You rock! You manage every aspect of your child's life including, but not limited to, their nutrition, behavior, medical care, extracurricular activities, dental care, manners, hygiene--and now you are even teaching school! I'll say it again, you rock. I want to talk a little more about hygiene, though. When I was a kid, I learned how to properly bathe, brush my teeth, wash and brush my hair, but nobody ever taught me how to care for my skin.
Your skin is the largest organ of your body. It needs to be cared for in the same way you care for your other organs--actually, even more so--because it's visible! I think we can all agree that good habits take time to develop. So why are we letting our kids reach adulthood without ever learning good skincare? I am typically a do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do type of gal, but not when it comes to skin. I practice what I preach. In fact, the idea for this post came from my 8-year-old daughter.
I was working on my laptop in the backyard and said out loud, "Hmmm, what should my next post be about?" And from behind me came my daughter's adorable little voice, "Why don't you write about that good-smelling skin cream you gave me, and how my skin is ahhhmaaazing now that I use it?” And here we are. Now, to be fair, she's 8. Her skin is "ahhhmaaazing," with or without creams, but she has already learned the value of good skincare. That means that during her teen years she will already be accustomed to cleansing, exfoliating and moisturizing which will help her avoid major problems with teen acne. It's not just my daughter; I have indoctrinated my 10-year-old son too! I almost think it's even more important for boys because, well, boys like to be dirty. My son hates to shower, and soap is like kryptonite to him. But we've been working on it for a while now, and guess who never forgets to cleanse his face and put on moisturizer before bed? Well,maybe not “never,” but he's getting there. Are you wondering where to even begin?
I started my kids out by making sure they knew that the soap you use on your body is not to be used on your face because it’s not gentle enough. Then I gave them a gentle cleanser that foams and showed them how to cleanse by making sure the foam reached all areas of their faces except their eyes. Kids should also learn that washing your face should last for at least 20 seconds...just like washing your hands. Singing the happy birthday song twice is a good timer, and they love to sing it to someone different (and often silly) each time. Teach them how to splash it off with warm water, paying attention to the perimeter of the face where cleanser and dirt tend to migrate and get missed. Have a towel close at hand so they can immediately pat skin dry. Next, show them how to apply a moisturizer by dabbing a tiny amount on their forehead, nose, chin, and cheeks. In total, it should be a pea-sized amount. Then have them connect the dabs by rubbing the product all over, avoiding the eyes. Make sure your kids know that if it's daytime, they should apply sunscreen as well. As they get older, you can also add in an exfoliating product. I prefer an enzyme-basedexfoliator rather than a scrub which can be too harsh. Lastly, lead by example. Make sure your children see you taking care of your own skin. That's it! That wasn't too hard now, was it?
Amelia (8 years old) and Nolan (10 years old) cleansing their skin
Establishing a basic skincare routine at such a young age is literally so valuable. You will save your children a ton of money in corrective skin treatments later in their lives. Every now and then, I see a patient with great skin. When I comment about how beautiful it is, they almost always tell me they owe it to their mother for teaching them how to care for their skin when they were young. Those patients get to enjoy nicer treatments that won't break the bank as opposed to the expensive, often painful treatments that are necessary to correct years of neglect. Cool moms are in the know. Be the cool mom. Give your kids the gift of good skincare habits.
For information on kid-friendly skincare products, please reach out to me via email firstname.lastname@example.org or here, via chat.