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Growing up beautiful

Find out how to look after young skin – from babies to teenagers – with advice from the experts

Baby beauty

Rosemarie Bennis, Sonas Health Foods, Newcastle West, Limerick: “Bathe your baby in plain water, adding a few drops of soothing essential oils such as lavender or mandarin. For dry or irritated skin soak a muslin bag of porridge oats in the bath water for a soothing milky bath that gives great relief.”

Sian Eustace at Healing Harvest, Kinvara, co Galway: “Babies’ skin is very delicate. It is not necessary to bathe them every day and I would advise keeping cleansing products as simple, and as minimal, as possible.”

Ian Taylor, Cosmetic Scientist at Green People: “For the first month, just plain water should be used. After this a gentle cleansing wash free from SLS and other skin irritants is the best choice for baby’s delicate young skin.”

Milk spots and infant eczema

Sian Eustace: “Milk spots, or milia, are sometimes known as baby acne. They are extremely common and it is best to leave them alone. They fade gradually over the course of a couple of weeks. Infant eczema is a slightly different story. Small patches of dry skin could be softened with gentle moisturisers. Another option is homeopathy – this gentle treatment is suitable from birth and treats the issue from the inside out. Often eczema will not last beyond childhood.”

Rosemarie Bennis: “For infant eczema try using a topical application of probiotic mixed in a base of neutral oil or cream. Just pull apart the capsule edges and apply to patches of broken or cracked skin.”

Baby massage

Sian Eustace: “The Irish Association of Infant Massage recommends using an organic, cold pressed and unscented vegetable based oil such as sunflower, safflower or coconut oil when massaging.”

Rosemarie Bennis: “Massage oil is wonderful to use for baby. Use plain sweet almond oil or jojoba to start and then build up to a blend including chamomile, lavender, mandarin etc. Use circular clockwise motions on the tummy to aid digestion and use a eucalyptus blend on the chest and upper back for congestion.”

Toddler time

Sian Eustace: “For the slightly older child, it can be a good idea to make a warm bath part of the bedtime routine. Toddlers become grubby during the day due to their inquisitive nature and whilst obvious areas of grime need to be removed, often splashing in the soapy water can be sufficient to do a more general cleanse. Non-toxic bath colours and coloured soaps can entice toddlers into having their bath. Other companies have gently foaming products to create fun bubbles without nasty chemicals.”

Rosemarie Bennis: “A dash of almond or jojoba oil helps to soften the drying effect of extended fun in the tub and a shake of epsom salts is a great addition to your child’s mineral intake.”

Ian Taylor: “A hand sanitiser comes in very useful with an inquisitive, on-the-go toddler. Try an organic chemical-free one. Kids love the fun of foam and the independence that their own bottle offers.”

Perfect puberty

Nutritional advisor Sundara O’Higgins: “I would recommend a light cleanser and moisturiser and maybe some natural blemish treatments to apply to individual spots. General tips include not scrubbing too hard or touching the face too often.”

Sian Eustace: “It is important to help your child establish a skincare routine during puberty, as hormonal changes often lead to skin issues of one type or another. Hormonal acne is very common and can be helped with a balanced diet as well as through a simple skincare routine. There are several natural products on the market which combine, for example, cleanser and toner.”

Ian Taylor: “A gentle product placement in the bathroom may be all it takes. It is also important to teach the importance of underarm hygiene at this age, regular showers and a gentle yet effective natural deodorant.”

Terrific teenagers

Sian Eustace: “I would point out the necessity for health from within, looking at diet, and where necessary, supplements to support skin health. At this age, teenagers can be taught about reading labels and looking for ingredients to avoid. There are many very natural and healthy skincare ranges for teenagers.”

Ian Taylor: “Cutting down on refined sugars and processed carbohydrates as well as ensuring the body is effectively hydrated will all help. Educating teenagers on the ingredients that can be found in mainstream products and how these can have a negative effect on their skin may be all they need, as well as showing them natural alternatives.”

Rosemarie Bennis: “The key to good teenage skin is not to strip or over work it, but still to remove surface grime and cleanse the pores. Get as much good stuff on the kitchen table and on the bathroom shelves as you can. A cool auntie, uncle or god-parent can come in handy if your well-intentioned words are met with serious eye-rolling!”

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