Skin Care Just For Kids
Apr 10, 2011 11:20PM
● By Patti Woods-LaVoie
Ok mom and dad listen up! It’s time to learn about kids’ skincare. What’s there to know, you ask? Well, while children certainly don’t need to worry about wrinkles and crows’ feet, things such as rashes, eczema and acne are concerns that can hit at any age. And while most kids could care less about their skin right now, learning to treat it right while they’re still young will certainly pay off in the future.
Having baby-soft skin comes with a price. Many children are sensitive to fragrances, detergents and dyes that can lead to rashes and other skin problems. It’s best to take a proactive approach: use perfume-free laundry detergent and soap, avoid using dryer sheets and buy cotton clothing, rather than wool or synthetic fibers which can cause irritation.
So, your little one has found a patch of fuzzy, three-leafed plants. If you’re lucky enough to learn of your child’s contact with poison ivy (or oak or sumac) within five to ten minutes, then there’s a chance that you can wash off the urushiol oil, which causes the reaction. (Don’t use very hot water, however, as it may help spread the rash and aggravate itching.) Most cases of poison ivy, however, become Skincare Just For Kids evident when the skin starts itching and burning. After this, blisters form and they start to ooze. While there is no “cure” for the itching and discomfort caused by this allergy-producing plant, there are ways to alleviate the symptoms.
The leaves and juice from the stem of jewelweed (Impatiens biflora) have been used as a folk remedy for skin irritations, including poison ivy. A tincture can be made by boiling the leaves in water for 20 minutes, and then straining. Or try rinsing the affected area with apple cider vinegar or witch hazel to alleviate itching.
Anyone who has ever suffered from eczema knows that the itching and discomfort can be unbearable at times. Unfortunately, it’s a condition that is common among infants and children. Mainstream treatments usually involve topical steroid-based creams that just suppress the symptoms, rather than treat the cause. There are several factors that can result in eczema including allergies to food, detergents and the environment, stress and heredity. Fortunately, there are natural remedies for this condition. The best bet is to visit a naturopath who can determine the cause of the eczema and will recommend specific treatments. He or she may recommend rubbing evening primrose oil or calendula cream on the skin to relieve symptoms, or taking vitamins A and E to help repair and renew the skin.
The teenage years can be trying, and the sudden outbreak of acne doesn’t make things any easier. There are plenty of harsh, chemical-laden treatments on the market geared specifically to teen skin problems, but a good skincare regimen using natural products will ensure that your teen’s skin gets the most gentle pampering possible.
Acne occurs when the pores become blocked with sebum, an oily substance that’s meant to keep the skin lubricated. During puberty, the hormones that are running sky-high actually step up production of sebum, resulting in skin that gets clogged more often than normal.
It used to be thought that a typical teenage diet of junk food was the cause of acne, but now we know better. While a bag of chips and a can of soda won’t cause a major breakout, they can aggravate the skin. Likewise, stress and cosmetics can also add to the problem, but won’t cause it.
So what are teenagers to do? First, they should learn how to properly wash their face. Using a rough face cloth and harsh chemical soap won’t help matters, and in fact may exacerbate the condition. Teach them to use a soft cloth with an allnatural cleanser. Witch hazel is a great cleanser, as well as a natural makeup remover. Girls especially can suffer from combination skin, where the T-zone is oily but cheeks are dry. A light, oil-free facial moisturizer can help dry skin without clogging pores.
A tincture of calendula (Calendula officinalis) can be used on inflamed skin, and tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) is one of the most popular skin treatments in health food stores. Acne can also be treated from the inside out. Vitamin A is known to reduce sebum production, while vitamin B-6 and zinc help metabolize hormones. Vitamin E, of course, is known for its ability to keep skin in tip-top shape.
Homeopathic remedies include Hepar Sulf (which helps expel pus in infected pimples); Kali brom (used for blackheads and pimples on the face, chest and shoulders); Pulsatilla (helps with acne associated with a hormonal imbalance); and Silica (which helps with a poor complexion).
Even if you’re not sunning yourself at the beach, the sun’s UV rays are still powerful enough to do permanent damage, especially to children’s sensitive skin. If your child does get a sunburn, alleviate the burning sensation with a cool bath or compresses. Aloe vera gel will cool the burn and keep it clean. If you know you’re going to be out in the sun ahead of time, tryfreezing pieces of aloe vera leaf—just cut off the pieces, wrap in plastic wrap and pop in the freezer. When your skin gets a little too red, rub one of the frozen pieces on the affected area.
What you can do
Teaching your children good skincare habits early on will ensure that they will have the healthiest skin possible. There are many allnatural skin products available at health food stores, from cleansers to moisturizers to blemish sticks and rash treatments. Read the ingredient labels and you’re sure to find a product that will suit your child’s needs. By using allnatural products such as cleansers and moisturizers, and learning the proper hygiene secrets, clear, soft skin can be more than just a dream.