit: http://www.thefactsabout.co.uk>;

    Thanks also to our users for your interesting questions.
  • Thanks for doing this interesting chat, I have 2 questions:

    I've heard that SLS & parabens included in family & baby products that make shower and bath creams bubble can cause harm even cancer, is there any truth in this, should we be avoiding them?

    Is -mineral' make-up really that much better for your skin or just something that has been thought up by marketing and make-up companies to jump on the -organic generation' bandwagon?

    Thanks for your answers



    Hello Clare

    I'm glad you are finding this interesting and I am hoping that my replies so far have been helpful.

    SLS
    With regard to SLS, this is a question that we are asked quite a lot at CTPA because, unfortunately, an old internet rumour is routinely re-circulated, and is often perpetuated in media articles, that alleges that the use of SLES (sodium laureth sulfate) and SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) are not safe in cosmetic products. This is just not true. Both SLS and SLES have excellent safety records with a wealth of information from around the world on safe use.

    The reason these ingredients are used is because they enable products to do what they need to do. They're technically called surfactants (???????surface - active agent???????). Surfactants have many functions including: cleaning agents to dissolve dirt; suspending agents to keep solid particles from separating out of a liquid product; boosting foam; and as emulsifiers, enabling oil and water to mix. They're very good at what they're supposed to do, they give products that contain them the feel and properties which people like.

    SLS and SLES are very effective cleansing agents, which are widely used, and it is therefore not surprising that other industries would choose to use these safe, effective and biodegradable cleansers. The amounts used in products used on our skin are perfectly safe and are lower and totally different from how they would be used in other industrial settings.

    Parabens
    We are also asked a lot about parabens. The allegations about parabens and links to cancer are simply untrue; sadly the misinformation about these safe and effective preservatives has been widely repeated. Parabens are not a cause of cancer of any kind and people who repeat these stories are only scaring you needlessly.

    Parabens are preservatives and preservatives keep products free from bacteria, moulds and fungi that would otherwise spoil the product and could cause real harm to the user. Parabens are very good at this and yet they are non-toxic to human cells. This is because our own skin cells rapidly and easily break parabens down into harmless smaller pieces. In this form, they are not able to cause harm and do not lead to allergies. It also means they cannot persist in the environment or harm wildlife in any way. Far from being dangerous, parabens are perhaps the ideal preservative, which is why they are also widely found in nature in things as diverse as royal jelly made by bees to fruits such as raspberries. All we are doing is copying nature's own preservative and using it in a way approved under European cosmetics laws.

    I hope this reassures you.

    Mineral make-up
    Mineral make-up is an alternative type of cosmetic product which tends to use a higher amount of mineral ingredients (such as titanium dioxide, zinc oxide and mica). Every individual is different, and as for all cosmetic products you have to find a brand or range of products that suits you. There is unfortunately no one product type that suits everybody, but all cosmetics on the market have to be safe.

    I hope this helps.

    Emma
  • Hi Emma,

    This will sound silly, but how often should I change my toddler's toothbrush? I change mine every 3 months or so (I think!), and we all use the normal disposeable ones.

    Should I be changing my tiddler's toothbrush more frequently for any reason?

    Thanks,
    Rhian

    Hello Rhian

    It's great to hear that your toddler is into oral care.

    Although toothbrushes are not part of CTPA's area of expertise, general advice (www.dentalhealth.org.uk) seems to be to change your toothbrush every 2-3 months. My advice would also be to talk to your dentist about caring for your toddler's teeth.

    I hope this is of some help.
    Emma
  • Thanks so much to Dr Emma Meredith and the CTPA for such a great webchat.

    Dr Emma is kindly going to answer all the questions posted before 1pm.

    For more information about the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA) and the safety of products visit: http://www.thefactsabout.co.uk>;

    Thanks also to our users for your interesting questions.

    Thanks BabyExpert,

    I've really enjoyed our chat today. Thank you for all your questions and I hope I've helped address any concerns you have.

    As time has been short today, and as mentioned above, the CTPA website www.thefactsabout.co.uk contains a wealth of factual information and independent references about your cosmetics and toiletries. If you have further questions you can send these to me using the contact us facility on the website.

    Thanks again.
    Best wishes
    Emma
    Dr Emma Meredith
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