Got kids? Then you already know there are a myriad of things to teach them with regards to their personal care. From teaching them how to brush and floss their teeth each day, to ensuring they don’t miss cleaning their ears or belly buttons when taking a bath. There are a lot of things to teach and for them to learn. Teaching your child the importance of taking care of their skinshould also be a part of the conversation. Need help navigating your child’s skincare routine? Not sure what to tell them and what to do at each stage and phase of their development? Keep reading for our age and stage guide for talking to your child about their skin
Infant-Toddler Years (Birth-3 Years)
Start talking to your little one early about their skin and the importance of taking care of it. As a newborn or young toddler talk to them about their skin during bath time. Use bath time as an opportunity to teach about body parts and their skin. Talk to them about washing their face and describe what you’re doing, allow them to explore the texture of shampoo, lotions, and the body wash you are using. Sing songs and, read books to them about their skin such as Shades of Black: A Celebration of Our Children by Sandra L. Pinkney, to celebrate their beautiful skin and build their self-confidence. Don’t forget to also point out birth marks and beauty marks unique to their skin. According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) these habits support language development for infants and toddlers. They also set the stage for later conversations about skin health and proper hygiene. *Sun Protection Note TheSkin Cancer Foundation recommends shielding babies under 6 months from the sun. At this age avoid direct sun exposure and seek shade for your little one. At 6 months you should introduce sunscreen.
Pre-School (3-6 Years Old)
Most children in this age group will be starting school and navigating formal learning for the first time. As your child enters the classroom one of the best ways to build awareness around their skin health is to teach them the importance of washing their hands to decrease the spread of germs. Teach them to use warm water when washing their hands and also stress the same thing for washing the skin on their body. As your preschooler begins to exert more independence during bath time allow them opportunities to practice washing their own bodies. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) also suggests incorporating a favorite waterproof toy, and reading books especially made for taking baths as ways to make bath time fun. It is also important to stay connected with any skin conditions such as eczema or skin changes you see on your child’s body. Speak with your pediatrician regarding treatment of skin conditions or skin changes you observe on your child’s skin.
*Sun Protection Note At 3-6 yrs. of age your child should have a sunscreen routine. Hats and sunglasses should be a part of that routine. Seeking shade during the summer months is also important. Remember children with darker skin tones also need protection and not just during the warmer months.
School-Age (6-12 Years Old)
You can definitely start having more sophisticated conversations with your child about their skin and skincare between the ages of 6-12. With many more young people starting puberty early as a parent you might begin noticing a pimple here and there on your school-aged child’s face. Up until this point your gentle bath and body cleanser may have gotten the job done for their face and body. But now might be the ideal time to introduce a cleanser designed specifically for your child’s face. Be sure to discuss this idea with your pediatrician before jumping in. For younger children ages 6-8 you may want to begin talking to them about products and product ingredients. There are a variety of bath and body care products geared towards young people. The glitter, bubbles, and alluring scents of many of these products have so much appeal to young people especially to little girls. Unfortunately, many of these products contain fragrances and other ingredients that may pose a potential allergy risks to some children. Talk to your children about these products and teach them to talk to you if their skin feels itchy or irritated should you allow them to explore these types of products.
*Sun Protection Note At this age your child should be comfortable with SPF, it should be a part of their routine. While children need daily doses of Vitamin D remember you can also get Vitamin D from the food you eat. Speak to your pediatrician about how to strike the right balance.
Teenagers (13-18 Years Old)
Most parents think they have the teen years completely understood when it comes to the skin. Most of the conversation centers around acne and while teenage acne is quite common there are other conversations that need to be had with your teen about their skin. Stretch marks, changes in the skin due to sexually transmitted disease, understanding your skin type, and navigating skin care are all topics that need to be addressed with your teen. Again your pediatrician will be vital in some of these discussions. For teenage girls on their way to college conversations about hormones and birth control might be explored. Your teen may experience their first facial at this age and explore more advanced treatments such as Botox and other cosmetic enhancements. Make sure you have clear discussions with your child about your expectations surrounding such treatments. You will have a lot to discuss with your teen including boundaries with products and may even have to come up with a few incentives to encourage your teen to stay consistent with their routine during this time.
*Sun Protection Note Teenagers need reminders not to use expired sunscreen and to reapply SPF when outside for extended periods of time.
One of the best ways to teach your child about taking care of their skin is to lead by example. Take care of your skin by engaging in a full skincare routine each day. Teenagers can also get started on their skin journey with the YELLE Beauty Essential System. This plant-based regimen is formulated with zero parabens or phthalates and suitable for all skin types, especially for those new to skin care