The skin is an organ just as the heart, lungs and stomach are organs. As a matter of fact, our skin is the largest organ in our bodies. Our skin provides protection against the elements, helps us avoid illnesses, produces Vitamin D for our bones and other organs and through capillaries it helps regulate our temperature in extreme weather. In order to keep our skin working at an optimal level, it is important that we take care of it. Practicing good skincare not only helps to keep the skin healthy, but it reduces the chances of issues such as skin cancer or premature wrinkling. As with many other healthy habits, good skincare should begin during childhood. The following three tips help parents instill healthy skincare habits in young children.
Keep Skin Clean
Caring for our children’s skin begins with cleansing it. Children often have skin that is far more sensitive than adults, so care should be exercised when selecting a cleanser. Products formulated specifically for children’s skin are typically a good place to start looking for a soap. Soaps and cleansers that are free from dyes, fragrances or harsh chemicals, such as alcohol, are highly recommended when it comes to taking care of the kids skin.Children should bathe or shower frequently to keep skin clean. In addition, it is especially important to keep hands clean as clean hands help children to avoid harmful germs and bacteria. Use warm, not hot, water and a mild soap to clean hands, face and body. When teaching hand washing techniques to children, the use of the “Happy Birthday” song can be quite helpful. Children sing the song while washing their hands and may turn off the water only when the song is complete. This helps ensure that kids have time to thoroughly clean every part of their hands. Once skin has been cleansed with warm water and a gentle cleanser, dry the skin thoroughly.
Add Moisture to Skin
Children, especially infants, lose moisture from their skin far more quickly than adults do. This means that we need to be extra careful about using products that are sensitive to this need and that do not strip any unnecessary moisture from children’s skin. As with selecting a cleanser, choose lotions and moisturizers that do not contain any dyes, fragrances or harsh chemicals.
Always use Sunscreen
Adults need to pay attention to this guideline as well, but it is especially important for children. Sunburns are visible signs of sun damage, though a burn is not a prerequisite for skin damage. Damage from UV rays early in life increases the risk of skin cancer and is also a factor in premature signs of aging. Experts recommend that children wear a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Remember that sunscreen should be applied prior to heading outside and reapplied every few hours. If children are playing in water, reapply when they emerge, even if the sunscreen claims to be waterproof. Also, it is important to select a lip balm that contains SPF to keep lips healthy and hats are a good idea for children prior to sun exposure. Experts recommend that children not be out during the hours of 10:00 AM through 2:00 PM.
Remembering to take good care of children’s skin helps prevent future problems such as skin cancer or premature wrinkles. The guidelines for children’s skincare work equally for adults. We teach our children through instruction and example and by practicing proper skincare ourselves, we help foster a lifetime of healthy skincare by our young children.