By Amy Williams
Our children are born with flawless skin, but with age and the elements, skin can become irritated and damaged. With the start of summer vacation only days away, parents need to stock up on skincare products to ensure happy and healthy summer skin. Because once Memorial weekend hits, our kids will be busy running outside, swimming, and playing sports.
According to Kidshealth.org, much of the sun exposure our skin receives happens before age 18. Protecting skin at an early age helps ensure that skin receives the minimal amount of damage from the sun’s damaging UVA and UVB rays. And don’t be fooled by overcast summer skies, those sneaky UVA/UVB rays can break past the clouds.
But children’s skin is going to be prone beyond damage from the sun. Bug bites, poison ivy, eczema and even drying soaps can cause irritation and sensitivity. While parents can’t protect their child from every pesky mosquito or rash, there are products that help heal red, itchy, irritated or damaged skin. Make sure your medicine cabinets are stocked with these must-have summer skin remedies to keep your child’s skin healthy and happy!
OTC Anti-Itch Creams or Colloidal Oatmeal
The summer is the time when most kids will have a brush with Poison Ivy or Poison Oak. Parents will notice an itchy rash that might begin to ooze. To soothe itchy rashes, have a child soak in a lukewarm bath with colloidal oatmeal. Or you may also use an anti-itch cream like Cortizone to keep scratching at bay. However, always check with your child’s pediatrician before using any medication for your child. And if poison ivy rashes seem unmanageable—either in size or irritation—call the doctor!
Parents of older kids—especially preteens and teens—should stock up on products for shaving irritation. Summer is the prime shaving time, and ingrown hairs can be especially irritating…especially on the face or in areas where sweat accumulates.
You cannot go through summer without sunscreen. The American Academy of Dermatology urges that consumers look for three things in a sunscreen: one that provides a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher, is water resistant and that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Infants older than six months of age need to use sunscreen with “an SPF of at least 15,” according to the Mayo Clinic. Parents should not use sunscreen on babies under age six months and need to keep their skin protected in other ways. Parents also should keep infants from being out when the sun is at its most intense—typically, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
And, yes, sunscreen should be reapplied after getting wet, toweling off or sweating…or per the instructions on the bottle (no sunscreen lasts all day!).
Moisturizers and Essential Oils
Kid’s skin loses moisture just like ours does. Keep that delicate skin baby soft with a good moisturizer. Look for unscented products formulated for children or babies….but be sure to skip any moisturizers that contain a form of alcohol called ethanol which can dry out the skin.
Some parents love essential oils. Argan oil and coconut oils are great for keeping skin moisturized and soft. Be careful using coconut oil, however, as it may clog pores. With oils, a little goes a long way so don’t slather it on heavily. According to an article on Babble.com, coconut oil also may be used to treat diaper rash. Opt for organic unrefined cold-pressed oils.
Be cautious when buying moisturizers or skin products like lotions and soaps that claim to be natural. According to an American Academy of Dermatology press release that addressed the misinformation of the safety of children’s skin products, labels like organic or natural don’t equate to better quality. The release included a Q&A format featuring Dermatologist Renee Howard, M.D. and associate clinical professor of dermatology, University of California, San Francisco, who addressed common concerns about children’s skincare.
“Natural products aren’t necessarily safer, and many have had very limited testing,” said Dr. Howard in the press release. “Some of these products may not be as effective as traditional skin care products.”
Antibiotic Ointment & Gauze
Kids will fall down and scrape their knees and elbows. Accidents happen, but parents need to treat cuts properly to prevent infection. If the cut is bleeding, apply pressure to the area. Once the bleeding stops, clean the wound, apply an antibiotic ointment and use a bandage. And don’t let kids pick their scabs! While parents can’t always prevent scarring, keeping cuts cared for will help skin heal faster. For serious injuries, dial 911!
Sunburns happen even when parents are meticulous with sunscreen application. Keep burned skin cool by applying an aloe gel to the affected area. Parents also may invest in an aloe plant for the home. Break off a leaf and apply the healing gel inside to the burn.
A child’s unblemished skin should be properly protected during the hot summer months, when kids are at their most active. Cuts, sunburns and rashes are a part of childhood, but the right skincare products will help keep skin from grow up bearing the scars from summer mishaps.
Amy Williams is a free-lance journalist based in Southern California and mother of two. As a parent, she enjoys spreading the word on positive parenting techniques in the digital age and raising awareness on issues like cyberbullying and online safety.