Kids’ Skincare: Building Healthy Routines & Choosing Safe Products

June 5, 2024

Learn about the best skincare routine for kids and get dermatologist-approved skin health tips for parents.

You’ve probably heard the adage, “Your skin’s as smooth as a baby’s bottom.” This saying works because we all start life with healthy, beautiful skin. While children’s skin may seem naturally flawless, it still needs to be cared for. According to Dr. Jacqueline Watchmaker of U.S. Dermatology Partners in Scottsdale, Arizona, “It’s easy to see our child’s gleaming, fresh skin and think there’s no way to improve on this perfection, but a good skincare routine for kids is important because they need to keep their skin that healthy. They also need to learn good skincare habits early. The better we care for our child’s skin, the more we are setting them up for lifetime skin health.” In this blog, Dr. Watchmaker describes the best skincare routine for kids and provides skin health tips for parents.

Importance of Skincare for Kids

The skin is our body’s first line of protection. It regulates temperature, maintains hydration, avoids infection, and so much more. A child’s skin is still developing. It starts out thin and easily damaged, making it prone to injury, rashes, and other issues. The right skincare routine prevents many common skincare concerns for kids and minimizes the negative effects of these conditions. Additionally, developing a good, consistent skincare routine sets your little ones up for better lifelong skin health.

Understanding Children’s Skin

According to Dr. Watchmaker, “Your child’s skin may not look very different from your own at first glance, but it is. A child’s skin is thinner, retains less water, is paler, and is more likely to be damaged by the sun and other environmental irritants and allergens. With good, basic skincare, most kids will do just fine and have relatively healthy skin, but every child is different. Consult with a dermatologist to develop and maintain the right skincare routine for your child.”

Learn about the best skincare routine for kids and get dermatologist-approved skin health tips for parents.

Selecting Appropriate Skincare Products

Every child has a unique skin type and skincare needs, just like adults, but Dr. Watchmaker offers a good rule of thumb, “You can feel free to use your child’s skincare products, but they shouldn’t be using yours. Kids need gentle products to avoid irritation and damage. The easiest way to do this is to look for products that are specifically designated for children, but you can also choose skincare products that are hypoallergenic and include minimal ingredients.”

When you’re selecting products for children, try to avoid:

  • Sulfates – These ingredients are known to irritate and dry skin. They can also irritate a child’s eyes and lungs.
  • Fragrances – Additional fragrance added to skincare products is one of the leading reasons that children (and adults) experience an allergic reaction.
  • Propylene Glycol – This ingredient is known to trigger hives and dermatitis.
  • Dyes – The chemicals in dyes can trigger skin health issues.

Building a Skincare Routine for Kids

Kids need simple skincare routines that they can easily learn to do themselves and that can be completed quickly and easily. For very young children, simply cleansing each day and using a good moisturizer will be adequate. Apply moisturizer immediately after cleansing the skin. This helps to lock in the moisture left on a child’s skin after bathing. The only other skincare product kids really need is sunscreen. Dr. Watchmaker recommends, “The faster and easier skincare is, the more likely they are to stick with it. Make sure to always talk about skincare as something fun and enjoyable. It’s important to build positive associations with skincare for kids. We want them to enjoy taking care of their skin.”

Below, Dr. Watchmaker outlines a beneficial morning and evening skincare routine for kids.

UV Pure Broad-Spectrum SPF 47Your Child’s AM Skincare Routine

  • Cleanser
  • Moisturizer
  • Sunscreen

Your Child’s PM Skincare Routine

  • Cleanser
  • Moisturizer

Shop skincare products on ▶

Addressing Common Skin Issues in Children

When it comes to treating common skin conditions, Dr. Watchmaker says, “A dermatologist can help you address a current flare-up and prevent future skin health issues before they begin.”

Some of the common issues that children struggle with include:

  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Skin infections like impetigo and warts
  • Allergic reactions
  • Bug bites
  • Diaper rash

To address these concerns, Dr. Watchmaker recommends “Schedule an appointment with a dermatologist, especially if the symptoms are severe or persistent. Follow all dermatologist treatment instructions closely and help your child stick to a consistent skincare routine. Protect damaged skin from sun exposure, environmental allergens, and other irritants that can make your child’s skin health issues worse.”

Practical Tips for Healthy Kids’ Skin

In addition to the skincare routine and product recommendations, Dr. Watchmaker offered up the following tips on skincare for kids:

  • Be Gentle – Never scrub your little one’s skin too hard or use rough or abrasive cleansing cloths. Kids can get dirty, and it’s tempting to give them a good scrub to get them clean, but they also have sensitive skin. It’s always better to pick the right cleaning product for the job and work gently.
  • Take Shorter Baths – Kids either love bath time or loathe it. If you have one of those kids who never wants to get out of the bath, it may be beneficial to find ways to limit their tub time. Warm water can leave a child’s skin dry and dehydrated.
  • Treat with Care – Itchy or damaged skin in adults often means using topical corticosteroids to alleviate pain, itch, and inflammation. Kids can benefit from these products as well, but they often don’t need a formulation that’s as strong.
  • Consult A Professional – If you notice irregularities or areas of concern, don’t hesitate to reach out to a dermatologist to schedule an appointment for your child. They can help you receive an accurate diagnosis and plan appropriate care.

Contact Your Trusted Dermatologist

We hope you’ll implement some of our dermatologist recommendations for children’s skincare into your child’s daily routine. If you want help building up a beneficial skincare routine for your little one, don’t hesitate to schedule a visit with a local U.S. Dermatology Partners practice. We make getting started with us quick and easy. Just take a moment to complete our online scheduling request form. Once we hear from you, a member of our local team will reach out to finalize the details of your visit.

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