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Why Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo ingredients are bad for babies

Updated on January 15, 2013
Ingredients in Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo have been shown to cause cancer.
Ingredients in Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo have been shown to cause cancer.

For decades, new parents have been receiving small gift baskets at baby showers filled with Johnson & Johnson's baby magic shampoo, oil and wash. These tried and true products are marketed well and used by millions of parents around the globe. But would you be willing to expose your baby to these products if you knew what was lurking within? These products contain worrisome and unnecessary ingredients which are known carcinogens.

For years, advocacy groups have been trying to get the company to remove dioxane and quaternium-15 from the formula. These two ingredients work together to release formaldehyde.

Since 2011, Johnson & Johnson's has claimed they will work at reducing the amount of these chemicals in their products but they refuse to completely remove them. Keeping any amount of these chemicals in these products will continue to expose millions of babies to carcinogens which could be harmful.


List of Johnson and Johnson's Baby Shampoo Ingredients

The following is a list of the current ingredients in the baby shampoo:

Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, Sodium Trideceth Sulfate, PEG-150 Distearate, Fragrance, Polyquaternium-10, Tetrasodium EDTA, Quaternium-15, Citric Acid, Yellow 10 and Orange 4. May also contain: Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide.

Do you recognize or are even able to pronounce half of these?


This ingredient is used as a preservative in a number of cosmetic products, including makeup and of course shampoo, conditioner and lotions. The problem is that it acts as a formaldehyde releaser. It can cause severe allegic reactions, especially those with sensitive skin, such as infants. Why this ingredient is put in a shampoo for infants is unknown since they are most susceptible to the effects of the ingredient.

Tetrasodium EDTA

This is a preservative made from formaldehyde and sodium cyanide, which are known carcinogens. This chemical is also a penetration enhancer. This means that the chemical breaks down on the skin and enters the bloodstream, fully exposing the user to the cancer causing effects.

Cocamidopropyl Betain

Cocamidopropyl Betain is derived from coconut oil, but unlike pure oil, this chemical has been shown to cause mild allergic reactions to some individuals. In 2004, this chemical was voted "Allergen of the Year" by the American Contact Dermatitis Society.


There are many natural and organic alternatives available which are no doubt better for your child's skin. If you are concerned about any of the chemicals or see your child's skin is suffering from an allergic reaction such as mild redness or a rash, it may stem from using Johnson and Johnson's baby care products.

When choosing a product, be sure to read the ingredient list to ensure you are getting a product without chemicals. Chances are if you cannot pronounce one of the ingredients in the product, it is not good for your baby.


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