When designing and developing skincare products, you will want to be certain that the items you are dealing with are safe for consumers to use. This confidence becomes even more important when the ultimate consumer, or end user, is an infant or baby.
Children’s skin is, by nature, softer and more delicate than adult skin, and as such is more likely to be affected by harsh chemicals and irritants. That’s why it’s vital that products aimed at the children’s market have gentle, sensitive formulations with limited fragrances.
The rise of sensitive skin conditions
One of the most common skin issues, particularly in infants, is eczema. This is a group of conditions that cause skin to become dry and irritated. When this happens as a result of contact with a particular substance or allergen, it is termed contact dermatitis and can lead to itchiness, blistering and cracking of the skin. This usually occurs within hours or days of exposure to the problem substance.
In babies and young children the most common causes of dermatitis, or eczema, are products such as lotions, creams, baby wipes and nappy rash. Those that we apply directly to the skin. And while it is not thought that these types of products could cause eczema in the first place, it is possible that they can trigger a flare-up, or worsening, of the condition in those infants that are susceptible to it.
The National Eczema Society reports that eczema now affects around 20% of children (one in five) in the UK, usually starting within their first six months of life, with incidence rates increasing threefold in industrialised countries during the past three decades. In fact, according to a 2016 study by the British Skin Foundation there are around eight million people living with a skin condition such as eczema or dermatitis.
So how can we, the cosmetics industry, and partners, make sure we’re doing everything possible to ensure we’re not contributing to a worsening of this issue?
Looking after the skin of our little ones
During at least the first 4 weeks of life, the NHS recommends that parents bathe babies only in plain water – with no need for other oils or lotions. After this time there are a wealth of products marketed at caring for the delicate skin of infants and babies.
Experts suggest that when the weather is cold and baby’s skin is prone to drying out due to indoor heating, bathing time should be limited and fragrance-free cleansers used sparingly. Lotions and creams that are designed for babies’ sensitive skin should be used while skin is still damp to help lock in moisture. A hypoallergenic moisturiser may be used to tackle any small dry patches or initial signs of eczema on the face, hands or creases in the skin.
As a child gets a little older they may enjoy novelty bubble baths, or lightly fragranced shampoos. Children and tweens may even begin to experiment with younger targeting makeup brands.
Understanding the growing baby care industry
For a new parent, choosing safe and effective products for a baby or young child can feel daunting. There is a considerable amount of information and opinion online, and often a good deal of scaremongering. Mixed messages can make mums and dads wary of ‘unknown’ products and claims from new and ‘unproven’ brands. They want information they can trust in order to be able to make the right decisions.
That is why it is vital that all skincare products aimed at the baby and children’s market go through rigorous trials and user testing. Both of which allow brands to make scientifically backed statements about the efficacy of their products. Not to mention data-supported promises in their advertising and marketing.
The baby care market was estimated to be worth 67 billion US dollars in 2021, with strong growth forecast. Several consumer intelligence agencies report that rising temperatures, drier climates and greater concerns over infant health are driving an increase in the use of lotions, moisturisers and oils to tackle conditions like eczema, cradle cap and heat rash. While parents are eschewing traditional nappies and baby wipes that can occasionally cause chemical rashes and irritation, often opting for organic options where possible.
So there are plenty of opportunities.
Convincing new parents your cosmetic product is safe
There are many rules and regulations about the types of ingredients that can and cannot be used in products aimed at children. Brands must ensure that any products they develop are free from toxins, endocrine-disruptors and potentially problematic fragrances, for example.
In our leading edge, UK-based DermaCentre we carry out pediatrician approved assessments on a variety of different cosmetic and skincare products designed for children. These tests are carried out using a diagnostic patch test that is graded according to the European Society of Contact Dermatitis guidelines for diagnostic patch testing. We then complete a toxicological assessment in the form of a CPSR – a Cosmetic Product Safety Report. This, along with the patch test, is sent to a pediatrician who will review it to determine whether the product is suitable for pediatric skin.
We also facilitate ‘no tears’ tests, designed to ensure that products entering the baby market are kind and gentle enough even if they end up in the eyes of little ones. These are ophthalmologist-overseen in vivo tests that are carried out in highly regulated conditions, allowing brands to add the all-important ophthalmologist-approved label to their marketing and packaging.
The ADSL promise
Our experts keep on top of all the latest research and best practice in the industry. And our user testing and assessment processes are specifically designed to help prove any claims you make about your product. Our reports and advice will also help to ensure you are able to meet all the regulations of the territories in which you plan to market and sell.
Pediatric assessments can be undertaken on all products that are designed for babies and children. Including, but not limited to, baby shampoo, infant body wash, massage gel, conditioner, bottom balm, night oil, body lotion, baby wipes, bath fizzers, bubble bath.
It’s so important that all these creams, lotions and potions are put through their paces. After all, when we are dealing with something as important as the health of our children, it is vital we check and double check the ingredients we are using and their effects on young, delicate skin.
We understand that parents, whether their children have particularly sensitive skin or not, want to make informed choices about the products they use. And as an industry it’s important we keep up to date on regulation, best practice and scientific advice so we can be as transparent as possible with our end customers.
Ready to get started
We are always happy to discuss your own product and advise on the recommended tests, trials and reports.
If you would like to know more about our pediatrician assessments and children’s cosmetic product safety reporting processes, get in touch with Shannon Bowes Cavanagh, Dermatology Assistant working directly in our DermaCentre.
Or if you are ready to get started? Use the bar at the top of the ADSL website to book a free product consultation with our expert team.