Earlier in the week I came across this article in the Independent which states rather forcefully that parents failure to remove soapy residues from our children’s faces is basically causing allergies. As a parent with a one-year-old and three-year-old, I had to take a closer look. It made me ask myself, is being too clean damaging our children’s health?
ENTER THE WET WIPES
I will be the first to admit that I use wet wipes daily. For me they are the mum’s swiss army knife cleaning everything from floors to worktops, from dirty hands to faces. In a restaurant about to eat, I’ll hold my hand up and say my little ones get a wet wipe bath before I let them start their dinner. Highchairs, toys and even my own face has had the wet wipe treatment from time to time. I will admit that there is a rather loud voice in my head reminding me they are so unsustainable that it’s shameful, but they are just so damn convenient.
However, does this convenience come with an even bigger consequence than the environment? Could wet wipes be putting our children’s heath at risk? It seems so according to the article.
The fact of the matter is that most wet wipes on the market have chemicals in and using them on children’s skin leaves behind a soapy residue. This residue breaks own the skin’s natural oils and protection and once gone, leaves the skin more sensitive to chemicals. This sensitivity can then manifest with the usual allergy symptoms and will make pre-existing conditions such as eczema worse.
It makes sense when you think about it. After all, we’ve heard it for years about shampoo which strips our hair of their natural oils so why not our skin too when soap is not washed away. As parents we think we are doing good my keeping our children clean, but in reality, we could be creating unseen damage.
DO I THINK WET WIPES CAN CAUSE A FOOD ALLERGY THOUGH?
You know what, I’m not convinced. A skin sensitivity to soap powder for example; yes, it makes sense. Exasperating pre-existing skin conditions; sure. I’m convinced that breaking down and removing the skins natural oils will absolutely do that, and it has made me think twice about using wet wipes on the children. Both for their health as well as the environment.
However, wipes causing a protein allergy or a nut allergy or a lactose intolerance? I’m less convinced with that one. That being said, if I had a child who had an allergy would I switch to water wipes or give up wipes altogether in the hope it would make it better? Absolutely. After all, when it comes to our children, anything is worth trying right?
Has anyone else every experienced this? Did cutting out wet wipes make a difference? Would you stop using them if you think it would help? I’d love to know your thoughts on this too.