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Independent health store advice on natural babycare

Looking for advice on natural health and wellbeing? Your local independent health store can offer a wealth of knowledge and expertise. This month we speak to nutritional therapist Joanne Hill, the founder of Amaranth in Cheshire.

Our store is in an area where there are lots of new parents and so they often drop in for advice and tell their friends about products and remedies that have worked for them. We offer pregnancy yoga classes from the shop, so we are able to get to know many mums before their babies have been born and they think of us when they are looking for help or advice. The most popular products we stock for babies are body washes, massage oils and lotions. We also stock a range of baby probiotics and a multivitamin supplement.

Mums tend to come to us when they have specific concerns about their babies’ health. The most common issue by far is skin issues – eczema and dermatitis – but we do also have mums coming to talk to us about teething and colic-type symptoms.

Check the labels

We advise new parents to always check the labels of the products they intend to buy. Baby skincare should contain only a small number of ingredients and only ingredients of natural origin. These can be difficult to identify as the INIC ingredients give the scientific or Latin name. We provide customers with a list of ingredients that we recommend are not included in their babies’ skincare, which include parfum or fragrance, sodium lauryl sulphate, parabens and Methylisothiazolinone (MI). These can go by different names, so we have a handout which shows customers the names to look out for.

Parents should also look for a logo when buying products. A certification gives the customer an assurance of a high percentage of natural and/or organic ingredients so we encourage them to look for Soil Association or COSMOS logos.

We also advise that mums and dads look for soothing, moisturising ingredients such as calendula, aloe vera or coconut oil rather than petroleum-based emollients. In our view, emollients may be helpful short-term, but in the long-term further irritation may occur, particularly in hot weather.

The holistic approach

We take a holistic approach when advising on soothing eczema in babies looking at both internal and external factors. We would advise customers to consider the products you are using to wash and bathe your baby with. Plain water or a very mild, natural baby wash such as those by Weleda or Green People ensures that the skin is not coming into contact with harsh ingredients that it can react to or that strip the skin of its moisture. Also, consider washing powders, detergents and any other products the skin is coming into contact with.

In our experience, a probiotic supplement can be helpful, particularly if there is a family history of atopic conditions. There have been some promising studies on a specific probiotic, Lactobacillus Rhamnosus, when given to mothers during pregnancy and lactation and until the baby was six months old. The frequency of eczema in the probiotic group reduced significantly. Many of our customers report benefits when giving this type of probiotic to their baby.

If the symptoms have not soothed with a change in skincare as above, then if the baby is having a formula milk it may be worth considering a dairy-free formula or, if breastfeeding, then the mum may consider following a dairy-free diet. This is something that should be discussed with the GP or health visitor but one of our registered nutritional therapists are happy to advise further on food sensitivities if the health visitor is happy with this. A vitamin D or baby formulated multi vitamin may also be helpful depending on the individual case.


Amaranth is a natural health and natural beauty store with treatment rooms based in Cheshire. It was founded in 2012 by nutritional therapist Joanne Hill.

Joanne had a background in retail management and a passionate for natural health and nutrition and so when the opportunity came to open a boutique-style health store she jumped at the chance.

Amaranth now has a team of 14, including nutritional therapists, aestheticians practising in Dr Hauschka and SKN-RG treatments, complementary therapists and NEOM Organics therapists.

Amaranth has been awarded the accolades of Natural Products Independent Retailer of the Year 2015, Natural Beauty Retailer of the Year 2016 and 2018 and Highly Commended Best High Street Retailer in the International Beauty Awards 2018.

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