Potpourri of expensive baby products reveal naturalistic fallacy

Beauty Products for Babies – NYTimes.com.

In the last five years, the premium baby skin care category, which is comprised mostly of natural and organic brands, has grown significantly. According to Euromonitor International, a London-based market research company, sales of premium baby care in the United States increased 68 percent from 2005 to 2010. In contrast, sales of total baby care rose just 16 percent during the same period.

According to Euromonitor, the most popular skin care brand for babies in the country is still Johnson & Johnson, which itself introduced an inexpensive five-product natural line in 2010. But the choices in natural and low-chemical skin care on the market for young children today are head-spinning, and in many cases, the prices even more so.

These lines tend to use ingredients — sometimes organic — like almond and safflower oil, flower extracts and aloe, and are free from chemicals like parabens, sulfates and phthalates, which some studies have linked to a spectrum of ailments, like simple skin irritation.

In the world of baby body care, health has become synonymous with luxury. These soaps, lotions and diaper creams are usually attractively packaged and cost mostly in the double digits.

Dr. Sheryl D. Clark, an assistant professor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, says that skin care products, natural or not, can be harmful on babies younger than 6 months old. If a baby displays allergy symptoms, she said, the parent should see a doctor to pinpoint the issue before experimenting with a potpourri of expensive products.

“You think that you are spending more money so it must be a good thing,” she said, “but that’s not necessarily true.”

Tip: @JoBenhamu on Twitter

Hmm. We all used cheapo Johnson and Johnson products and we were fine. I don’t see the justification in these high priced products. I also noted a few things. First, the naturalistic fallacy – that natural or organic products are “better” or, in the social sense, it make you somehow a better parent to use them. That’s mostly wrong and quite smug. Products that have been used for decades have been shown to be safe. And, as the doctor at the end comments, your kid can be allergic to any products, doesn’t matter how much you pay for them. The other thing is “chemicals” as a bad word. It’s a wrong use of the word to suggest it is bad. Whenever you mix or alter something, it’s a chemical thing. So, cooking is chemical changes, mixing these lotions results in chemicals. It’s silly to say “chemical free”. These high priced baby products are a lot of marketing hype. Don’t feel less of a parent because you use plain old baby lotion, corn starch or petroleum jelly.

Don’t get me started with cosmetics for grown ups…