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Article: What age should my child start washing their face? A Client Question

What age should my child start washing their face? A Client Question

What age should my child start washing their face? A Client Question

What age should my child start washing their face? Today's client question is one that is dear to my heart, it isn't one that many parents realize because most of our parents didn't teach it to us. Children should be taught to wash their face at the same age that they learn to brush their teeth. So often I watch parents wait to teach proper skin habits until their teenager sees their first problem with their skin. This sends a message that we should not maintain but rather be reactive when there is a problem. It’s better to start healthy habits early on, just make sure to keep it gentle. I like physician recommended Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser for Sensitive Skin, it’s gentle enough for babies and is perfect for instilling good habits early on.

Your cleansing routine should be age specific
Once your children reach the teenage years increased hormone activity can cause blockage in the pores as their bodies change. Adding a light exfoliant into their routines is important to help combat acne before it starts. Light scrubs and enzymes are preferred over the harsh buff puffs and apricot scrubs that leave micro-lacerations in the skin leading to broken capillaries and long term skin damage. Our favorite is GM Collin's Active Exfoliating Powder.

It is important to educate teens that the goal is never to be ‘squeaky clean,’ and if skin feels tight after washing they are damaging their skin’s protective barrier. Tools like a Clarisonic brush can be helpful if not over used, choose a sensitive skin brush head and only employ a brush 2-3 times a week with a gentle cleanser (try Vivier's Hexam).

The battle of the sexes begins
Teen years means the start of shaving and makeup wearing. Be sure to teach your boys the proper way to shave their skin; it is important to have a pre-shave cleansing ritual that removes excess oil to avoid surface bacteria from entering the delicate freshly shaven skin. Most shave creams are filled with fragrance and potential irritants like menthol that are harsh on the skin. I recommend the use of a shaving brush and mug soap to soften beard hair and lift it up to achieve a closer shave. My favorite shaving soap is Williams Mug Shaving Soap and a razor with no more than two blades to reduce razor burn. Make sure to teach your son to shave in the direction of beard growth which will prevent irritation and ingrown hairs. Skip the aftershave and follow shaving with a gentle hydrating gel moisturizer specific to his skin type and SPF 15 or more during the daytime.

Girls also start to wear makeup in their teen years, and makeup requires a bit of a different cleansing process. Wash your face the way the French girls do with a luxurious double cleanse method. The first step is to float makeup, pollution, and debris off the surface of the skin with a waterless milk cleanser that you tissue off (wet skin is more permeable than dry, a waterless first cleanse keeps daily grime out). Second, follow up with a mild foaming cleanser to deep clean the pores. My favorite power couple is Biodroga Oil Cleanser and Cleansing Foam. Proper cleansing will help balance the skin and teach her to avoid stripping her skin with harsh toners.

Fun Fact: That gray residue we think is dirt on the cotton pad after toning isn’t dirt at all, that's your stratum corneum… That's your skins barrier layer! So be careful, sometimes common beliefs aren’t healthy beliefs.

A gentle hydrating mist or nourishing toner will help prep the skin for a light skin-specific moisturizer. Make sure you are adding SPF during the day: the sunscreen in makeup is a bit of a marketing ploy as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are used as preservatives, you would never wear make up thick enough to reach the SPF rating that is listed on the bottle. Start a healthy habit of applying a mineral sunscreen before makeup and get the bonus acne fighting properties of the minerals.

Seek professional advice at the first sign of acne
Everyone has a breakout now and then but letting acne get a foothold can be damaging to the skin and your child's self-esteem. Getting professional advice at the first sign of clogged pores is far more effective than waiting until the first pimples erupt. Frequently, teen acne is caused by improper skin care or makeup choices that can easily be remedied. It takes approximately 90 days for a pore to fill up with debris and become a pimple, and strategically used products can gently dissolve that debris before it has a chance to disrupt the skin's ecosystem. Waiting until acne is full blown requires the use of strong chemicals to break up the dead skin and kill the bacteria, while safe, these ingredients cause dryness, flaking and sun sensitivity (leading to an increased skin cancer risk).

Your skin is your bodies largest organ and maintaining it takes commitment. I believe that a licensed esthetician can be a huge help guiding you and your family on maintaining proper skin health.

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