Kids have been fascinated with makeup for as long as it’s been around. Walk down the toy aisle at your favorite department store, and you’ll see makeup kits for children as young as three years old. Even when those kits don’t contain actual cosmetics, they may lead to kids raiding their mom’s makeup stash for a taste of the real deal. But could it be putting your child’s health in danger? Is kid makeup safe?
The Scoop on Makeup Made for Kids
It seems harmless enough. A little blush on the cheeks or some lip gloss can’t hurt, right? And how adorable is it to see a little girl and her mom getting manicures together. And for many preteens, it’s a right of passage to start wearing makeup. Is it safe, though?
Raman Madan, MD, director of cosmetic dermatology at Northwell Health and assistant clinical professor at Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell tells Parentology, “There isn’t much harm as most makeups are safe to wear. Some makeups can be pore-clogging (comedogenic) and lead to acne.”
Madan’s recommendation, “It’s important to look for makeup that’s non-comedogenic. In terms of the right age, there’s no right answer. It [depends on how] comfortable you are [with it] as a parent.”
Hair Dyes Come with Suggested Age Limits
Not safe for kids, in Madan’s opinion — hair dyes. “Hair Dyes aren’t safe for children until they reach puberty. Usually, I recommend waiting until at least 16 years old. Children’s hair is still immature and more susceptible to damage.”
Madan continues, “Children are more likely to experience an allergic reaction to hair dyes, which contain paraphenylenediamine, ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, and can cause not only allergic reactions, but a change in texture.”
Nail Polish a No
When a mom puts nail polish on her toddler, she’s probably not thinking about the product’s chemicals that can cause a multitude of health problems. The three most concerning nail polish chemicals have even been found in products that claim they are free from toxins.
Of the three chemicals, toluene, can cause neurological damage. It’s so toxic that the European Union restricts its use. Birth defects have been linked to dibutyl phthalate (DBP). Formaldehyde is a cancer-causing chemical.
If parents are expecting the government to ensure that makeup if safe for anyone who wears it, they should think again. On their website, the FDA states, “Under the law, cosmetic products and ingredients do not need FDA premarket approval, with the exception of color additives.” They do, however, prohibit the use of ingredients in cosmetics that “makes the product harmful when consumers use it according to directions on the label, or in the customary or expected way.”
A parent can just say no to nail polish and hair dyes. They can also offer alternatives. A preschooler may be happy with nail stickers. There are temporary hair color sprays that may satisfy a preteens desire to experiment. They can also get clip-on pieces of hair for a temporary, yet fun, experience.