What would we do without baby wipes? They truly are one of the greatest conveniences of the 20th century. I bet you’re tempted to use them on your face at night to take your makeup off. Hey, I’m right there with you. Are baby wipes safe to use on your face?
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Chemicals In Baby Wipes
The good news is the number one ingredient in baby wipes is water. The bad news – what is the quality of that water? Unfiltered water can contain toxic elements, such as, chlorine, mercury, and other heavy metals. Other, potentially toxic ingredients, commonly used in many brands of baby wipes include:
- Cocamidopropyl Betaine – Although this chemical, used as a surfactant, is derived from coconut oil, it’s not as innocuous as it sounds. It’s frequently contaminated with toxic chemicals that can react with other substances, making them carcinogenic.
- Tocopheryl acetate – This is a form of vitamin E that can be potentially irritating to the skin. It’s used because it’s cheap. No big revelation there.
- Caprylyl Glycol – Used as a skin conditioning agent and antimicrobial, this can be plant or chemical-derived.
- PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil – PEG-40 is typically used to thicken skincare products, and can be contaminated with carcinogenic chemicals.
- Disodium EDTA – This chemical can be toxic in large doses when taken orally. It’s used as a preservative. Whether it’s safe or not is controversial.
Kirkland Baby Wipes Ingredients
Here’s a breakdown of the ingredients in Kirkland baby wipes, which are hypoallergenic and don’t contain chlorine, alcohol, dyes, parabens or phthalates. Parabens and phthalates interfere with hormones, particularly estrogen and testosterone. 99% of the ingredients are considered natural so I wanted to review them, along with the fact, that many people buy this brand in bulk.
Kirkland is Costco’s brand of wipes. Take a look at the other ingredients:
- Purified water – Water is the main ingredient and it’s purified so should be free of toxic chemicals
- Phenoxyethanol – Although it sounds dangerous, this chemical is found in green tea and synthetically produced in a laboratory. It fights bacteria. While considered safe, it’s still a chemical.
- Decyl Glucoside – This is a mild surfactant used in both cosmetics and baby shampoos. It’s plant-based and biodegradable.
- Tetrasodium glutamate diacetate – This is a mouthful to say and doesn’t sound good, but it’s actually made from plant material, and is biodegradable. It’s used as a preservative and is considered safe.
- Sodium benzoate – The sodium salt of benzoic acid, sodium benzoate is an antimicrobial preservative and flavoring agent widely used in food.
Natural Skincare Ingredients
Here’s a list of the natural ingredients in Kirkland’s baby wipes:
- Sodium citrate – This is a derivative of citric acid so is natural and safe.
- Citric acid – this natural compound comes from citrus fruit and is added to wipes for stability. I use it in my skincare products, and to make bath bombs. I wouldn’t use it if it weren’t safe so I give this ingredient a thumbs up.
- Sodium bicarbonate – This is good old baking soda.
- Glycerin – This is safe, as well, and comes from vegetable oil. I use it in my vitamin C serum.
- Cucumis sativus fruit extract – This extract comes from the cucumber plant and is used as an emollient.
- Calendula officinalis flower extract – Produced from the flower heads of calendula, this extract is used as an anti-inflammatory.
- Glycyrrhiza glabra root extract – This extract is used as a moisturizer and is better known as licorice.
- Chamomile recutita flower – We all love chamomile for its soothing medicinal effects.
- Aloe barbadensis leaf extract – Aloe also has soothing properties. It’s safe, unless of course, you have an allergy to it. This applies to all ingredients.
Are Baby Wipes Safe?
Baby wipes contain a lot of ingredients, and I won’t argue that they’re very convenient. BUT, water and a high-quality natural soap is always going to be better, and less toxic than a product that has 14 ingredients in it – even if the products is deemed to be safe.
Of course, labeling can often be misleading. As consumers we never know exactly what we’re getting even when the ingredients are disclosed. It’s possible to buy organic baby wipes, but that isn’t sustainable for most people due to cost.
Make Your Own Baby Wipes
If you’re ambitious, you can make your own baby wipes using bamboo paper towels. Bamboo isn’t sprayed and is a sustainable crop. It’s soft, yet durable, and very absorbent.
Using a whole roll of towels, cut them into fourths or halves, and place in a large bowl. Pour a cup of witch hazel over the towels. You can add a few drops of your favorite essential oils and a little aloe to the witch hazel if you’d like. When the witch hazel if fully absorbed, place the towels in a ziplock bag or other airtight container.
Witch hazel is an antiseptic, making it the ideal ingredient for use in baby wipes. These homemade wipes would also be fantastic to use on your face because witch hazel is a natural astringent that removes excess oil from the skin. In fact, you’ll find it in most natural acne treatments for this very reason. Witch hazel is a botanical compound that comes from the leaves and bark of the witch hazel shrub.
If baby wipes are safe enough for your baby’s behind, they’re safe enough to use on your face, at least occasionally. So go ahead and use them on those nights you can barely make it to you bed, let alone wash and moisture your face. DIY wipes would be better, but you can only do what you can do, right?
Do you use baby wipes? Let me know in the comments:)
(1) National Library of Medicine National Center for Biotechnology Information: Cocamidopropyl betaine
(2) National Library of Medicine National Center for Biotechnology Information: Tocopheryl acetate
(3) National Library of Medicine National Center for Biotechnology Information: Safety assessment of 1,2-glycols as used in cosmetics
(4) EWG’s Skin Deep: TETRASODIUM GLUTAMATE DIACETATE
(5) EWG’s Skin Deep: PEG-40 HYDROGENATED CASTOR OIL
(6) National Library of Medicine National Center for Biotechnology Information: Final report on the safety assessment of EDTA, calcium disodium EDTA, diammonium EDTA, dipotassium EDTA, disodium EDTA, TEA-EDTA, tetrasodium EDTA, tripotassium EDTA, trisodium EDTA, HEDTA, and trisodium HEDTA
(7) healthline: Is Phenoxyethanol in Cosmetics Safe?
(8) National Library of Medicine National Center for Biotechnology Information: Safety assessment of decyl glucoside and other alkyl glucosides as used in cosmetics
(9) ResearchGate: Boosting the Antimicrobial Efficiency of Multifunctional Additives by Chelating Agents
(10) Cosmeticsinfo.org: Citric Acid
(11) SpecialChem: Sodium Citrate
(12) Independent Chemical: Is Sodium Benzoate Safe in Cosmetics?