How Avoiding Food Ingredients in Skin Care Can Reduce Food Allergies

As parents, we strive to provide the best care for our little ones, nurturing them in every possible way to ensure their health and well-being. Among the multitude of concerns that we face as parents everyday, food allergies stand out as a significant worry. This is understandable given that as per the Victorian Government of Health, 1 in 5 Australians have an allergic disease.

Emerging research suggests that environmental factors, including early skin exposure to food allergens, may contribute to the development of allergies for our little ones. Our babies skin is so precious, smooth and soft, and we strive to keep it this way through the use of skincare products.

How can skincare use affect development of allergies?

The link between food allergies and skincare products lies in the permeability of an infant's delicate skin. Studies have shown that the skin barrier in newborns is not fully developed, making it more susceptible to the absorption of substances applied to the skin. Ingredients commonly found in skincare products, such as lotions, creams, oils and ointments, can infiltrate the skin and potentially sensitise the immune system to certain food proteins, potentially increasing the risk of your little one developing a food allergy.

There are an abundance of baby skincare products and brands available, and we are marketed these products from all angles. The baby aisle at the supermarket or chemist can be incredibly overwhelming!

So, what should we look for when purchasing skincare products for our

We encourage parents to assess the ingredient lists of skincare products intended for their babies. While many ingredients are harmless, some may pose a risk, especially if they contain proteins from common food allergens including peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, eggs, soy, wheat, sesame, fish, or shellfish (the most common allergy causing foods accounting for 90% of allergies).

It is of significance to note that natural, organic or homemade skincare remedies, while seemingly gentle and safe (and often marketed as the best), can also contain potentially allergenic ingredients and botanicals such as almond oil or wheat proteins and should also be assessed.

Opting for products with simple, hypoallergenic formulations can minimise the likelihood of exposing your baby's skin to potential allergens. Look for products that are pH neutral, soap-free, non-fragranced and that are free from botanicals and food ingredients.

The current advice for parents is to ensure that our babies ingest potential allergenic foods orally, to decrease the risk of developing a food allergy. Never smear of rub food on your baby’s skin.

If you have previously used a skin product that has included a food ingredient, this does not mean your child will develop an allergy, so there is no need to panic.

In summary, try to ensure that your child’s first exposure to a food is through their mouth (ingested) before being exposed to their skin.

We hope you now feel empowered and informed to choose a skincare products for your babies bath or massage routine that most suits your family- such a precious bonding time with your baby.

Almost time to start solids? Check out our intro to solids and choking masterclass.

As always, information on this website is for educational purposes only. Please consult your GP for information specific to your child.

Written on the 24th of March 2024 by Shayna, a Paediatric Emergency Nurse and new mum.


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