A lifetime of healthy skin practices can begin early by encouraging your children to make smart skin care decisions. Many of these habits can be developed at a young age, which will help prevent problems such as acne or skin cancer later in life. While most skin issues will not occur until a child is between 10 and 13, establishing a routine—like brushing your teeth twice a day—can begin much sooner. The best time to start is between ages 5 and 8, when children begin to take responsibility for their own hygiene.
Here are some key practices to encourage with your child:
· Daily facial cleansing: This important step can be added into a child’s morning or bedtime routine. It is important to use warm water and a gentle cleanser, especially with young children, as a more powerful cleanser can irritate eyes and sensitive skin. Look for products that are marked as gentle, non-abrasive and do not contain alcohol.
· Hydrating products: Children’s skin can dry out just like adults, especially in winter months. Hydrating body washes can help keep skin moisturized in the bath or shower, and a light moisturizer applied after washing can help keep skin soft. These tools can be especially helpful for pre-teens that experience dry or itchy skin. Look for products that contain shea butter, which is known for its natural moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties.
· Sunscreen usage: Teaching your child to use sunscreen is essential for a lifetime of healthy skin, especially as melanoma cases have increased by 2.9 percent in people under the age of 20, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. While many children understand that sunscreen is necessary at the beach or the pool, parents should also remind children to keep sunscreen handy for all outdoor activities, whether it is a short walk with the dog or a trip to the zoo. Sunscreen should always be SPF 30 or higher, provide broad-spectrum protection and be used throughout the year.
· Early signs of acne: According to the American Academy of Dermatology, more than 40 percent of adolescents have acne, and nearly 85 percent of all people will have acne at some point in their lives. Because this is such a common skin issue, make sure to discuss acne with children as they approach their teenage years so they are prepared to spot it in the beginning stages. For mild or moderate acne, over-the-counter treatments that contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid will be the best for young teens in order to maintain healthy skin. If those milder treatments are not effective, it is important to seek professional care and help your child find a solution that works best for their skin.
· Set a good example: Modeling good skin care habits and taking care of your own skin will help children learn how to care for their skin independently. If children see healthy skin habits in action, they will be much more likely to emulate those routines as they grow older.
Skin health is an important part of your child’s physical development. If you are concerned about any potential issues, it is always best to seek professional advice. At Greenville Dermatology, we treat patients of all ages and can help your child find the right treatment that will work best for his or her needs. Call Greenville Dermatology at 864-242-5872 to schedule an appointment today.