Euphoria’s Blog for Green Mamas

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Desitin – Safe or Toxic? November 25, 2008

Filed under: Baby & Toddler — Rachel @ 3:23 pm
Tags: , ,

Desitin diaper cream is a classic.  Your mom used it, you got it for your baby shower, and it works.  But, have you read the ingredient list?  The ingredients in Desitin are: Zinc oxide40%, BHA, Cod Liver Oil, Fragrance, Lanolin, Methylparaben, Petrolatum, Talc.  Safe or Toxic?

The Skin Deep cosmetic safety database gives Desitin – Original Formula a score of 5 out of 10.  Desitin Creamy, another popular version, also scores a 5.  That’s NOT GOOD.  Consider this: baby’s skin is thinner than yours, so chemicals can more easily penetrate.  Plus, a baby has a much greater ratio of skin surface area to internal body mass than an adult, which translates to more concentrated chemical exposure from skin care products than an adult.  A level 5 toxicity score is bad news for any product applied to a baby’s skin.

Here are the ingredients of concern in Desitin:

(1) BHA(level 10 toxicity). BHA is associated with cancer and hormone disruption in numerous studies. And since it carries Skin Deep’s very highest toxicity level, standing for “high hazard”, this answers the question “safe or toxic” outright.  It has been banned from cosmetics in the EU because of skin dipigmentation.

(2) Fragrance(level 8 toxicity). Fragrance is a term that designates an undisclosed combination of ingredients that purportedly give the product a smell.  As such, it can hide the existence of virtually any dangerous chemical.  We do know that synthetic fragrance contains phthalates, which are hormone disrupting chemicals that are making there way into the urine of 81% of the infants tested.

(3) Methylparaben(level 4 toxicity) . Methylparaben is one of the parabens, the most widely used preservatives in cosmetics. Parabens are hormone disruptors, also called “endocrine disruptors”.   Studies listed on Skin Deep show that methylparaben has been shown to interfere with gene expression, cause mutation in vitro, have brain and nervous system effects at moderate doses, and cause skin irritation at low doses.

(4) Sodium borate(4-6 toxicity level, based on product usage). This ingredient found only in Desitin Creamy is specifically designated as unsafe by the cosmetics industry’s own safety panel!  It states that sodium borate “should not be used on infant skin or injured skin.” (CIR, p. 228).  It has virtually all of the dangerous effects of the above ingredients combined!

What stands out to me is that these ingredients are ALL hormone disrupters.  Why would it be safe to apply hormone disrupting chemicals on a baby’s bottom parts day after day?  This is crazy!  And we wonder why infertility issues are a growing problem in our country!

I personally use Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Bottom Balm, which is available at our store at  You can do a quick search on the Skin Deep’s Cosmetic Database to see what is safe in the realm of diaper creams.  There are many options and they’re better for the earth too!  I find that Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Bottom Balm clears up issues fast.  Plus, I love the spicy, herb-infused natural scent!


2 Responses to “Desitin – Safe or Toxic?”

  1. […] checking the safety of your cosmetics and the evils of Balmex at  My Cosmetic Purge.  Also see Desitin – Safe or Toxic? .   Comments […]

  2. […] toxicity rating at  Here are some case studies I’ve done: Desitin – Safe or Toxic? and My […]

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