As your kids turn from toddlers to preschoolers and start getting more independent, you’ll most likely want to start instilling a good sense of hygiene and personal care in them. Everything from thorough teeth brushing to daily sunscreen use are vital habits that will make all the difference later on in life if done correctly and consistently throughout childhood and into adulthood.
With an abundance of personal care products marketed towards kids with bright colors, cartoon characters, and fruity scents and flavors, it can be difficult to pick which ones can be trusted to provide the best results for your little ones. Well, those overly sweet, mass-marketed kids products may not be all that safe for kids in the long run. Have you noticed the warning on the back of your child’s toothpaste? There’s a reason why that warning is there, and you should take the time to look for natural products that do not warrant a warning.
These toothpastes and other children’s personal care products, like many personal care products for adults, are full of irritating and harmful chemical ingredients. That’s why natural options are becoming more common in the personal care industry for adults. Natural face washes, shampoos, deodorants and just about everything you can put on your body are beginning to pop up in large numbers as people start to pay more attention to where ingredients come from and what they can cause. The same care should be taken for your children who are even more vulnerable to irritants and can live with the negative side effects for a lifetime.
The habits children develop at a young age are likely to continue into their adult lives, and if they integrate natural products early on, they will have a life full of the health benefits that we adults are trying to catch up on.
Here’s a couple of personal hygiene products that kids are going to need as they get older, and why you should leave the artificial kid “friendly” choices on the shelf, and add the natural options to your shopping cart.
Getting your kids to settle down and brush their teeth twice a day can be a struggle, but putting in the effort to shape their oral hygiene habits is crucial for their lifetime teeth and gum health. But not all toothpastes are created equally.
Many toothpastes marketed toward children use artificial colors and flavors which are common allergens that can result in contact or perioral dermatitis, and no child responds well to an itchy red rash. Other ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate, sorbitol, saccharine, triclosan, and harsh abrasives are also common ingredients in toothpaste that can trigger a wealth of negative effects for yours and your childrens’ teeth and health.
Read more about toothpaste ingredients to avoid here.
Then there’s the issue of the dangers of fluoride. While there are benefits to fluoride as it helps strengthen the enamel on our teeth which prevents decay and cavities, too much fluoride can be dangerous especially for children. Kids toothpastes that contain fluoride often come with a warning label pertaining to small childrens’ difficulty spitting out toothpaste properly and the danger of ingesting too much fluoride. Consuming more than 20mg of fluoride a day can lead to weakened bones and ligaments, muscle and nervous system problems, and dental fluorosis which causes permanent spotting and streaking on the teeth. Most tap water contains fluoride, so under most circumstances, the added fluoride in toothpaste isn’t as necessary as it seems, and recent studies from The American Dental Association and National Health Institute suggest that xylitol is just as effective as fluoride for preventing tooth decay.
The best option for clean, healthy teeth is a fluoride-free toothpaste that avoids using those aforementioned irritating ingredients. Once they get into a constant routine of brushing morning and night, your kids’ smiles will be bright, and so will yours knowing that you're providing them with what’s healthiest and you won’t be paying to fill cavities down the line.
Try Cleure's new children's toothpaste which is mint and fluoride free with a fun fruity flavor.
How to Brush for Kids
Shifting weather and dry air takes a toll on our skin, and our lips bear a lot of the burden. Chapped lips aren’t pleasant for anyone, and fussy kids can be especially bothered. To try to ease their discomfort lots of kids will lick their lips as a reflex, but that only makes the matter worse. Introducing kids to lip balm will give them the instant relief they need, and repeated usage will promote consistently healthy and moisturized lips.
Candy flavored lip balms may make your kids beg, but, same as with toothpaste, artificial flavorings and colors can further irritate lips and cause allergic reaction. Lip balms are also packed with parabens, preservatives, phthalates, and harsh chemical sunscreens which can all lead to health issues like hormonal imbalances, cancer, and respiratory problems. A flavor free lip balm with natural softening butters like shea, mango, and cocoa will soothe chapped lips rather than making them worse. Once their chapped lips are alleviated, they’ll be much more satisfied than they were with other lip balms that serve no real purpose other than smelling sweet.
Sun damage lasts a lifetime. Freckles, moles, and sunspots that pop up as a result of too much sun exposure and not enough protection are permanent unless you want to go through expensive and painful laser treatments further down the line. And while this discoloration only seems cosmetic, if unprotected sun exposure continues it can lead to premature signs of aging (and you want your kids to stay young as long as possible, right?) or worse, severe medical problems like skin cancer.
While you may be adamant about applying sunscreen before beach or pool days, kids spend a lot of their average free time in the sun, so you should take time in showing your kids daily sunscreen application to shield skin from the sun and the harm it can cause. Use a natural mineral sunscreen formulated with titanium oxide and zinc oxide which protect against both UVA and UVB radiation.
Once that habit forms, your kids will be protected from the sun’s harmful UV rays every time they step onto the playground. Little freckled faces may be adorable, but the risk of skin cancer...not so much.
Kids' hands get into anything and everything. With germs and bacteria lurking everywhere, it's crucial for your kids to wash their hands often to avoid illness and infections, since harmful bacteria most often enter the body via the hands. Over-washing hands can dry them out, so show your kids a mild SLS-free hand soap, and have them follow it with a bit of hand or body lotion for sensitive skin.
Once your kids get a little older and reach the cusp of puberty, their bodies go through a number of changes, including the not so pleasant induction of body odor. To ward off their malodorous sweat you might feel inclined to introduce them to a sweat-blocking antiperspirant. However, an immense amount of new information on the risk associated with antiperspirants has come up in the last couple years. The main fear is that the aluminum in antiperspirants used to stop sweat can possibly cause breast cancer and Alzheimers. While the studies are inconclusive, aluminum is still harmful as it plugs up sweat glands, trapping sweat and toxins in the body. Many deodorants also contain other dangerous ingredients such as parabens which disrupt hormonal balance, phthalates which are linked to birth defects and are likely a carcinogen, and triclosan which is classified as a pesticide by the FDA. While not all of the chemical effects of antiperspirants are proven, why risk putting your children’s health in danger when natural deodorants are widely available and contain a bunch of other benefits.
If you personally have made the switch to an aluminum free deodorant, you may have been turned off within the first couple weeks when your body odor seemingly got worse. Well the reason that occurs is your body has to detox from years of plugged up sweat glands. Once that detox is completed the odor blocking properties of a natural deodorant can work their magic. If you introduce your child to a natural deodorant from the get-go, they won’t build up those toxins to begin with and will never have to go through a detox.
Growing up comes with growing pains, but if you start your children off on the right foot as far as personal hygiene, they won’t have to experience further pains down the line from a lifetime of using products packed with toxic ingredients.