Baby wipes increase children’s risk of developing life-threatening food allergies.

Immune reactions to everyday produce like nuts, eggs and soy may be brought on by a ‘perfect storm’ of baby wipes, dust and food exposure, a study found.

Researchers believe this is due to an ingredient in soap found in baby wipes, known as sodium lauryl sulphate, lingering on infants’ skin and disrupting its protective fatty barrier, reports Daily Mail.

In youngsters with genetic mutations that predispose them to allergies, this disruption could lead to immune reactions if they are, for instance, kissed by a sibling with peanut butter on their face, according to the US researchers.

The scientists recommend parents reduce their youngsters’ food allergy risk by washing their hands before touching them and rinsing off excess soap after baby wipe use.

Around one in 13 children in the US suffer from at least one food allergy, according to Food Allergy Research & Education.

Professor Cook-Mills then investigated skin studies that assessed the impact of soap, saying: ‘I thought “oh my gosh!’ That’s infant wipes!”‘

After the study’s mice were exposed to food and dust on their skin three-to-four times for 40 minutes over two weeks, they were given pieces of egg or peanuts to eat.

As a result, the animals suffered allergic reactions at the site of skin exposure, as well as in their intestines.

Their body temperatures also fell, which indicates the severe food allergy anaphylaxis.

Professor Cook-Mills added: ‘It’s a major advance in our understanding of how food allergy starts early in life.’

Speaking of how parents can lower their children’s risk of such reactions, Professor Cook-Mills said: ‘Reduce baby’s skin exposure to food allergens by washing your hands before handling the baby.

‘Limit use of infant wipes that leave soap on the skin. Rinse soap off with water like we used to do years ago. ‘

On the back of the findings, the researchers plan to carry out further studies investigating how food allergies can be prevented in children.

The findings were published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

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  • Interesting article. I used wipes with all 3 of my kids and thankfully none of them have suffered with allergies….phew


  • Who would have thought a baby wipe could cause such a problem. Don’t they do heaps of tests before placing on the market?


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  • I always avoid sodium lauryl/Laurent sulphate it’s a nasty chemical but so is propylene glycol it might as well be petrol. Also anything that sounds like Paraben or parafin has been linked to breast and prostate cancer. Check wipes shampoos creams moisturisers etc some name brand baby oils are pure paraben so watch out for these. I use johnsons wipes or gaia and I think there’s one called koalas but you can’t win because the packaging is usually made from bpa plastic which leaches chemicals especially when heated so in a wipes warmer for example.


  • Don’t know that I agree with these ‘findings’. However I think it is important to use fragrance free / gentle on skin wipes, cheers.


  • Interesting, considering the allergy issues that now exist within our society. We obviously never used baby wipes of any sort when we were children, but they’re part of life now. I’d want to see a much wider test case done, on babies, with follow through. Oftentimes these studies just scare people. I do believe the allergy issues we now experience with our children are environmentally based, but I think it’s difficult to pin point it to baby wipes.


  • Hmmm…I have never had any issues and I prefer to use wipes that are lovely and wet and thick. I think there is a higher prevalence of allergies these days because we are not exposing our children to different foods at a young enough age because everyone is so worried about allergies. Perhaps waiting until the age of 1 to try peanut butter is a bit silly, especially if there are no allergies already present in the family.


  • I am not surprised by this article at all. Never used the horrible things. Face washers , always carried one and washed it out after use and put it back in a zip lock bag. Also the fragrances that are in products are toxic. Read the book by Kate Grenwill ‘A case against fragrance’. This is only a small amount of toxins babies and children are exposed to. Since the industrial revolution when man started mixing up chemicals to use there has been a constant increase of disease, children are now suffering from the generational accumulation of toxins in our DNA. Only way forward is to live as natural as possible and eat food that cleans your system of toxins on a daily basis, fresh vegies, fruit and herbs like coriander and parsley is a great start.


  • This is interesting and good advice.


  • Care is definitely needed when buying wipes – there are natural ones available – a little more pricey but worth it!


  • Natracare baby wipes are good. They have a gentle formula, free from detergents such as sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) or any of its close relatives, parabens, SHG and other types of formaldehyde releasing preservatives. Also Target sells wipes without sodium lauryl sulphate.


  • My grandparents used damp facewashers which were washed thoroughly and re-used later.
    Grandma kept a damp facewashers in plastic bags to use when out and about.

    • We did this! I never liked using baby wipes so we had a stack of face cloths for any cleaning, whether for nappy changes, after meals, dirty hands before eating etc.


  • Itty bitty sell face washer wipes, which are great for when you’re out as you can throw them into a bag and wash them when you get home


  • Washing your hands wont help. Sodium lauryl sulphate is in every single major brand liquid soap available. And shampoo and bubble bath and body wash. Its what makes soap foam. If there are bubbles then its in there. The craziest bit is, you don’t even need bubbles to get something clean!


  • Difficult to avoid them when you’re out or while your child is in someone else’s care. Maybe we could work on healthier wipes.

    • There is an alternative to wipes.
      We have it in France and it’s been made available here Too by a French family.

      It’s called liniment oleo calcaire.

      The brand here is Petit Kiddo (baby bum cleanser).

      Look it up!


  • Some baby wipes really leave a lot of soap behind. Not healthy. But wipes are so convenient. So many people use them.


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