Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Baby rash ointments etc..

CaptainOfSmug - 17-6-2013 at 20:29

Hello all!

Not sure exactly what thread this would fall under and admittedly, I haven't done very much research on this subject. Anyhow, I just found out me and my wife are expecting a baby! Naturally, my chemistry hobby budget will be decreasing but I"m trying to get my wife on board to help me maintain my passion a little bit more on something that could save a little extra cash by doing it yourself. Of course I'm not thinking about making any sort of medication for my baby :P but I was wondering about maybe some sort of baby ointment/cream/salves/ that I could just make myself and thus allowing my lab to continue running. Anybody have any experience in this area or have some knowledge they could shed some light on? It's appreciated thanks!

Antiswat - 18-6-2013 at 04:48

you could go check up on whats in this stuff, assuming its decently unharmful stuff there shouldnt be a too big risk on making it yourself.. say.. calcium carbonate..
generally i think youre gonna get a shitstorm for wanting to apply some homemade stuff to any person (:

Endimion17 - 18-6-2013 at 09:26

In order to apply anything to a human being and be legally certain that no unknown side effects can appear, you'll need pharma grade reagents. Those don't need to be pure, but they're are certified to lack things like dangerous heavy metals, carcinogenic organic matter, etc.
They're sometimes very expensive, especially if bought in small quantities.

Most bases for oinments and creams are made with zinc oxide and petroleum jelly (such mixture is good for the diaper rash), and powders are made of talcum, which is mica and therefore soft and less reactive, not calcium carbonate which is hard and more reactive.

What you want to avoid is boric acid. It was used quite a lot in the past for irritated skin. It helps, but the rate of elimination from the organism is very slow, so if the baby is exposed to it on a regular basis, toxicity is apparent.

ElectroWin - 18-6-2013 at 10:09

commercial "baby oil" is odourless mineral spirits (pharma grade), with some perfume in it.

these are alkanes, ie: saturated acyclic hydrocarbons having carbon numbers from around 15 through 40. they are biologically inert.

making this yourself would entail removing cyclic and unsaturated fractions from petroleum, which will be challenging.

i would advise substituting a hypoallergenic vegetable oil.

Endimion17 - 18-6-2013 at 11:04

Using petroleum to make anything one would smear over his baby's body is not challenging. It's impossible. That's why we have petroleum refineries which export raw material for later processing to different chemical plants, and they make more refined materials that are then used by another plants that make the stuff you can put on babies. :)

Dr.Bob - 18-6-2013 at 12:47

Just buy the generic stuff at any store, it will be cheaper than you can make it, most likely. I learned years ago that many products cost more to make than they are to buy. For anything where there is not an expensive active ingredient, it will not save much. You would be better to make some diapers at home, they are much more expensive. It is like trying to make shampoo, when it costs $1 for a bottle.

Now if you are trying to make something that has a small amount of an expensive ingredient, then that makes sense. Like Viagra, minoxidil, or other compounds that are highly diluted in the final product, that is where you could save money, although even that is not trivial by any means. Pet meds and pesticides are another area where you can save a lot with some work. And most pests don't complain that you used an generic pesticide...

phlogiston - 18-6-2013 at 13:00

Congrats! As a proud father of four, my oldest daughter now being 6, my advice would be to wait it out a little. Soon, your offspring will get very curious about everything and there are many many fun experiments you can do together that will get them thinking. You're wife will proudly tell everyone you have your own lab and do experiments with the kid(s).
In the first year or so you probably will have little time to spend anyway on anything other than your job, household and care for your child.
Enjoy it!

woelen - 18-6-2013 at 23:03

I only can confirm what phlogiston said. I have even given birthday parties where the kids were allowed to do experiments themselves. This was when they were 10 years old or so. The experiments I allowed them to do were:
- Making volcano of NaHCO3 and vinegar, with food dye-stuff added for effects.
- Changing colors with red cabbage and adding vinegar, dilute ammonia, dilute NaHCO3. I did experiments with NaOH and 10% HCl as demo.
- Writing with invisible ink (dilute solution of K4Fe(CN)6), which after drying was made visible by spraying a dilute solution of FeCl3 in 0.5% acetic acid.

I did some demos as well (kids just watching from a few meters distance, I handled the materials):
- dissolving copper coin in conc. HNO3
- lighting a mix of Ba(NO3)2 with some fuel, using a magnifying glass and sunlight. This gives a greenish flame.

The kids loved it, and the parents of the kids also found it a very good idea. No chemophobia at all, they regarded it as great fun!

Hockeydemon - 18-6-2013 at 23:16

Rather than trying to make the things that you would buy at the store why not look up older remedies that hippy (all natural) people use? Figure out what chemical it is that is making the old remedy work, and try to extract it from that source? Then you shouldn't have to worry about much in regards to safety?

violet sin - 18-6-2013 at 23:33

I too am in the process of taking down my lab for the same reason and have been searching for excuses to use benign chems for my amusement. Gardens need chems too. Our squash, tomatoes etc. were suffering from blossom rot, Lost fruit and poor health. Solution was soluble calcium and magnesium. It wasn't to terribly fun/exciting but beakers, mixing, filtration and crystals were involved. Agg lime + vinegar for a soluble non-chlorine Ca source. Just Epsom salt for the mag :( no nitric acid on hand also :(. Any how the plants greened by the end of that day and by day two the soft spots on our tomatoes hardened and began taking color( ripening).

Then I did the potassium carbonate from banana's ash. Even got to do a recrystillization on that one :) not going to use it for fertilizer though, it was just safe chems. Our child's not due till end of december so I'm trying to do as much as possible for now. I don't think I will even lose any sleep over no chem, with all the wonders of my first child. Besides deff won't have time to pour through books n patents to find the fun stuff any way.

More than likely I'll switch to electronics r metal working project that can be put down at any given moment. Congrats and best of luck with your continued experimentation
-violet sin-

phlogiston - 19-6-2013 at 16:15

Metal working: Nah, you'll worry about the noise of the lathe/saw/hammer/whatever after you have FINALLY managed to get your little girl/boy to sleep.

Electronics: Some of the lead in the solder inevitably gets on your fingers. I suspended my electronics projects for that reason, especially when I found the kids would FINALLY fall asleep when I allowed them to suck on the tip of my little finger (works the first month or two).

You'll see. You will value every minute of sleep you can get the first few weeks.

violet sin - 20-6-2013 at 00:17

phlogiston: I am sure I will appreciate all my sleep as well. so far only work in copper and silver with hammer/punches so no big tools to worry about. projects are mostly in the basement for the noise( and privacy). my fiance can't seem to hear me at all hammering away from down there, which is good. also in electronics I am really not that skilled(armature status and learning), but that doesn't diminish the satisfaction of a job well done. basically meaning I am not often soldering overly complicated things or handling lead too much. I know even with 95%+ Sn solder a little Pb is too much, gloves maybe?. I will deff keep your words in mind, as safety is priority 1

a guy's gotta be able to create on some level right. whatever the case I am confident I will find a match. more watercolor painting, just SOMETHING to quiet a busy imagination. enough about all that an back to chem...

captainofsmug: got a few more ideas,
1) you can copper plate some lill booties when that time comes. electrochem isn't every ones fave but counts in my book.
2) try somenting novel like grow a crystal of ???? until you kid is born an save it for him her.
3) make a couple fireworks to celebrate the new arrival. more color and less pop type or just not with the newborn present for loud ones.
4) get into soil/water testing if you drink from a well or grow veggies,
5) manufacture something of value to help w/ bills(legal of course),
6) extract essence oils for odor control,
7) read read read on the chems already in your household products, shampoo's and all. get well versed what chems to avoid such as fillers or poor main ingredients that company's are pumping out to save $.

on suggestion #5, I came up with an organic and safe mold/mildew treatment for coastal tomato plants n vegies. it has been passed out to a few people, all with great success. basically waiting to slap a label on some bottles and start selling local small scale.
I don't know what areas of chem interest you so my suggestions are kinda all over the place. hope one of em works for ya.