Baby wipes help keep babies' skin clean and free of irritation. These inexpensive disposable moist towelettes can also help clear your skin if you have acne, although their use won't guarantee baby smoothness. Whether baby wipes can improve your acne depends on the nature of your skin, the type of wipe you choose and the kind of acne you're fighting.
The common condition dermatologists call "acne" takes many forms. Blackheads, whiteheads, pustules and cysts describe different types of blemishes you may have. Blackheads and whiteheads can benefit from the gentle cleansing you get from baby wipes. Deeper and larger blemishes respond better to topical drying preparations such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. No surface treatment, including baby wipes, can affect painful cystic acne significantly. If you have cystic acne or its more severe form, acne conglobata, seek a dermatologist's advice.
Baby Wipe Ingredients
Baby wipes' primary purpose is to clean infants' skin, so they must contain gentle ingredients and soft fibers. The cloth-like material that comprises baby wipes varies among manufacturers, but they generally contain a synthetic material such as rayon, along with processed wood pulp. The wipes are designed to be nonabrasive, making them a good choice for cleansing troubled skin as well as tender skin. Scrubbing with harsh cloths or sponges can leave your skin raw and make it more susceptible to infection from acne-causing bacteria, so soft wipes work well, as long as you refrain from scrubbing.
Baby Wipe Solution
Without the moistening solution in which baby wipes soak, they would simply be soft disposable cloths.The wipe solution usually consists of water, propylene glycol, glycerine or some combination of all three. Other ingredients might include aloe vera, lanolin and fragrance. Few of the ingredients in baby wipes cause allergic reactions or contact dermatitis, but if you know you're sensitive to any of the ingredients listed on the package, choose another brand or type.
Lanolin, a derivative of wool that some baby wipes contain, can contribute unwanted oil to your skin if you already tend to have an oily complexion. If you're concerned that lanolin is comedogenic, look for a baby wipe with water-based additives such as aloe vera. Lavender and mint may contribute pleasant scents, but they can also irritate troubled skin. The May 2010 "Dermatology Online Journal" published an open letter describing cases of moist-wipe dermatitis that researchers believe may be linked to the preservative methylchloroisothiazolinone. Medicated baby wipes are more likely to contain this compound than other types.
- University of Nevada Reno Student Health Center: Acne
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Household Products Database
- MayoClinic.com; Contact Dermatitis Definition; July 2011
- "Dermatology Online Journal"; Methylchloroisothiazolinone/Methylisothiazolinone and Moist Wipe Dermatitis; H. R. Monroe, et al.; May 2010