Many skincare products on the market today boast about the benefits of aromatherapy, and the appeal of fragrance and scent. Although this is true for adult products, it can actually be very harmful for babies.
Infants are born with a very strong sense of smell. It is one of the first ways a newborn identifies his parents and his surroundings. While the baby’s eyesight and hearing are still developing during his first months of life, he is making sense of his new world by identifying the scents around him. So when he is bathed and covered in fragrance, he becomes confused and often irritated. This is often the case in our “perfume culture.”
Moms are obsessed with making their babies smell like a “Johnson & Johnson” factory. People comment about the way a baby should smell. Insinuating that if the baby powder smell is missing, somehow the mother is not doing her job properly. Manufacturers have responded to this craze by placing this synthetic scent in everything from diapers to baby dolls.
The chemicals used to provide scent in these products can cause irritation to baby’s sensitive skin and can exacerbate baby eczema and acne. To make matters worse, most of these scented baby skincare products are petroleum-based, causing further problems for the skin (see Mineral Oil facts).