Advice on general health care for kids is found aplenty around us. However, do we have enough information on specific health issues like skin care? What kind of skin care is needed for kids and at what age should it start? Should kids use sunscreen? What are skin problems they are likely to suffer from? Questions like these trouble young parents often. Read on for a comprehensive answer.

When they are very young….

With an infant, the most frequent skin issue is the diaper rash. Most cases of diaper rash happen because of diapers that are too tight and wet diapers that have been left on for too long. It can be prevented if you keep the diaper area open to air as long as possible, and change the diaper as soon as it is wet. After all your efforts if there is still diaper rash, wash it with a warm cloth and put zinc oxide cream on it. In the case of eczema and dry skin, two very common conditions among infants, it is best to consult a pediatrician.

Sunshine and kids

It is great for kids to play out in the open. However, it is best to limit playtime outside to early morning and after 4 pm in the evening, so that they escape the harsh ultraviolet rays of the sunlight. If absolutely necessary, sunscreen is an option even for babies. According to the Mayo clinic, it is ok to use sunscreen on babies older than 6 months. A broad-spectrum sunscreen that has a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30 should be fine. Sunscreen should be applied generously all to exposed skin, and should be reapplied every two hours. Pick a sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. However, the best way to avoid sunburn is to keep the kids in the shade as much as possible, and to dress them in protective clothing, sunglasses and a hat with a brim. For prolonged time in the sun, use an umbrella or a pop-up tent.

Basic hygiene guidelines

Washing hands regularly with soap, after coming back from school, after playtime, after visiting the toilet and after visiting someone in the hospital is the single most important habit to be taught to children from childhood. That one should wash hands before eating goes without saying. Children tend to just wet their hands when asked to wash, but they have to wash hands vigorously for 20 minutes. An easy method to teach children the length of time to wash hands is to tell them to sing the ‘happy birthday’ song twice. That is how long one should wash hands. If there are no facilities for handwashing, use a hand sanitizer.

Go mild

It is not advisable to use heavily scented and harsh cleansers and soaps on the delicate skin if kids. Such cleansers and soaps can cause dryness, and some kids might even be allergic to certain products. So, one has to opt for mild soaps that are meant for delicate skin. A bath in the evening with a mild soap will help your child unwind and be ready for sleep.

Terrible tweens and teens

Tweens and teens are generally enthusiastic about taking care of their skin, mainly because they are quite concerned about their appearance. This is the time parents have to encourage washing the face on a daily basis, using a gentle cleanser and toner. Shampooing of the hair often is also important. Warn your teenager gently against using too much makeup. Whatever makeup is used should be removed at the end of the day using a gentle makeup remover or just with water and soap.

Acne during adolescence

Adolescent acne causes a lot of heartache. Almost all adolescents develop an occasional blackhead, whitehead or a pimple because hormone levels are elevated at this age. High levels of hormone stimulate the sebaceous glands, which are glands attached to hair follicles, to produce greater amount so sebum. Acne occurs when a hair follicle becomes clogged with sebum and dead cells. The best way of preventing acne is to keep the skin clean, and to avoid using harsh cosmetics. Using a gentle soap, wash your face and pat dry with a soft towel. If one has very oily skin, an astringent or toner may be needed. Most importantly, never ever touch, squeeze or pop those pimples although it is very tempting to do that. Popping of pimples can cause permanent scarring. Avoid touching your face as much as possible. Some medications used to treat acne can cause the skin to become sensitive to sunshine and more prone to burning. Wear sunscreen whenever you are outdoors. Finally, choose your makeup with care. The best choice would be no make up at all for an acne-ridden face, but if you have to, go very gentle. Wear makeup that will not clog your pores, and avoid makeup that has an oil base.


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