How to care for children’s skin

How to care for children’s skin

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Children’s skin is different

Many kids have issues with their skin.  Rashes are common from a young age.  Some kids may have persistent dry skin.  All children need to shield their skin from the harmful effects of sun exposure.  It’s clear that skin care products are a necessity for children.

However, children can be resistant to using products such as moisturizers, ointments, and sunscreens.  Often these products feel sticky or slimy on the skin, or have bad odors.  If kids don’t use skin care products, those products are not very helpful.

We found that out when our young daughter had persistent dry skin but refused to use the thick barrier creams that our pediatrician thought were the best treatment.  These thick, sticky creams are unpleasant to use and have a bad smell.  On top of that, they are based on mineral oil and petrolatum which are crude oil derivatives.

We thought that there had to be a better solution and started developing Nuthatch Naturals, a brand developed for and with children that uses only natural ingredients as far as possible.

There are many reasons why children need their own skin care products.  Most importantly, their skin is different from adult’s skin and needs special care.

Get kids accustomed to a daily skin care regimen

To best take care of their skin, it’s important to teach children a basic daily skincare regimen to follow.  First, start with a mild, hypoallergenic cleanser.  Many soaps and cleansers contain harsh and irritating ingredients.  Those are the opposite of what your child’s skin needs.

The mild cleanse should be followed by a gentle moisturizer.  Parents should choose a lotion or cream that is developed for kids.  It doesn’t need to have anti-aging ingredients such as retinol or alpha-hydroxy acids.  Those are irritating and meant to reduce wrinkles that kids don’t have.

To protect kids’ skin from the sun, use a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.  When playing in the sun, reapply and reapply!  Every few hours.  There are many sunscreens with hazardous ingredients.  Best is to pick a sunscreen based on zinc oxide and with natural ingredients.

How to get kids to use skin care products

Skin care and sunscreens won’t do any good if children won’t use them.  If they feel funny, look unfriendly, or smell weird, children will resist them.  But there are ways to make the skin care routine fun for kids.

For this, parents need to be a little creative.  Make the skin care routine playful by transforming it into a game or contest.  Merge it with your own routine, because kids like to do what their parents do.  And use it as an educational moment by explaining how important the skin is to the body and what the products contain and do.

Choose natural and sustainable products for children

The best skin care products for children are natural products.  There are many reasons to stay away from products with synthetic ingredients.  For one, synthetic ingredients are often based on chemicals derived from crude oil.  They may contain small amounts of toxic contaminants due to chemical processing.  And unlike natural products, they often persist in the environment after use and don’t biodegrade.

At Nuthatch Naturals, we very carefully select only natural and sustainable ingredients for our products.  We strongly believe that sustainable products are the best for children.  After all, today’s kids will live to see the 22nd century!  When researching skin care products, parents might want to look for those with renewable, natural ingredients and recyclable packaging.

Skin safety

Many skin care products contain fragrances and other allergens.  Sometimes there are preservatives or other ingredients that can actually do harm, such as formaldehyde generators.  For kids, only the safest and mildest ingredients should be used.  Natural ingredients can be skin irritants, but it’s possible to formulate natural skin care products without allergens.

Most skin care products are tested for allergenic effects in a human skin irritation test, but not all.  Look for hypoallergenic products that have been tested.  If a product lists fragrance as an ingredient, it’s probably irritating for kids with sensitive skin.

For children’s products especially, the ingredients should be friendly to animals.  There are still many skin care ingredients that are tested on animals.   Look for the Leaping Bunny logo, issued by the Humane Society of the United States and other organizations, which shows that none of a product’s ingredients have been tested on animals.  Children’s products should not promote animal cruelty.

For more information, read the Nest blog at Nuthatch Naturals and this article at the National Institutes of Health.