Family & Parenting

Are Baby Wipes Dangerous?

This is scary—always read the ingredients!

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Millions of parents use baby wipes every day. In fact, according to one estimate, the average baby will require 15,500 disposable wipes in the course of 2.5 years. Wow. That’s a whole lotta wiping! But, here’s something to consider: Some mainstream baby wipe brands contain a chemical that could be harmful to your baby’s skin.

What’s the Deal with Methylisothiazolinone?

The ingredient in question is methylisothiazolinone (also abbreviated as MI), and it is a preservative that can lead to painful allergic reactions if it is left on the skin. MI is included in products such as baby wipes and other hair and skin care products in order to inhibit the growth of molds and bacteria. But there have been some who have presented with allergic reactions to the preservative.

Many parents have taken to social media to warn others after their children suffered a rash caused by MI. The Facebook group Allergy to Isothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone and Benzisothiazolinone, for one, exists for this very purpose: to help parents and babies who have been hurt by MI and to help them share their stories and protect others. Here is a rash on a young girl’s face that was caused by methylisothiazolinone:

And a woman’s hand:

Are There Alternative Products Out There?

Here’s the good news. Many companies are moving away from using these potentially harmful ingredients. Brands like Pampers and Huggies, for example,  have resolved to retire MI from their wipes. But remember: You should always read the label, as ingredients can change, and even these preservative-free products can develop mold.

You could also consider making your own baby wipes at home, though they can also be susceptible to contamination.

But if you’re not the DIY type, consider these chemical-light or chemical-free options:

Doctor Butler’s Organic All Natural Chemical Free Soothing Wipes: These are made with ultra-soft organic bamboo and medical grade cloth, and contain natural, plant-based ingredients like rosemary, calendula, and aloe leaf extract.


WaterWipes Sensitive Baby Wipes: As the name suggests, these wipes contain only 99.9 percent purified water and a drop of fruit extract. They are made in Ireland, and the water comes straight from an Irish spring. They were awarded the National Eczema Association of America Seal of Acceptance.


Naty by Nature Babycare Eco Baby Unscented Wipes: These extra-thick wipes are made from 100 percent renewable plant-based material. They contain 98.45 percent water and are even advertised as safe to flush! (Though it may depend on how old or temperamental your plumbing is.)


SofiesSecret Extra Thick & Soft Baby Wash Cloths: These wipes are made of 100 percent pure unbleached bamboo, and natural ingredients like chamomile, marigold, ginkgo biloba leaf, hyacinth leaf and green tea.


And, remember, MI is not only found in baby wipes, so take a closer look at the ingredients in your bath and beauty products, too, especially if you’ve been dealing with skin sensitivity. Many cleaning products and sponges can also include MI. This can even include so-called “green” products, so remember to read the ingredients even if you see the words “natural” on the label.

[h/t: Good Housekeeping]

This story originally appeared on Simplemost.