Caring for children’s skin requires gentle ingredients, proper sun care, and treatment for the occasional rash or bruise. And during pregnancy, a woman’s skin needs some adjustments and TLC as well. Read on for questions and answers about safe ingredients to use during pregnancy, how to treat children’s sensitive skin, and essential tips on sun protection.
PREGNANCY, BABIES & KIDS
“We find delight in the beauty and happiness of children that makes the heart too big for the body.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Kids have unique skincare needs. Whether a child has delicate skin susceptible to rashes and infections, or suffers from the inevitable cut or bruise, it’s important to give young skin special care. Expectant moms also require changes in their skincare routine, whether it’s treating itchy skin or learning which beauty ingredients are safe during pregnancy. Use these FAQs to learn more about proper skincare for pregnancy, baby and child.
Skincare during pregnancy & breastfeeding
» Q: What ingredients in my makeup should I try to avoid during pregnancy?
A: Skip salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide and retinoids. The first two can appear in over-the-counter concealers and foundations. If you’re prone to breakouts, switch to oil-free formulas, because oil can clog pores and contribute to acne.
» Q: Since I’ve been pregnant, my skin is always itchy. What can I do?
A: Itchy, red skin is normal for many pregnant women. The skin stretches to its limit, causing it to become dry, flaky and itchy. Using calamine lotion or moisturizer will help alleviate the itch. If that doesn’t work, your dermatologist could prescribe a steroid cream. If your itchy skin is accompanied by fluid-filled blisters, according to WebMD, see your doctor immediately, as this can be an autoimmune reaction (pemphigoid gestationis or herpes gestationis), which could compromise the health of your baby.
» Q: Which acne products are OK to use while breastfeeding?
A: Several prescription medications, such as erythromycin and Zithromax, are safe to use while you're breastfeeding. However, avoid tetracycline. If you’ve stopped nursing, you can use birth control pills like Ortho Tri-Cyclen. To be on the safe side, though, always consult your physician before using any treatment.
» Q: Is it OK to use self-tanners during pregnancy? What about hair dyes?
A: According to dermatologist Sandra Johnson, M.D., on BabyCenter, self-tanners are safe to use during pregnancy because they remain on the skin’s surface. Concerning hair dyes, studies show that they’re also safe. But if you’re concerned, you can color your hair when the baby is less vulnerable, which is during the second trimester, says certified nurse-midwife Ann Linden on BabyCenter.
» Q: Can pregnant women use sunscreen? Are pregnant women at greater risk for skin cancer and sun damage?
A: Yes, they can and definitely should apply sunscreen daily. Just check with your doctor to be sure the specific sunscreen you’re using is safe. Pregnant women are especially sun sensitive. In fact, if a pregnant woman develops melanoma, then “she’s at very high risk of it recurring during another pregnancy,” writes Nancy Rones in Redbook. To boost your protection, in addition to sunscreen, wear a wide-brimmed hat, sit in the shade and avoid peak sun hours (from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
Children’s skincare & sun protection
» Q: Do children need sunglasses?
A: Absolutely! In fact, children’s eyes are at greater risk for sun damage. According to ABC News, “children's eyes are most susceptible to UV damage because their eyes' lens has not yet begun to cloud.” Plus, kids tend to be outside more often and for longer periods than adults. Look for wrap-around, scratch-free sunglasses. Be sure to take your child’s glasses to the eye doctor to get them checked, so you’re certain that they contain the proper sun protection —oftentimes sunglasses don’t provide the protection advertised.
» Q: Is aloe vera safe to use on my toddler?
A: Yes, it’s safe to apply aloe vera to your toddler’s skin. In fact, it’s particularly helpful if he or she has developed a sunburn, bug bite or rash.
» Q: How should I dress my infant during the hot summer months to prevent heat rash and sunburn?
A: Since sunscreen isn’t advised for children under 6 months of age, it’s important to keep your little one out of direct sunlight. Dress babies in 100 percent cotton, in tightly woven clothing that covers their arms and legs. Don’t forget a wide-brimmed hat to cover their face and ears, and sunglasses to shield their eyes.
» Q: What are the signs that my child’s heat rash has become infected?
A: Infection is common in younger children who are more inclined to scratch their skin. Look for red streaks, increased swelling and pus-filled bumps. Also, check for any swollen lymph nodes in other areas of the body. If you notice these signs, contact your doctor.
» Q: Are there factors that increase a child's sensitivity to the sun?
A: Yes, children — and adults — with lighter skin and hair have a higher risk of sunburn. Plus, some prescription medications might increase sun sensitivity. If your child takes medication, check with a pediatrician or pharmacist about sun sensitivity.
» Q: What types of skincare products are best for my young children?
A: Look for product lines designed specifically for children, and avoid soaps that are overly harsh and drying. For infants, check with a pediatrician, and watch carefully for signs of allergic reactions when trying a new product on your baby’s skin.
Searching for the right skincare treatment for yourself or your child? These FAQs provide answers to questions about sun protection, acne products, rash solutions and more tips specifically geared to pregnancy and children. This way, you can keep your little one’s skin healthy, while also protecting your own!
Stay tuned for more installments of our complete Skincare & Beauty FAQ Handbook.
Skincare & Beauty FAQ Handbook - Part 1: Skin Type & Seasonal Skincare
Skincare & Beauty FAQ Handbook – Part 2: Acne
Skincare & Beauty FAQ Handbook – Part 3: Anti-Aging