Is DIY Skin Care Safe?

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Hansa Bhargava, MD
Some parents go towards do-it-yourself skincare because they might be concerned about the environment, toxins or chemicals in the products, or maybe they want to save money. Some parents have asked me about buying just a one-ingredient oil, such as coconut oil or olive oil, and would that be OK for your baby? It might be OK for your baby -- there isn't a lot of research or science behind it.

The other issue about do-it-yourself products is that, if you buy a product that's a natural product over the counter at some store, remember that the FDA doesn't regulate how much of the essential oil's in the product. Even though there might be oils listed, you have no idea how much of what oil is in the product. And therefore, it could actually harm your baby.

So if you do it, just be very, very careful about what kind of reactions your baby might have. Just because it's a natural product doesn't mean your baby won't have a reaction. For example, poison ivy is a natural product, and your baby will have a reaction to that.

If DIY skincare is not for you -- and it's complicated, so it might not be, it wasn't for me actually -- there are a lot of products out there that are perfectly safe for your child. Just look for certain labels, such as hypoallergenic, fragrance-free -- especially if your baby is little -- and generally, the less ingredients in a product, the better it probably is. But there's lots out there for you and your baby.

If you choose, as a parent, to do DIY skincare, that's fine. That's totally fine, and I know that it's coming from a good place. But here's the thing. Just like any product that's on the shelf, a DIY skincare product that you've put together could also cause a reaction with your baby, so just be careful. And watch out for the signs and make sure that you reach out to your doctor if there's anything that concerns you.