Skin allergies used to be a condition that primarily affected older women. Sadly, this is not the case anymore. Nowadays, young children are increasingly affected by this phenomenon, even children as young as three years old. The question is: why? And how do you prevent your child from developing these types of chronic conditions? The fact of the matter is: once a person has developed a skin allergy, they are stuck with it for the rest of their life. This forms a marked contrast to other allergies, such as hay fever, which can in many cases be outgrown. Skin allergies, on the other hand, are chronic and mean that a person retains a life-long hypersensitivity to certain substances. This is unfortunate as many skin allergies could be prevented. Parents are ill-informed when it comes to allergens (substances that cause allergic reactions) and allergen avoidance. If they knew more about these issues, skin allergies in children would decline dramatically.
Why are skin allergies on the rise among children?
Parents want nothing more than to take good care of their children. They pamper their infant’s delicate, soft skin with fluffy towels and fragrant moisturizers, not realizing this is the root cause of the problem. This is not surprising. After all, baby lotions smell wonderful and are adorably packaged – how could something so sweet be harmful? Unfortunately, these products have turned out to be wolves in sheep’s clothing. This is because scented products have fragrances added to them, which smell nice, but are also a common allergen. To make matters worse, scented products usually contain other allergens besides these fragrance ingredients. A child’s risk of developing a skin allergy increases every time they are exposed to allergens.
We can attest to the effectiveness of marketing campaigns in the cosmetics industry as most of us buy into the myth that men, women, and children require different skin care products. This concept is nothing more than a clever marketing strategy. There is a wide array of natural, allergen-free skin products out there that will help rejuvenate the skin and keep it healthy, regardless of age or gender. All human beings benefit from natural, allergen-free skin care products just as all human beings benefit from eating fruit and vegetables.
Which products are safe to use?
Parents want the very best for their child but are so overwhelmed by all the skin care products on the market that they have no idea what to purchase anymore. In addition, many products claim to be ‘fragrance free’, ‘paraben free’, or ‘natural’ but are not suitable for infant skin care. What is more, many products contain allergens such as tree moss extract, which cause allergic reactions even though they are a natural ingredient. We recommend purchasing products that have been certified by a certification organization such as Allergy Certified. This way you can be sure the product contains allergen-free ingredients that have been evaluated and approved by a toxicologist.
How do you prevent children from developing allergies?
Nowadays, children are exposed to allergens at increasingly younger ages and with a higher frequency than in the past. Prof. Rustemeyer, who we met through Allergy Certified, told us ‘it is no longer a matter of will a person develop one or more skin allergies, but rather a matter of when will they develop these allergies’. He believes there are far too many allergens in baby products. After all, once a child has developed an allergy to a substance, they will retain this hypersensitivity for the rest of their life.
Sensitive infant skin: myths and facts
There is an abundance of choice when it comes to skin care products for infants. There are baby shampoos, baby lotions, baby bath gels, baby bottom balms, nappy rash creams, baby eczema creams, baby moisturizers, cradle cap products, and baby creams for flaky skin. However, many of the ingredients in these products actually exacerbate skin conditions and sometimes even cause them. Infant skin is still very fragile and lacks the barrier function that is present in adults. External substances are therefore able to penetrate infant skin very quickly and effectively causing hypersensitive reactions and allergies. It seems rather superfluous to use scented baby products anyway as babies have a lovely natural smell! It is a myth that babies need to be bathed on a daily basis. The truth is they should not be bathed that often as it dries out their skin. It is much better to spot clean your baby with a warm wash cloth.
Parents should be very sparing when it comes to skin care products and their baby. We recommend using water, soap (real soap not those cleansing bars), and a natural oil. Many parents believe they should give their baby daily baths that resemble a mini spa treatment, involving bath oils and body lotions. However, these types of rituals actually increase your infant’s chances of developing allergies or eczema. In fact, baby hair does not need to be washed at all.
Older children can, of course, take a shower every day and wash their hair more frequently without experiencing any problems, although parents should continue checking product ingredients before letting their children use them. The fact of the matter is that water, natural oil, real soap, and allergen-free shampoo are all you really need to take care of your skin.
Most young girls love make up and nail polish and cannot wait to try out these beauty products on themselves. Try to delay this moment for as long as possible because these products are full of allergens and ingredients that agitate young skin.
Teenagers and hormones: soothe the skin
Hormones frequently play havoc with young skin once puberty hits. This is why gentle products should be used when cleansing or nourishing this type of skin as it will help it heal. Teenagers often use harsh and aggressive products to get rid of spots but this only makes the problem worse.
Mothers Leslie and Monique from Squalan reveal their secrets
Leslie has a son aged one-and-a-half and says, ‘I find it astonishing that so many scented products are designed with infant care in mind: baby wipes, nappies, bath oils, shampoo – the list is endless. People are not aware of the effects of these products on infant skin. My son’s skin care regime consists of a few allergen-free products. I use Squalan Pure, Allergy Certified baby wipes, and Squalan soap that doubles up as a shampoo’.
Monique has two daughters, aged 10 and 14. ‘My youngest uses a drop of Squalan Pure in the mornings and likes to add two drops to her bath whenever she takes one. She has gorgeous skin and Squalan Pure is the only thing she uses – it gives her skin exactly what it needs.’
How to treat acne?
Monique’s oldest daughter had an acne flare-up two years ago. ‘Puberty can be a tough time for young girls. My daughter religiously uses the Cleanser every night to wash her face and then moisturizes using a drop of Squalan Pure. She then uses another drop of Squalan Pure in the mornings and has smooth, clear skin now. She is a huge fan of Squalan and tells all her friends how much it helped her. Fortunately, the story does not end there: we have seen many teenage girls who were struggling with acne achieve fantastic results with this product. Of course, other factors play a role as well, such as diet. For instance, dairy products are notorious acne triggers. Squalan maintains the skin’s natural balance, even when hormones are coursing through the body’.
Mothers: this is an appeal for change
Our approach to parenting in terms of our moral codes, values, and traditions is often learned from our own parents. This is equally true for many of our everyday routines, including our skin care rituals. Our mothers often used certain products on our skin when we were children, ensuring we purchase those same products when we have our own children.
Children adopt their parent’s habits and men often adopt their wives’ habits. Women are the key factor here: they have the power to eliminate unhealthy family habits and create new healthy habits. Parents who avoid scented products as much as possible have adopted the single most healthy habit when it comes to skin care. Healthy, glowing skin is one of the best gifts you can give your child and they will be eternally grateful for it.
Beauty secret: If you like perfume too much to give it up, why not apply it to your hair and clothes instead of your skin?