Self-care & Wellbeing for Children & Teens: A salon perspective

Anita Murray looks at how skincare professionals can educate parents and care givers on the products they are using on their children at home.

Anita Murray Be Kingdom KindThe skin is the largest organ in the body so carefully considered skincare for infants and young children is essential. 

The blood-brain barrier that helps block chemicals from penetrating brain tissue is not fully formed until a baby is six months old and the epidermis is 30% thinner. Children don't develop a full skin barrier until approximately the age of two. As skincare professionals it's up to us to help educate parents and care givers and explore what our clients are using at home for their children.

We were travelling to South Africa around seven years ago and I had picked up some sunscreen and some general personal care products for my daughter. Within only a week Ava, who was just a few months old, broke out in an angry rash. I stopped using everything on her and started examining the ingredients, I was absolutely shocked at the amount of toxic chemicals present in infant and children's skincare products. I was investing so much in my own professional skincare and wellbeing and there were very few professional and safe options for my most important little person; that really resonated with me and Be Kingdom Kind was conceived from there.

As skincare professionals it's up to us to help educate parents and care givers and explore what our clients are using at home for their children.
An environmental group found that the average child is exposed through personal care products to 27 chemicals a day, some associated with cancer, brain and nervous system damage, allergies and hormone disruption. These chemicals are common ingredients in many baby shampoos, lotions, diaper creams, sunscreen and a number of other children's products. Just because a product is labelled “Childrens” doesn't mean it has been tested and deemed safe for children unfortunately.

A holistic approach to children's wellness

I would love to see more emphasis on children's wellbeing in our professional environments. There is also a growing mental health crisis among the children and young people of Ireland; experts have published figures showing a 33% increase in the demand for children's mental health services and the services simply don't exist. Waiting lists can see some children waiting up to two years for an appointment and as a result doctors are prescribing antidepressants in the meantime. The HSE figures are outlining a 130% increase in the consumption of anti-depressants. 

Mac MacLachlan, professor of psychology and social inclusion at Maynooth University, said there are questions as to whether children this young should be on antidepressants at all. Is there a part we could play with supporting therapeutic interventions? 

Our salons and spas could and should prioritise mental health and wellbeing and this can be explored in a number of ways, from general self-care and grooming and the positive impact we can create from an understanding of aesthetic health and wellbeing. 

This is represented by overall wellness that reflects in the conditions of skin, hair and nails, and general physique and personal countenance. Self-care will cultivate healthy habits that reduce the stress and strain on the mind and body and basically helps you feel happy and at peace with yourself.
Other areas that could be explored include alternative therapies like reflexology, homeopathy, mindfulness and energy healing. 
Teen-specific lecture days for tweens and teens to learn about taking care of their skin and nails is also a lovely way to explore this market. This gives your younger guests an opportunity to ask questions and learn how to properly care for themselves during a time in their lives when there are a lot of changes happening.

Self-care can help prevent burnout, safeguard their mental health and well-being, reduce self-doubt and frustrations, build resilience and increase their happiness. Have a think about how this approach could work in your business model. 

Anita Murray has 20 years' experience as a beauty and wellness expert. As founder of Be Kingdom Kind, she has developed the Huggabubble range of products specifically for children's skin.