Be careful not to expose kids to harsh products

A beauty therapist's advice to parents is that a child's skin is very sensitive and does not really solicit the use of beauty products./  Getty Images
A beauty therapist's advice to parents is that a child's skin is very sensitive and does not really solicit the use of beauty products./ Getty Images

You may have seen flyers of spas that offer kiddies masks or even beautifully packaged beauty products that are supposedly for kids.

Does this make it OK for your little one to use beauty products?

Beauty therapist Hope Maswanganyi says this is a decision that no parent should take lightly.

"Parents really need to be cautious about the age that they introduce beauty products to their children," says Maswanganyi. "Overall, a child's skin is really sensitive and does not really solicit the use of beauty products.

"That said, some parents believe that prevention is better than cure and would rather start their children on beauty regimes from an early age, but my advice would be that they first need to be extra cautious about the age they start the treatments and, second, the ingredients that are in the products themselves.

"Some products that claim to be child friendly are not worth the labels they are printed on."

For ages zero to five years, Maswanganyi says a parent should stick to baby products.

"These include baby oil and baby powder. There really should not be anything complex on your child's skin at this point.

"Stick to products that are endorsed by a reputable body as being fit for babies, as they are verified and proven to be extra gentle on your baby's skin."

For ages six to 10 years, she says the parents can tread carefully and introduce a few products that are beneficial to the child's skin.

"Remember that their skin is still really sensitive at this point, so harsh products are a complete no-go.

"For this age group, it is OK to introduce your child to a home-made mask. This should include natural ingredients that uplifts your child's soft and supple skin.

"My recommendation would be a home-made mask made of banana and raw honey. Honey contains phytonutrients that act as antioxidants, while bananas contain potassium that hydrates the skin and keeps it soft and supple and prevents the skin drying out.

"Simply mash the banana and mix with honey to form a paste before gently applying to their skin.

"Do not leave it on for more than 15 minutes before rinsing with warm water and gently dabbing with a dry towel," says Maswanganyi.

"Because this is an age when they frolic around a lot in the sun, you may use sweet almond oil on their skin. It is proven to protect the skin against the UV [ultraviolet] radicals and keep their skin smooth and supple.'

She adds: "For their hair, avoid the use of any harsh chemicals and rather stick to shampoos that are free of laureth sulphates, as they can result in a dry scalp."

When your child hits the 13 to
16-year mark, Maswanganyi says that a lot of parents tend to go into panic mode because this is when their kids' skins start to break out, and some parents may fall into the trap of using harsh products on their children to try to get a quick fix.

"It is completely natural for your child to develop pimples at this age as their hormones begin to change. As their estrogen levels rise, their skin tends to overproduce sebum, which can result in acne.

"A combination of a clarifying facial cleanser to clear all the dirt and impurities and a clarifying exfoliant to remove dead skin, a moisturising toner and a soothing lotion to ensure that their skin is hydrated should see them through the puberty years.

"By all means avoid any harsh products that will clog their pores and exacerbate the situation."