Apart from the planet, many of the hygience products used for cleaning can also have a negative impact on the human body if used excessively.
According to the US-based Environmental Working Group, baby wipes contain “preservatives and fragrances that should not come into contact with human skin”, particularly that of young children.
Dr Ashraf Reda, consultant dermatologist and laser specialist at Mediclinic Welcare Hospital in Dubai, explains that baby wipes need to be of a certain type in order to be safely used.
He said: “They should have low acidic pH and be free of potential irritants such as alcohol, fragrance, essential oils, soap and harsh detergents. They should also contain well-tolerated preservatives to prevent the growth of bacteria. Contact irritation from the wipes can develop occasionally in some babies.”
Dr Rola Ali-Hassan, consultant family medicine at Mediclinic Welcare Hospital in Dubai, emphasises that we need to keep in mind that children’s skin is sensitive and “there is a chance of developing allergies at that age”.
She said: “Using wipes in moderation should not cause any problems.”
On the subject of cotton buds, she explained that ear wax helps to protect the insides of the ears and prevents injury or infection. She warned against the usage of buds.
She said: “Our ears are naturally formed for the wax to move out on its own and thus do not need to be cleaned. Using cotton swabs or ear buds to clean the ears will push the wax in, causing wax impaction or build up. This in its turn will cause the person symptoms that include trouble in hearing, earache, hearing a ringing noise in the ear or even feeling like the ear is blocked or plugged. The patient will end up needing treatment to remove the wax.”
Microbeads present in hand soaps have a severe impact on marine life and the food chain, but excessive use of such soaps could also lead to skin conditions.
Dr Reda said: “Excessive use of soap can lead to dryness and irritation of the skin, which predispose to the development of eczema. Use of mild soap and moisturiser can help reduce such risks.”