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2013 Buzz Guide: Baby Skincare

New skincare labels, definitions, and buzz-worthy ingredients

Kim Walls is a top nutritionist, the founder of Babytime! by Episencial, and one smart cookie when it comes to healthy skin. We asked her what to expect this year in the increasingly confusing world of skincare products for babies.

“The most pressing issues, concerns, and developments in natural skincare for babies this year are surrounding new labeling requirements,” says Walls. “Regulators including the FDA, USDA, and EPA are taking a hard look at natural, organic, safety, and drug claims on products. With the new regulations, you can expect to see significant changes to the labels of your favorite products  So in 2013, it will be more important than ever to know your brands and read their labels carefully.”

Sunscreen. According to the FDA, lotions and creams continue to be the gold standard for safety—recommended over wipes, sprays, and powders. Unfortunately, manufacturers are still allowed to introduce new products that have not undergone proper testing to ensure broad spectrum sun safety. With that in mind, it’s important to look for zinc/titanium-based mineral sunscreens; other chemical ingredients may or may offer broad spectrum protection.

Organic vs. 100% Natural vs. Naturally Derived. After much scrutiny by regulatory agencies, organic claims on products are now required to be more transparent. However, the term “natural” remains a vague catch-all that’s frequently abused by skincare manufacturers and marketers. The claim “100% natural” can be misleading, and the FDA is cracking down on it. Industry experts and regulators have found that truly 100% natural products aren’t very shelf-stable or particularly effective at providing necessary skin benefits like long-lasting moisture, sun protection, and rash prevention. Alternatively plant-based, “naturally-derived” ingredients can often be as safe as 100% natural ingredients—and are often more effective. The key is to question the source of a product’s ingredients as well as its effectiveness.

Buzz ingredients. This year, expect to see an increased focus on the benefits of probiotics in skincare, as well as new plant-based preservative systems like Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, sourced from Korean Kimchee.