Sunday, December 23, 2007

Shampoos So Safe And So fine!

Shampoos are an essential part of our cleaning routine. But have you ever notice what goes into them to maintain our crowning glory? A typical supermarket shampoo contains the following ingredients : Water, sodium C12-13 pareth sulfate, cocamidopropyl betaine, dimethiconol, dimethiconol/silsequioxane copolymer, laureth-23, TEA-dodecylbenzenesulfonate, guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, cucumis sativus (cucumber fruit extract), propylene glycol, metha-aquatica leat extract, sodium chloride, disodium EDTA, DMDM hydantoin, PPG-26, fragrance(synthetic). You can probably find a few ingredients which are natural (in bold) but found at the end of the ingredient list. The product mainly contains synthetic chemicals including silicone derivatives, fragrance and preservatives. Let us look at the ingredients of a reputable 'Made in USA' shampoo which is sold only in salons for about $20. Water, sodium laureth sulfate, cocamide DEA, cocamidopropyl betaine, matricaria extract, nettle extract, rosermary extract, quillaja saponaria extract, tocopheryl acetate, keratin amino acids, panthenol, avocado oil, allantoin, soybean sterol, honey, ceramide 3, wheat flour lipids, polyquaternium-10, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, alpha-glucan oligosaccharide, butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane, ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, styrene/mthacrylic acid/itaconic acid polymer, myristic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid, magnesium citrate, sodium chloride, polyglyceryl-3 distearate, polysorbate 60, guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylsothiazolinone, citric acid, propylene glycol, propylparaben, methylparaben, fragrance (synthetic). You find a few truly natural and wholesome ingredients (in bold) in larger concentrations in this formulation but loads and loads of synthetic chemicals and preservatives. I find at least four in the product above. I have used the above product for years without knowing what goes inside. Finally, let us look at the organic shampoo which I am currently using. Organic aloe vera leaf juice, coco polyglucose, Yucca Schidigera extract, organic rice bran extract, non-GMO lecithin, d-panthenol (pro-vit 5), sunflower oil, organic avocado fruit oil, non-GMO xanthan gum, organic lime essential oil, proprietry blend of essential oils (natural parfum), citric acid, organic horsetail extract, organic nettle extract, organic burdock extract, organic rosemary extract, organic sage extract. I love this Desert Flower Shampoo for several reasons : It is completely safe. It uses natural ingredients. It uses organic ingredients certified to food standards by reputable certification body Australian Certified Organic. This shampoo is meant for normal to dry hair and is ultra mild for daily use. It is suitable for children and babies too. It contains Yucca juice and coco polyglucose which gently cleanse the hair. My husband has oilier hair and he uses Miessence Lemon Myrtle shampoo. He also loves the invigorating aroma of organic lemon. It has the following ingredients : Organic aloe vera leaf juice, coco polyglucose, d-panthenol (pro-vit 5), proprietry blend of essential oils (natural parfum), non-gmo xanthan gum, organic lemon myrtle essential oil, citric acid, organic horsetail extract, organic nettle extract, organic burdock extract, organic rosemary extract, organic sage extract. My little boy uses Miessence Desert Flower Shampoo. However, I love to also use Aromababy's Pure Hair Cleanse to wash his hair. I can be rest assured of its safe and simple ingredients used : Purified Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Polysorbate 20, Xanthan Gum, Orange Sweet Essential Oil, Geranium Bourbon Essential Oil, Hydroxymethylglycinate.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Enjoying Baby Massage

It is now well documented that baby massage can play a vital role in aiding relaxation, digestion and to promote bonding. Research has also found massage to be a valuable tool in encouraging weight gain, particularly for the premature baby. Supervised massage is an ideal way for older siblings to bond with a new baby and is a great way to get Dad involved in caring for his newborn. For toddlers who seem unable to lie still, massage time can also be used as ‘sharing’ time or story time and provide an opportunity for quiet and gentle communication. The long, rhythmic and fluid strokes of massage can be instrumental in helping even older children prepare for slumber and are definitely nurturing and soothing to us all.

Massaged babies :

  • Gain weight more quickly, compared to unmassaged babies.
  • Have lower levels of "stress hormones" cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine.
  • Have increased level of serotonin, the "happiness hormone".
  • Fall asleep more quickly and easily.
  • Do better on developmental tests and interaction assessments.
  • Cry less and feel more secure.
  • Become more alert and have more motor activity (especially for premature babies).
  • Have greater "alert time" in which the baby is awake and quiet but alert - it is thought that infants learn best in this mode.
  • Have increased activity in the vagus, the part of the brain related to attentiveness.
Some parents, however, fail to understand the importance of the actual product they use to massage their baby. For a newborns or very young infants, a good choice may be a cold pressed, preferably organic natural oil which is petro-chemical free. Oils such as Sweet Almond or Jojoba are ideal but offer little nourishment to the skin on its own. A pre-blended product that is aroma-free (no essential oils or added artificial fragrance) and contains a simple mix of cold pressed, naturally nourishing oils such as Calendula or Evening Primrose oils may provide additional benefits to dry, sensitive skin. These types of oils are rich in natural fatty acids and vitamins and can help to moisture dry skin whilst providing a medium for gentle, fluid movement. __________________________________________________________________________________________
AROMABABY® have developed massage oils that contain no essential oils, as a result of consultation with various members of both infant massage Associations in Australia, over a period of time. Its Newborn Organic Jojoba oil uses up to 99% certified organic Jojoba oil, an oil with a chemical structure closest to our skin's. Its Mother & Child massage oil is made up of the following ingredients : Cold Pressed Pure Sweet Almond Oil (prunis dulcis), Evening Primrose Oil, Calendula Healing Oil, d-Alpha-Tocopherol (GM- free Natural Vitamin E). Both oils contain an added natural anti-oxidant which is a high grade, certified GM-free natural vitamin E (d-alpha Tocopherol). This ensures a reasonable product shelf life (a rancid oil could go undetected by a novice and can cause more harm to Baby than good).
I have giving my son more massages during the cold and dry wintry weather and really saw a visible improvement in his skin condition. The massage oils helped in moisturising his skin as well, an added bonus of baby massage.
________________________________________________________________ TIPS TO CONSIDER PRIOR TO BABY MASSAGE
  • Prior to massage, take time out for yourself, take a few deep breaths if necessary, and ensure you are totally relaxed and prepared to spend some quality time with your child.
  • Always ensure you massage in a warm environment - an infants body temperature can drop dramatically when undressed, so keep a towel/blanket or spare clothes close by for draping over the parts of the body not being massaged.
  • Take care when handling Baby as freshly-massaged infants/children can be extremely slippery. I usually massage my son on his mattress, where he will fall asleep for his nap, so I need not worry about having to carry him.
  • Avoid any harsh lights (including sunlight) that may be too bright for the infant to look into whilst lying down. A room which is dimly lit or filled with gentle sunlight is ideal.
  • Massage with Baby placed on a bed or thick blanket.
  • If you listened to some particularly soothing music whilst pregnant, you may like to play this softly. It is very reassuring for Baby to hear your voice whilst being massaged to hum, speak softly or sing to your Baby during this special time as you caress and stroke them.
  • Short, clean fingernails are essential and remove any jewellery or rings that may interfere.
  • If you have long hair, tie it back and roll up any long sleeves.
  • Ensure you keep one hand in contact with Baby's skin at all times - this will help with the flow of energy between you and your child and allows Baby to look around and take in their surroundings without having to keep checking that you are still there.
  • Avoid massaging over wounds, surgery or cuts or recent scar tissue. It is not recommended to massage an infant who has a fever, unusual heart condition, blood pressure problems or a contagious disease or you may encourage it to spread.
  • Take care not to massage on Baby's abdomen immediately following a feed or when he/she has the hiccups. Massage of other areas during this time is fine.
  • Do not massage a newborn infant at bath time as this can be over-stimulating. If your infant is older than four months, and you wish to massage at bath time, it is best to massage after the bath to allow the oils to be absorbed by the skin.
  • Never watch the clock during massage you will know when either you, or more importantly your baby has had enough. Infant massage is beneficial to both you and your baby so take the telephone off the hook and enjoy!



1. Always start at the legs for newborns, as this is least intrusive area. Begin by holding Baby's right foot in your left hand, gently stroking up the leg with your right hand, from the outside of the ankle, up over the knee and to the inner thigh, then sweeping down to the inside ankle. Repeat each stroke 2-3 times.

2. Using both hands, apply a gentle 'wringing' action, squeezing up and down the length of the leg, finishing at the ankle.

3. Use your thumb to lightly circle the soles of the feet, gently squeezing and releasing Baby's toes one by one. Gently move one hand off Baby's leg and onto the other leg, then move your second hand over so as not to break the flow of fluid movement. Continue to massage Baby's other leg using strokes explained in Steps 1-3.

4. Move up toward the tummy area and make contact with this new 'space' so Baby becomes familiar with the area to be massaged next. This is an ideal time to introduce circle shapes and shapes of letters, even spelling out words on the skin, making the massage more enjoyable particularly for the older child. Be sure to maintain eye contact as you explain the shape or word you are making to your child. Keep in mind strokes should be in a clockwise direction and should be confined to the abdomen only. Massage Baby's tummy from YOUR left to right, (clockwise) in the direction of their digestive tract, using small circles with fingertips or the flat of your hand and taking care to avoid the umbilical cord area.

5. Complete the front by placing both hands in the centre of Baby's chest and sweep up and out over the centre of the chest, over the shoulders and hugging the entire length of the arms finishing off at the fingertips . Using both hands massage Baby's arms using a gentle squeezing up and down, finishing off at the fingertips. Massage each finger from knuckle to tip but do not attempt to restrain your baby if he/she curls fingers, kicks or moves arms during any part of the massage.

6. Gently turn Baby over and use the whole hand to stroke from the shoulders, down Baby's back to the buttocks - take care of Baby's delicate spinal area and so always work on either side of the spine.

7. Use both thumbs/knuckles to make small light circles around the top of the buttocks using both hands, starting toward the middle and moving out to the sides. Gently knead the buttocks simultaneously with both thumbs/knuckles using a roll-and-lift action.

8. Move onto the back of Baby's legs and use a gentle wring and release action starting at the top of one leg, massaging from the thigh all the way down the back of the leg and onto the soles of the foot. Move hands one at a time gently onto the second leg and repeat these movements.

9. Using long, light and fluid strokes from the head to Baby's toes, finish off the back area.

10. Carefully turn your baby over and stroke across the forehead using fingertips of both hands. Starting in the middle and gliding out toward Baby's temples. Pause for a moment and use feather-light circles around the temple area. Do not massage near the eye/eyelids and take care not to get oil near Baby's eye area.

Remember baby massage is a time of bonding so always maintain an unhurried and relaxed attitude. I have been giving my son regular massages after bath since he was born till now. It is always a wonderful quiet time for him and for me. It is very rewarding to see him enjoying the massage and slowly drifts into dreamland after that. It also encourages him to nap better and longer! Try it today!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Safe Milk Bottles And Toddler Cups II

I have managed to send all of my son's Avent's polycarbonate (#7 plastic) milk bottles for recycling. I went shopping on Sunday and was trying to find some bottles which are made of Polypropylene (#5 plastic/PP). I found Pigeon's MagMag (there are two types - one could be made of clear polycarbonate and another type is made of safe polypropylene) bottles which can be fitted with wide-necked teats, spouts or straws but the maximum volume is 150ml. You can go up to 200ml but that is right to the brim! Medela's bottles have the same small volumes and they are not cheap. 3 for about $30 and that does not include bottle caps and teats. After much consideration, I bought Aprica's milk bottles and Mug Kiss (which is a toddler cup with straw). They are lovely! And they were on promotion. I got the two bottles and the Mug Kiss for $49. That did not include the expensive Aprica teats or extra straws but it was fine. Aprica is a Japanese brand and now they produce their products in China. It does not matter to me as I believe the quality assurance is surely trustworthy. The milk bottles actually come with anti-colic features as well. It is a little troublesome to use and wash extra spare-parts but I guess I will adapt to it fast. The material used for the bottles and Mug Kiss is polypropylene and is safe and does not leak Bisphenol-A. Now, I can use these for my boy with peace of mind.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Safe Milk Bottles And Toddler Cups I

Medela is undoubtedly world-first in breastfeeding and it specializes in designing and manufacturing breastpumps as well as breastfeeding accessories for all mothers worldwide who are on a mission to give their newborns the best nutrition - breastmilk! My focus here is on their milk bottles. Medela produces safe baby milk bottles which are made of polypropylene. It is Bis-phenol A (BPA) -free. The only drawback of these bottles are that they can only allow for a maximum volume of 150ml, perhaps 180ml, which is really not practical for toddlers (like my son) who are still drinking larger volumes from bottles. Another feature to take note is that the Medela bottle comes only with standard narrow necks. (Refer to first image)
Recently, I went to the Pregnancy and Babies Exhibition and bought a toddler cup for my boy. It is called the Kala's Downunder Magic Cup (Refer to second image). I really like it very much for these big reasons :
  • It has a total of four parts only - cup with large handles, lid which is screw-on to cup, spout which is screw-on to lid and a dust cover. Some cups come with many spare-parts which makes assembing a chore, and some spare-parts are really tough to reach for proper cleaning.
  • Because the parts are screw ons, the cup is totally spill-proof no matter how you shake it or turn it upside down.
  • The cup is made of PP (polypropylene) (#5) and the spout is made of HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) (#2). Completely safe of BPA.
  • The spout comes with a valve. Liquids only come out if there is suction. The valve is very easy to clean both from the inside or outside of the spout. So, this cup has the most hygenic valve system.
  • The spout is round and the lips seal around it nicely. The design also somehow prevents my son from trying to chew it.
  • It has large handles for easy grip, even for the most slippery fingers after handling finger foods!
  • It comes in various colours (for both boys and girls) with interchangeable mix 'n' match spouts. The pigments used in the cup's manufacturing contain no heavy metals and conform to JHOSPA food contact standards.
  • It is lightweight even when full.
  • It come with a waterproof label that I can write my boy's name onto, which is wonderful especially for childcare use (you won't lose it or mix it up with others).
  • Best of all, it is completely Australian-made and owned.

Some small reasons which are great to have :

  • The spout fits any drink bottle with an opening diameter of 28mm.
  • The cup and lid are dishwasher-safe.

Some other points to note :

  • This cup cannot be microwaved.
  • This cup is not meant for hot or fizzy drinks.
  • This cup cannot be sterilised (anyway, who would sterilize a toddler's cup?)
  • The cups come in 200ml and 300ml.

Check out

I have also tried using Avent's toddler's spouts on its milk bottles for Samuel. However, I did not find it very good. The green spout comes with a silicon piece. While the silicon piece is easy to clean, the interior of the spout is hard to reach. I did not find that very hygenic. Also, occasionally, the spout does leak. You have to really fit and press the spout into the screw cap and check! Another bad thing about this spout is that my son tends to chew it a lot since it is shaped in a flat way. It makes it rather tempting for him to chew on it while drinking. The spout becomes very worn-out and rough after all the chewing.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Most Sunscreens Work Partially Only - Part II

Continued from Part I. Here are the ingredients of one sunscreen which I have trusted and used before. I am glad that I am now educated and will never buy it again : Thermal spring water, ethylhexl methoxycinnamate, bis-ethylhexyloxyphenol methoxyphenyl triazine, cyclomethicone, isodecyl neopentanoate, glycerin, methylene bis-benzotriazolyl tetramethybutylphenol, water, glyceryl stearate, potassium cetylphosphate, stearyl alcohol, pvp/eicosene copolymer, butylparaben, caprylic/capric triglyceride, decyl glucoside, disodium edta, ethylparaben, fragrance, isobutylparaben, methylparaben, o-cymen-5-ol, phenoxythanol, propylparaben, sorbic acid, titanium dioxide, tocopheryl glucoside, triethoxycaprylysilane, xanthan gum, zinc oxide. What a load of stuff that goes onto my face! Now i wise up and use Miessence's Outdoor Reflect Balm. Ingredients : organic olea europaea (olive) juice extract, zinc oxide, organic butyrospermum parkii (shea) fruit butter, organic unrefined cera alba(beeswax), avena sativa (oat) kernel flour, polygonoum multiflorum root extract, d-alpha tocopherol (natural vitamin e), organic copernicia prunifera (carauba) wax, aroma (essential oils), rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, dunaliella salina algae extract. Check up more :

Most Sunscreens Work Partially Only - Part I

The sun is our friend and foe. That is an apt statement. Without the sun, plants will die and inevitably, all animals will die. Without the sun, our Earth will perish. Yet too much of the sun is not a good thing for our skin. The sun's UV radiation is composed of UVA, UVB and UVC rays. UVC rays are the most energetic out of the three but thankfully, they are very much filtered off by the Earth's ozone layer and do not reach us. Both UVA and UVB cause skin changes such as premature aging and skin cancer. Avoid going under the sun from 9am to 4pm. Wear proper clothes and head protection. It is also good to invest in a safe and effective sunscreen. Many out there either work partially or have undesirable ingredients. There are two classes of sunscreen ingredients : 1. Physical barriers. 2. Those that absorb and deflect sun rays via a chemical reaction. Avoid all these ingredients: PABA, Benzophonone-3 (oxybenzone), Octyl Methoxycinnamate (octinoxate), parabens (synthetic preservatives), padimate-O, parsol 1789 (avobenzone), octisalate All the above ingredients have to potential to cause skin irritations, allergies and reproductive toxicity. Some are readily absorbed by the skin and can cause side effects that we never know. Some of them work only partially and may protect against UVA but not UVB or vice versa. Some are such weak blocking agents that you can forget about having them. Most sunscreens use a combinations of several ingredients and also lots of preservatives. Here are some tips to choosing a safe and effective sunscreen :
  • Get sunscreen with either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Both are physical screens against UVA and UVB rays. Both are safe and not absorbed by the skin. Zinc oxide is better than titanium dioxide because it covers a wider spectrum in terms of protection.
  • Get a sunscreen with a SPF 15 to 30. There is not a huge difference between products with SPF values higher than 30. Sunscreens with SPF 50 provide just 1.3% more protection from UVB rays than sunscreens with SPF 30. It is more important to apply sunscreen generously than to seek out sunscreens with ultra-high SPF ratings. Few people put on enough to actually reach the product's SPF rating.
  • SPF numbers only refer to the ability of the sunscreen to protect you against UVB rays. They have nothing to do with protecting you against UVA rays.
  • Re-apply sunscreen according to the time instructed on the product (especially more important when exposed to water during swimming and sweating). There is no such things as waterproof sunscreens.
  • Look for a sunscreen without loads of ingredients especially synthetic preservatives. You do not want to load so many things on your face. In the end, the sunscreen is doing your skin and body more harm than giving you sun protection.
  • Do not take the sunscreen information on the tube or bottle at face value. Check the ingredients thoroughly. When a sunscreen says it covers broad spectrum protection, it may not necessarily give you that protection.
Continued in Part II.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Cod Liver Oil for Young Children

I import awarding-winning Nordic Naturals Children's DHA from USA for my two-year-old. This is a world-reputed brand of cod liver oil. Although there is always concern of heavy metals contamination in fish and cod liver fish oils, I believe this brand is the safest as it has obtained gold standard for its cod liver oils and fish oils. Nordic Naturals solely focuses and produces fish oils and cod liver oils, unlike many pharmaceutical companies which produce a wide range of health supplements. Actually, I stumbled across Nordic Naturals one day while checking on another brand of cod liver oil. This Children's DHA is strawberry-flavoured and contains these ingredients : purified artic cod liver oil, d-alpha tocopherol, strawberry essence, rosemary extract. When Samuel turned two, we weaned him over to drinking cow's milk (fresh milk). Only when we are out, we pack along with us formula. There is no Omega-3 in cow's milk especially when cows are given commercial feed instead of grazing on grass. I suppose only organic fresh milk has omega-3 fatty acids nowadays. And everybody is taking a lot of Omega-6 but too little of Omega-3. It is hard to get Omega-3 from our normal diet. Cod liver oil is the best source of Omega-3 fatty acids with direct forms EPA and DHA which the body can use straightaway. Omega-3 fatty acids are important for brain development especially in the early years, for proper functioning of the nervous system and for proper visual function. At two, it is fine for him to take cod liver oil straight from the bottle. I give him less than half a teaspoon after dinner. One bottle can last about 3 months. I have chosen not to give him Scotts Emulsion after studying all the ingredients that are in it. There are preservatives and lots of other stuff. Ingredients : Water , Cod Liver Oil , Sucrose , Phosphoric Acid 2% or Less of , Tricalcium Phosphate 2% or Less of , Monocalcium Phosphate 2% or Less of , Vitamin A 2% or Less of , Vitamin D3 2% or Less of , Xanthan Gum 2% or Less of , Propylene Glycol Alginate 2% or Less of , Modified Corn Starch 2% or Less of , L-Lysine 2% or Less of , Potassium Sorbate 2% or Less of , Sodium Methylparaben 2% or Less of , Sodium Propylparaben 2% or Less of , Sodium Benzoate 2% or Less of , Artificial Flavor 2% or Less of. Although many of us including I grew up with Scotts Emulsion, we will never know if it is really working. I think with proper education and knowledge, we can make better and wiser choices in what we eat and use. Check out :

Organic Snacks - Wholesome And Healthy

Two organic snacks Samuel takes : Bellamy's Organic Apple Chips and Whole kids organic sultanas. Both are products of Australia. These are healthy, natural and thus safe snacks to eat. Find out more on: The apple chips are sold in Cold Storage supermarkets. They are surely 200% better off than potato chips (and french fries too) which contain acrylamide and is not good to snack too much on. Of course, with sultanas, it is important to take care of his dental hygenie as this snack is sticky and can stay on his teeth.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Nutritious Pectin Gums For Children

I am rather concerned with my boy's vegetable intake as at this age as children can be rather fussy about what they want to eat. He loves carrots, potatoes, corns, grapes, golden kiwi and bananas but that is not enough. He is quite lazy when it comes to pears and apples. He spits out the fibre after chewing them to extract the juice. Well, it is better than nothing. He has tried strawberries but will only eat them if they are really sweet, which is rather rare. He does not want anything to do with oranges no matter how hard I tried to entice him to eat them. He prefers the juice that comes from cartons from supermarkets but well, how much nutrients are left in them after all the processing and pasteurisation?
I have to cut his greens into fine bits so that he will eat them. And he will spit them out if they are too big. That's where the table warfare begins haha! I give him choy sum, buk choy, kai lan, turnip, cabbage, spinach and brocoli. I have read that fruits nowadays do not have as much goodness in them as compared to olden days. This is due to early harvesting before the fruits can ripen. It is said that ten years ago, we needed only take two peaches each day. Now, it is said that we need to take 50 a day to get the same goodness! So, I really wonder about the fruits that we eat. I would not want to eat just fibre! Of course, training my precious one to like his greens is important and so far so good! On top of that, I give him Mannabears. These are yummy pectin gums in gummi-bear shapes. Samuel shunned them in the beginning. He thought they were awful and cried. After tasting them, he now loves them and will always ask for them after dinner. We use these gummi-bears as rewards for finishing his dinner. It is better to reward with these nutritious bears than to give him lollipops or jellies. If you are wondering what good treats to offer to your kids, you can consider this product. Check out more on There are three flavours - grape, punch and lime. Only fruit and vegetable ingredients are used. These pectin gums are also formulated with nutritional goodness of 12 different dehydrated fruit and vegetables. It also contains Ambrotose Complex. Ambrotose Complex is a recipe of glyconutrients. Glyconutrients are taking the world by storm. Now they are called the missing link to human wellness. They are essentially necessary sugars which are important in cell-to-cell communication in our body. These necessary sugars are found on every surface of our cells. The ingredients to these Mannabears are : Raw sugar, tapioca syrup, water, Ambrotose® complex (contains vegetable gums [pectin, gum acacia, gum tragacanth], xylitol and aloe vera inner leaf gel powder), natural flavours, natural colour: anthocyanins, pomegranate powder, acid (citric acid) vegetable powders (Brussels sprout, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, kale, tomato, turnip), fruit powders (papaya, pineapple). Serving size: 4 bears (I only give Samuel 2 bears for his age). One bottle can last for about two months for Samuel.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate


Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate is a anionic surfactant which comparatively is milder than Sodium laureth Sulphate and Sodium lauryl Sulphate. It is biodegradable and is derived from the reaction of fatty acids (commonly coconut oil) and sarcosine (an amino acid). It is a detergent as with SLS and SLES and is used as a foaming and cleansing agent for shampoos, shaving foams, toothpastes and foam washes.

In one cosmetic ingredient review, tests show that Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate has low toxicity in rats and is non-irritating and non-sensitizing to animal and human skin. One concern however is that Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate enhances the penetration of other ingredients through the skin. Therefore, it should not be formulated with ingredients whose safety is based on their lack of absorption or where dermal absorption is a concern (e.g. HC Yellow No. 4, Disperse Yellow 3). At the same time, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate can be nitrosated to form carcinogenic compounds N-nitrosamine, so it is important that it should not be found together with N-nitroso compounds in the same product.

The toxicological properties of Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate have not been fully established. Based on all available data, it is concluded that Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate is safe to be used in rinse-off products. It is best to avoid the use of Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate in leave-on and aerosol products.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Wet Wipes...A Great Invention?

One of my friends once made a comment that even though her kids are now older and do not need to constantly use wet wipes, that is one product that has since stayed with her family. Wet wipes are indeed a great invention. I wonder what parents use in olden days to clean up their kids' mess, be it on the face or bottom. They probably used the good old handkerchief. And then upgraded to tissue paper. And now, wet wipes. It cleans better than handkerchiefs or tissue paper because it is wet. It does not tear easily. And it is also disposable and comes in such handy packs. I used a lot of wet wipes on my son. It was so convenient and did a wonderful job. It was only when I hired a maid that I reduced the usage of wet wipes. That was because my maid would take my son to the bathroom to wash his bottom after his poop. When I was the sole caregiver for my son, I could not afford the time and naturally, I resorted to wet wipes. I practically used wet wipes everywhere... on my boy, on his clothes, on his toys, on the furniture, even on my dog! I would say that I have used wet wipes mindlessly, because I have never ever studied what's in them. Here are the ingredients of some common household brands : PURIFIED WATER, PROPYLENE GLYCOL, AQUA & SODIUM LAUROYL SARCOSINATE, SODIUM LACTATE, PEG-40 HYDROGENATED CASTOR OIL, PEG-45 PALM KERNEL GLYCERIDES, ALOE VERA, PPG-5 CETETH-20, CETYL PYRIDINIUM CHLORIDE, DISODIUM EDTA, MENTHOL CYCLODEXTRIN COMPLEX, LACTIC ACID, AQUA & DIMETHICONE, PHENOXYEHTANOL, METHYL-, BUTYL-, ETHYL-, PROPYL-PARABEN, FRAGRANCE. Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate is a detergent that is considered mild. Ceteth-20 can be potentially contaminated with ethylene oxide and 1,4 dioxane. There are five preservatives and there is artificial fragrance. PROPYLENE GLYCOL, PHENOXYETHANOL, SODIUM LACTATE, METHYLPARABEN, PEG-60 HYDROGENATED CASTOR OIL, CETYLPYRIDINIUM CHLORIDE, ETIDRONIC ACID, TETRASODIUM ETIDRONATE, JOJOBA ALCOHOL(NATURALLY OCCURRING), PPG-8-CETETH-20, WATER. This one has phenoxyethanol, a preservative, right in the top thirds of the ingredient list. Then after that methylparaben soon after. Steer clear! WATER, MINERAL OIL, C11-13 ISOPARAFFIN, POLYSORBATE-20, PHENOXYETHANOL, PROPYLENE GLYCOL, GLYCERYL STEARATE, PEG-30 STEARATE, STEARETH-10, CITRIC ACID, CETYLPYRIDINIUM CHLORIDE, TETRASODIUM EDTA, PEG-4 LAURATE, IODOPROPYNYL BUTYLCARBAMATE, FRAGRANCE. This one has mineral oil in the top thirds which can be potentially contaminated with PAHs. And this cheap mineral oil is the petro-chemical that so-called 'moisturises' your baby's bum. And phenoxyethanol follows soon. It has artificial fragrance. After examining three popular wet wipes, I think I would use them in a conservative way now. Avoid using on the face completely. If baby's bum is wet because the 'moisture' from the wet wipes transfers there, it is good to wipe that off with tissues. It is best to wash baby's bum with water if you have the chance and time. With a maid, it certainly is easier. You will save lots of wet wipes too!


Aromababy does use phenoxyethanol as a preserving ingredient though in very small amount right at the end of the list. Beyond that, every other ingredient is fantastic. I do hope one day Aromababy will come up with totally preservative-free wet wipes. I do not have any 100% safe wet wipes to recommend. I guess all wet wipes would need some kind of preservatives but we certainly can opt for one that is the safest to use. Nowadays, I standby with me three wet square towels in small zip-log bags when I take Samuel out. I use them to wipe his face or hands if they get dirty while outdoors. They are easy to pack and I just bring them home and throw into the laundry basket for wash.

Baby Moisturising Head to Toe

There are six preservatives in this product with not a complicated list of ingredients? There is artificial fragrance and artificial emollients. Having a nice-smelling baby is awesome, but not at the expense of drying its skin further or putting a layer of cream containing so many preservatives. Our objective is to moisturise our baby's skin, isnt it?
For newborns, you may like to try Aromababy's Pure Baby Moisture Lotion. It is aroma-free and designed with Organic Rosehip Oil. Ingredients are : PURIFIED WATER, PALM WAX, COCOA BUTTER, COLD PRESSED PURE SWEET ALMOND OIL, D-ALPHA-TOCOPHEROL (GMO FREE NATURAL VITAMIN E), VEGETABLE GLYCERINE, ROSEHIP OIL*, HYDROXYMETHYLGLYCINATE.
The last ingredient is actually a protein-derived preservative. It's other name is Suttocide A. As far as I am concerned, I would try to steer clear of any preservative. However, this product has only one and the concentration is obviously low enough not to cause any problem. It is readily biodegradable unlike some other synthetic preservatives. It also does not cause human skin irritation at such low amount. It is the only preservative used here compared to some baby products which uses up to five!
For children who are older such as my own, I have been using Aromababy's Natural Baby Lotion with organic avocado. It also has evening primrose, safflower, jojoba and rose hip oils working together to provide deep moisturising for for skin. It is also aroma and nut oil-free. Ingredients : PURIFIED WATER, SAFFLOWER OIL*, VEGETABLE EMULSIFYING WAX, AVOCADO OIL*, JOJOBA OIL*, EVENING PRIMROSE OIL*, MANGO BUTTER, ROSEHIP OIL*, D-ALPHA-TOCOPHEROL (GMO FREE NATURAL VITAMIN E), HYDROXYMETHYLGLYCINATE. *certified organic.
Samuel once had diarrhoea for two weeks because 'smart' mummy gave him so much apple to eat (I have since learnt my lesson). Our pediatrician 'cleverly' prescribed him with Physiogel's Shower Cream as well as Physiogel's Cream (shown above) because he was concerned that he would be too dehydrated and get dry skin. Well, we did not really see the need but we just got them anyway. That proved a good decision. Physiogel seems quite good. I love the Physiogel Cream for the ingredients that are in it : Aqua (water), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Cocos Nucifera, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Butyrospermum Parkii, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Squalane, Sodium Carbomer, Xanthan Gum, Carbomer, Ceramide 3.
This is not an organic product but there are several good points about it. It is free from perfumes, preservatives, dyes, conventional emulsifiers, silicone, mineral oil (Paraffin). It is made in Ireland.
Find out more from here :

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Let Your Skin Drink Good Stuff!

Serums and gels are better vehicles in transporting the good stuff in facial moisturisers through your skin layers. Well, they are certainly also more efficient in transporting bad stuff too! So, it is important to select serums/gels and moisturisers that are both effective and safe. There are a few brands which I personally love to use. They are Miessence, Jurlique and Optimal. I don't use every product in their range but I select which I feel is good and effective. Here are the ingredients of Jurlique's Herbal Recovery Gel : WATER, HERBAL EXTRACT MIXTURE FROM (ROSE, CHAMOMILLA RECUTITA, CALENDULA OFFICINALIS, LICORICE, BLACK ELDER, DAISY, VIOLA ODORATA, MARSHMALLOW, SPILANTHES ACMELLA, ECHINACEA PURPUREA, GREEN TEA, GRAPE SEED, TUMERIC), GLYCERIN, ALCOHOL, EVENING PRIMROSE OIL, XANTHAN GUM, ROSE HIP FRUIT OIL, JOJOBA SEED OIL, GLYCERYL COCOATE, ALOE BARBADENSIS LEAD EXTRACT, ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C), HYDROXYMETHYGLYCINATE, LACTIC ACID, GRAPEFRUIT SEED EXTRACT, TOCOPHEROL (VITAMIN E), ROSE FLOWER OIL, CHAMOMILLA RECUTITA FLOWER OIL, LINALOOL, GERANIOL, CITRONELLOL.
This Herbal Recovery Gel like its name suggest comes in a pale gel form. It is light and non-greasy and smells naturally awesome. It gives a wonderful cooling sensation to the skin. This product uses organic ingredients and you can trust that it is leagues above other departmental store brands. Here are the ingredients of Optimal's Skin Serum : Water, Glycerin, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, Sodium Citrate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrosylate, Xanthan Gum, Trehalose,Yeast B-1,2-1,6 Glucan, Hyaluronic Acid, Aminoethanesulfinic Acid, Yeast Extract, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Seed Extract, Iris Florentina Root Extract, Artemia Seed Extract, Enteromorpha Compressa Extract, Caesalpinia Spinosa, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Pimpinella Anisum (Anise) Fruit Extract, Polysorbate-20, Retinyl Palmitate, Cranberry Oil, Arabinogalactan, NDGA, Farnesol, Calendula Extract, Caprylyl Glycine, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Tromethamine.
This skin serum is not an organic product. It is an American product made in Japan. It does not have any preservative as water is it! Not any ordinary water but 'fire-washed' water similar to that found in Pakistan's Hunza Valley. Haru Naito, world-renowned expert on water's properties, replicated the amazing geological filtration process of Hunza Valley to produce enhanced, exceptionally pure water. This water is free of bacteria, toxins and other potentially skin-damaging substances. With its natural preserving qualities, it serves as the basis for seven luxurious products available in Optimal Skin Care System. I especially love the Skin Serum and the Cleansing Cream. Those who are interested in obtaining Optimal Skin Care System Travel Pack (shown in photo) for a trial, please email me. You may visit for more information.

One last but amazing product is Miessence's Balancing Moisturiser, my favourite for a few reasons. It is a creamy moisturiser with significant and lasting effects on skin hydration and smoothness. Formulated with plant phospholipids, organic seed butters and oils, organic herbs and flowers, it truly maintains healthy skin. This moisturisers creates a protective barrier against free radicals and moisture loss (one of the main causes of wrinkles). This product is certified organic by ACO (Australia Certified Organic). Look at the wonderful and natural ingredients :

Organic aloe vera leaf juice, purified water, organic rosehip seed oil, sunflower oil, organic shea fruit butter, organic sugar cane ethanol, non-GMO Lecithin, proprietry blend of essential oils, D-panthenol (pro-vitamin nB5, organic lavender essential oil, organic olive juice extract,natural gum, organic calendula extract, organic chamomile extract, organic marshmallow extract, organic St John's wort extract.

Why do I love this moisturiser?

  • It is certified organic.
  • It contains completely natural ingredients and zero synthetic ingredients.
  • If you do notice, many products are water-based. This moisturiser is aloe vera-based.

This balancing moisturiser is meant for normal/combination skin. For dry/mature skin, you can use the rejuvenating moisturiser. For sensitive skin, you can use the soothing moisturiser. For oily skin, you can try the purifying moisturiser.

Safer Baby Washes

AROMABABY specializes in organic baby skin care products. It is made in Australia and uses up to 99% certified organic ingredients. Its ingredients are certified by two of the most reputable authorities in Australia - Australia Certified Organic (ACO) and The National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia Ltd (NAASA).

Created to be a world-first, AROMABABY® offers only the gentlest of baby skincare including aroma-free products. All AROMABABY® baby care products DO not contain:

  • petro-chemicals
  • added colourings
  • artificial fragrance
  • animal-derived ingredients
  • parabens
  • alcohols
  • talc
  • octyl methoxycinnamate (found in many baby suncare products)
  • herbal extracts obtained via toxic solvent extraction
  • synthetic Vitamin E
  • Silicone (dimethicone...)
  • mineral oil
  • vegetable oils via toxic solvent extraction
For toddlers and young children, you may like to try the Baby Bath Gel. This pure and gentle gel is sulphate-free (which means free from SLS or SLES). SLS and SLES strip the natural layer of moisture from your babies' skin. This gel contains certified organic pure essential oils of French lavender and German chamomile which help relax baby and soothe the delicate skin of your baby. It also contains certified GMO-free natural vitamin E which provides effective moisturising while you bathe your little one. It also doubles as an ideal bath or shower-gel and even hand wash for the entire family.
Ingredients :

Distilled Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Decyl Glucoside, Polysorbate (dispersant) Xanthan Gum (vegetable gum) Citric Acid, Lavender French Essential Oil,* German Chamomile Essential oil*, Hydroxymethylglycinate (protein derived preservative) * means certified organic.

Another AROMABABY product is its Pure Baby Wash (on the right). It is a superb top-to-toe wash for newborns and premature babies, also formulated without any drying sulphates. This extra-gentle cleanser is also aroma-free and formulated with pure rosehip oil to help combat dryness and protect the skin from head to toe. Research in UK has found water or aroma-free products may be best for newborns in the first few weeks of infants' life. Imagine all the 'wonderful-smelling' baby baths we have used on our little new bundle of joy! They all contain artificial fragrances! Imagine how they actually stripped the moisture off those delicate new skin! Only use natural emollients that are safe! Ingredients :

Purified Water, Cocamidopropyl betaine, Xanthan Gum (Vegetable Gum), d-Alpha-Tocopherol (GMO-free Natural Vitamin E), Rosehip Oil*, Hydroxymethylglycinate (Protein Derived Preservative). * means certified organic.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Treating Nappy Rash... ...

I have tried Drapolene...that pink tube...but I would say it is good as a nappy-preventive cream. There were times when my little one got diarrhoea and Drapolene did not work. I also tried Desitin Creamy. It worked wonders in healing the rash. But now, I prefer not use any of these. I prefer to use one that is made of certified organic ingredients and no synthetic chemicals . You never know how much chemicals the skin can absorb and their effect on our precious ones.
Without any doubt, it brings healing to nappy rash very well but I am concerned with several ingredients. Mineral Oil is a very cheap raw ingredient. What is the chances of it being contaminated with Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH)s? There is no guarantee. PAHs are possibly linked to cancer and is found in tar,which is certainly cancer-causing. So, please dont use mothballs! They have PAHs. Some anti-danduff shampoos containing coal tar also have them. Low-temperature burning cigarettes produce PAHs too. Remember, some wise people will advise us not to take too much charcoal-grilled (BBQ) foods especially BBQ meats.
I don't promote having fragrance which is synthetic. I don't promote the use of synthetic preservatives such as methylparaben and propylparaben. The only natural ingredient I see is Aloe Barabensis leaf juice and perhaps Vitamin E. Here's the profile of another prominent brand of nappy cream : ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: ZINC OXIDE 10% INACTIVE INGREDIENTS: WATER, MINERAL OIL, PROPYLENE GLYCOL, DIETHYLHEXANOATE, METHYL GLUCOSE DIOLEATE, TITANIUM DIOXIDE, PEG-45/DODECYL GLYCOL COPOLYMER, GLYCERIN, CERESIN, ETHYL LINOLEATE, BUTYROSPERMUM PARKII (SHEA BUTTER) FRUIT, PEG-8, PANTHENOL, POTASSIUM SORBATE, PARFUM(FRAGRANCE), MAGNESIUM SULFATE, METHYLPARABEN, CAPRYLYL GLYCOL, PROPYLPARABEN, SODIUM POLYACRYLATE.
There are of course healthier and more wholesome barrier or nappy rash creams out there. They are effective and safe. Well, they are not as cheap as a tube of Drapolene. We pay a price for quality, don't we? But it is worth it.
One brand is Aromababy's Barrier Balm. These are the ingredients : COLD PRESSED PURE SWEET ALMOND OIL, BEESWAX, CETOSTERYL ALCOHOL, EVENING PRIMOSE OIL, CALENDULA OIL, CARROT OIL, D-ALPHA TOCOPHEROL (GMO FREE NATURAL VITAMIN E), ROSE ESSENTIAL OIL, NEROLI ESSENTIAL OIL, GERMAN CHAMOMILE ESSENTIAL OIL, ROMAN CHAMOMILE ESSENTIAL OIL. Healing properties from natural ingredients which are certified organic by Australia Certified Organic (ACO). And the wonderful fragrance is so awesome! I even use it on my chapped hands
This barrier balm is listed with Australia's TGA as a therapeutic product. This rich balm aids in the healing of minor skin complaints. A base of pure cold pressed sweet almond oil and natural beeswax provides a light barrier to guard against further irritation. It may also be used on sunburn, windburn, chafing and cradle cap.
Email me for further questions on the product or its availability.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Shower Wash For All

For one and half years, I have been using three of the most popular baby body & hair wash in Singapore for my first child. I have not really delved deeper into the ingredients that these products use. I have selected these based on the fact that they are the most popular. However, it does pay off to study the ingredients used on all your children's products, even yours! Now that I am more educated about the world of consumer products and the many potentially-toxic ingredients that are used in them now, I am more cautious with what I buy for my whole family. We are surrounded by potentially carcinogenic chemicals daily in our shower gels, shampoos, conditioners, toothpastes, nappy creams, cosmetics, powders, serums, moisturisers, cleansers, toners, masks, dish washing liquids, bathroom cleaners...
Recently, I stumbled upon an Australian company which sells organic products. They are the first in the world to have their cosmetics and body products certified organic. The company is called ONE group and the name of their range is Miessence. I have ordered some to try. My boy is using their Sunflower Body Wash. These are the ingredients : Organic aloe vera leaf juice, Coco polyglucose, Sunflower oil, Propriety blend of essential oils, Non-GMO xanthum gum, Organic sweet orange essential oil, organic lemon essential oil, organic lime essential oil, citric acid. That's all it has got! Nothing funny! No synthetic emollients! No synthetic preservatives! No synthetic fragrance!
Let's compare these ingredients with any supermarket brand of shower foam. Or raise the standard. Compare these against reputable brands of body wash for children. Just to name one from a worldwide famous popular brand : Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, PEG-150 Distearate, TetrasodiumEDTA, Sodium Chloride, Polyquaternium-10, Fragrance, Quaternium-15, Citric Acid. You can see the difference. The lathering agent for the Sunflower Body Wash is coco polyglucose, which is one of the safest in this world. The smell of this body wash is heavenly and refreshing. Email me to find out more.

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"All that mankind needs for good health and healing is provided by God in nature...the challenge of Science is to find it." - Paracelcus, the father of Pharmcology, 1493 - 1541