There’s nothing sweeter than the soft, smooth skin of a baby. But as much as we love snuggling and smelling our babies, we don’t always think about the ingredients we’re putting on their skin.

“Skin is an organ, one that absorbs whatever chemicals are in the soap or lotion you put on yourself or your baby,” says Dr. Laurie Herscher, who leads the Integrative Medicine program at the Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical CenterAquilino Cancer Center. “Unfortunately, many of those chemicals can be unhealthy for our bodies.”

While that can be a scary thought for parents, don’t worry. It’s not hard to find healthy products for out little ones. Many great options and resources are available.

Here are a few of tips that can help you navigate the confusing world of ingredient lists.

Go slowly.

There’s no need to become an expert overnight on the ingredients in some of your favorite product for babies. Start small by reading a few articles, checking reliable websites and talking with knowledgeable experts, including your pediatrician. You’re already on your way just with this short article! If you’re looking for a place to start, be aware of these ingredients:

Another great resource is, from the Environmental Working Group. Skin Deep is a special section of their site that offers reviews of more than 60,000 personal care and household products. Their researchers have looked closely at ingredients, and assigned products a score of 1-10, with one being the best and 10 being the worst. This is a simple and easy-to-use tool to help you get a better idea of what to look for in skin care products.

Minimize your “total body burden.”

It’s impossible to cut out every single chemical from your daily life. That’s why some researchers recommend focusing on your “total body burden,” the sum of all the chemicals you’re exposed to every day. Reduce exposure where you can. For example, if you have to use soap with triclosan, make sure it’s fragrance- and phthalate-free, and look to cut chemicals from other commonly used products like detergent, shampoo or lotion.

Be sunscreen smart.

Did you know there are two types of sunscreen? Physical sunscreens create a barrier between our skin and the sun with minerals like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Chemical sunscreens use ingredients that are absorbed into the skin and could potentially be harmful. When you’re shopping for sunscreen as the weather warms up, try one with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide listed as the active ingredient. Also, if you use spray sunscreens, be aware that the FDA is beginning to review the safety of these products for children, who can inhale the spray.

As always, talk to your child’s doctor if you have any questions about which sunscreens and skin products are best.