N° 13 – Mind Your Own Beeswax
Posted by Leila Janah on
For anyone who has become a parent, or has witnessed a friend or family member become a parent, it will come as no surprise that those who are expecting pay more attention to the ingredients in their household and personal care products. Jessica Alba, star of Honey (oddly relevant to this post) and co-founder of The Honest Company, is famous for saying:
“I did research when I was pregnant with my first daughter and was horrified by the chemicals in products, even those meant for babies. I would have to go to 50 different places just to get my house and my kid clean.”
Even I, someone who grew up without giving “green” lifestyle choices much consideration, must admit I threw out my son’s talcum powder (even though recommended by our pediatrician) immediately after this recent lawsuit verdict:
Standard issue baby care products are somewhat concerning as well. According to the expert ratings within the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database (www.ewg.org/skindeep), some of our beloved, classic baby care lotions rank a 5 or 6 (Moderate Hazard) on their scale -- even ones positioned as natural. Don’t look up baby sunscreens if you are trying to calm your nerves as a first-time parent – some marketed for babies rank as a 7 (High Hazard). Yikes.
But scarier than the published risk factors are those that are unpublished. Not to seem like an alarmist, but here goes…
It is a parenting mantra that “children below the age of 1 should not ingest honey.” It’s as if neonatal hospital nurses give new parents a free baby hat, double check the carseat, and bellow as parents head home, “No honey before 1!” As a parent, I knew this rule before I knew how to swaddle. Why is it such a big deal? About 10% of honey samples
in the USA contain botulism spores, which can colonize in infants’ undeveloped guts and lead to serious infection.
YET, many (almost all!) natural baby care companies formulate ointments with beeswax, which carries the same risk:
From this 2006 study in Helsinki:
“The high prevalence of C. botulinum in soil and in samples associated with beeswax suggests the accumulation of soil-derived botulinal spores in wax.”
Yes, it’s true that only about 60% of the substances we apply topically absorb into our bloodstreams, but 1) that percentage is much higher than most assume, and 2) we aren’t just talking about diaper creams and body lotions here; Beeswax is found in most natural nipple soothing creams for nursing mothers as well. Even ones that score a 1
on Skin Deep.
In summary, breastfed babies are ingesting beeswax directly, multiple times per day, from birth. Combined with the beeswax content in topical baby products (also used throughout the day – think about the number of diaper changes), the amount in their systems is not unimportant.
It was this beeswax botulism realization that first, kept me awake at night, and then, gave me the idea to start using my LXMI Pure Nilotica Melt as a moisturizer for my son. I love the texture, the hydration and the almost non-existent scent, but most of all, I love
the confidence I feel that I am applying something natural and botanical to protect his not-yet-developed little biological systems.
Additionally, it’s fantastic that this versatile product has ONE safe ingredient on the label. No need for Googling, reading scientific journals, using a magnifying glass to read chemical names on a label, etc. Plus, although natural products are preferable to synthetic options, they still run the risk of irritating skin because of unusual ingredients to which the skin isn’t accustomed.
Nilotica Reserve – LXMI's exclusive ingredient in Pure Nilotica Melt – has been proven for centuries by Ugandan families as both a food grade cooking substance and a topical moisturizer, and has been extensively studied and tested for sensitivity in the West, and it checks out on all accounts.
Perhaps it is a slightly pricier option to nourish mom and baby’s skin, but all it takes is one infection in mom or baby – and a moment thinking about LXMI as a chance to #givework to disadvantaged women – to justify the investment.
Pictured below: One of our producers in Uganda lathers her boy in Nilotica Reserve.