When you’re a parent, there’s always something to worry about or lose sleep over. Always. And when you have a little daredevil like I do, it’s sometimes hard to know where the legit concerns end (no running with a fork in your hand, Kid) and helicopter parenting begins (“Wait, don’t climb up the ladder on the playground until I am behind you to break your fall!”).
But even if you put your best helicopter parenting skills to the test, at some point you’re probably going to need (or want) some kind of ointment or balm to soothe your babe’s boo-boos. But before you reach for the triple-antibiotic ointment — you know the one I mean, right?! — take a look at that ingredients list. Then put the box back on the shelf and back away slowly. But don’t worry. I worry enough for both of us (I promise!), and I’m here to help.
Here are three great reasons to trash that little tube of unnecessary ointment, and four natural alternatives to reach for instead.
1. You probably don’t need it
Let’s be real. Not every scratch and scrape needs a coating of balm or salve. So unless you’re dealing with a particularly gnarly boo-boo, a bandage, in many cases, is all you need for a treatment from Dr. Mom (or Dr. Dad).
2. Petroleum could be linked to cancer
Real talk: A dab of ointment every now and then probably won’t hurt you (and life is all about finding the balance that works best for you), but there is some concern that petroleum is a cancer-causing substance … and petrolatum (petroleum jelly) is a petroleum byproduct. So if you have concerns about substances like pthalates or BPA, you probably have similar reasons to steer clear of this common treatment.
3. The hygiene hypothesis is (probably) real
The hygiene hypothesis is essentially the theory that exposure to germs is an important component in the strengthening of natural immunity and prevention of autoimmune diseases. Basically, by keeping ourselves so clean, we’re pretty great at preventing infection … but the downside is potentially huge. This is one big reason all those ingredients in antibacterial soaps were banned by the FDA. (About time!)
Convinced? Reach for one of these more natural alternatives.
(Please note: This post contains an affiliate link, which means I could earn some money — at no cost to you — if you click on it. View my full disclosure here.)
Sovereign Silver First Aid Gel, $18.39
Don’t let sticker shock keep you from trying this gel. It’s a potent, proven product for pain relief, calming inflammation and swelling, and fights minor infection, which means your wounds heal faster. Plus, a tiny bit goes a long way, and the expiration date on this little bottle is usually more than a year (could even be two!).
Vitamin E Oil, $7.79
Vitamin E has antibacterial properties, and is soothing on wounds. It can get messy, though, so you’ll probably want to use it on wounds and boo-boos that you’re planning to cover with a bandage.
Manuka honey, $12.44
Sometimes referred to as “medihoney,” natural manuka honey has antibacterial and antiseptic properties — and it’s the perfect texture to coat a boo-boo. (Pro tip: Cover this one with a bandage, too, especially for small kiddos, or risk them licking it off…)
Green goo, $12.95
This multitasking natural salve is a go-to for treating cuts, scrapes, blisters, sunburns, chafing, poison ivy, and cracked hands and feet. So, basically anything your kiddo could get into.
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