With their optimal health and youthful complexions, a lot of adults forget that there are benefits to providing skincare for children. While the most obvious thing to do is to apply sunscreen, there is more to the story.
Simple Steps for Skincare for Children
When we are young we have ample amounts of elastin, collagen and fat to ensure that our bodies function properly. We usually have great circulation and this accounts for the healthy glow that most babies and toddlers show. However, this does not mean that we can ignore the need to care properly for skin and to ensure that it does not receive any damage that can lead to problems later in life.
After all, many studies are now pointing out the startling fact that the adult with some type of skin cancer may have actually started the process during their earlier life. The toddler playing outside in the sun all summer, the teen baking at the beach to get that attractive tan, and the young adult forgoing sun block while out jogging or exercising may all be setting themselves up for skin cancer, skin damage, and premature aging as early as their 30s and 40s.
So, make good skincare and skin health a priority for a child by taking the following steps:
Bathing – We know that kids tend to need more baths than they actually receive, but at no time (even when covered in mud and other debris) does a child need the irritating and extreme compounds that appear in most “adult” formula shampoos and soaps. The wisest way to keep the natural oils and the healthy conditions of a child’s skin is to simply invest in the gentlest, most natural (even organic if you can afford the price), and fragrance and colour-free products. There are some great “three in one” products that work as shampoo, skin cleaner, and bubble bath. These tend to gently clean and also moisturize the skin. Remember too that a warm bath is best as this does not remove oils from the skin as well;
Moisturize – Just as you don’t want to use adult formula soaps, shampoos, and cleansers, you don’t want to use the adult moisturizers. However, you DO want to apply moisturizer to a child’s skin immediately after bathing. You will have to determine what type of skin your child has as some kids are born with naturally oil, naturally dry and even special condition skin types. Kids with eczema as an example need to have specialty products as recommended (or even provided by) their physician. A single application each day should be suitable to most children’s’ needs.
Sun protection, sun protection and more sun protection – As you can see, we cannot emphasize enough the need to protect a child’s skin from UV damage. This means making a habit of applying sun screen (try SPF 30 or more) to areas of the body that will be exposed to the sun. If a child shows a tendency to react badly to sun screen, it is always advisable to use a product that relies on titanium oxide or zinc oxide instead. You should reapply every two hours, and don’t believe for a moment that an overcast day is a sunscreen free day…it isn’t. You also want to be sure that protective clothing is worn when needed, including hats and glasses. Remember too that being near water or on the snow increases problems because of the reflective properties of the light.
This is a general outline of basic skincare for children – wash gently, moisturize daily, and use as much sun protection as possible.
If you have questions about skincare for kids, contact your local doctor who will arrange for you to see a dermatologist.
American Academy of Dermatology. Children’s Skin Care.