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Ingredient Explainer: Natural and Synthetic Ingredients in Baby Products


Parents often seek out natural products for their babies, and they do so because they want to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their children. But it’s important to know that not all naturally derived ingredients and components are safe. What matters most is that every single ingredient used individually – and in combination with others – is safe.

Synthetic vs natural ingredients in baby products

Knowing the reasons why natural, naturally derived, and synthetic ingredients are used, and specifically how they work together to improve product safety, enables parents to make the best possible skin care choices for their babies.

Understanding Natural Ingredients
Natural ingredients are those that are derived from plants, animals, and minerals and that undergo minimal processing. For example, the red color carmine is from beetles, mica powders are from mineral mines, and the skin conditioner aloe is extracted from desert plants. 

However, it’s important to keep in mind that just because a product is natural doesn’t mean it is safe – or effective. And not all natural products are inherently good for a baby’s skin – or anyone’s skin, for that matter. As the Food and Drug Administration explains, “[i]t’s important not to assume that using only ingredients from plants will make your products safe.” 

Creating The Most Effective – and Safest – Skin-Care Routine

You might be surprised to know that the majority of cosmetic products, even natural brands, use synthetic ingredients. These products have been tested, vetted and approved and are, overwhelmingly, safe for use.

When looking at the label, it is important to know that ingredients that appear first that represent the highest concentrations of that product are generally natural or naturally derived. Synthetic ingredients are chosen for a variety of reasons, including improving quality, safety, stewardship, and sustainability profiles for the cosmetic and personal care products. For example, preservatives are added to protect natural ingredients and consumers from harmful bacteria, mold, and fungal contamination.

And it’s not just about protection from contamination – the safety profile of a product can also be improved by adding synthetic ingredients. The inherent light sensitivity of lavender oils, for example, is significantly reduced with the addition of proper synthetic ingredients.

Whether you prefer, natural, naturally derived, or synthetic ingredients, the most important aspect is that you find products and a routine that works for your child’s unique skin.


Links to third-party sources in this content are provided are for educational purposes only. No sponsorship or endorsement is implied. This article includes information from the National Eczema Association, the Mayo Clinic and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

©Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. 2017

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