Creative Child

When (and How) to Start Caring for Your Children’s Skin

by Pamela Miller

There’s nothing quite like caressing the supple skin of your newborn baby. While that ultra-smooth skin won’t last forever, you can take steps to protect and care for it. Help set your children up for a lifetime of youthful skin and teach them how to maintain a healthy complexion through the years. Here’s how.

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Protect from the Sun

The most important thing you can do for skin is to protect it from the sun. While you shouldn’t use sunscreen on infants, protecting your child's skin from the sun should start from day one. Keep newborns out of the sun—when they’re outside, it’s best to use a sun protective blanket over their carrier and always make use of shade. Once your baby reaches 6 months of age, the Mayo Clinic recommends using a broad-spectrum sunscreen (test a small amount on their skin to be sure it doesn’t irritate them). Avoid the sun during its peak hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to help reduce UV exposure. 

It's important to use a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every day of the year when your child will be outside for longer than a brief period. Apply sunscreen liberally to all exposed areas. Choose an SPF that contains zinc or titanium dioxide and is formulated with sensitive skin in mind. Reapply sunscreen every two hours to keep the skin adequately protected. Keep in mind that even in colder months, the sun can still harm your child's skin. As your children get older, allow them to apply their sunscreen under your supervision to get them into the habit of using it.

Cleanse Gently

The skin is the body's largest organ, and it plays an important role in protecting the body. While we tend to think of the teenage years as the time when facial cleansing becomes essential, good care should start earlier. At around age 10, teach your children to cleanse with a gentle cleanser. Instruct them to use lukewarm water to avoid stripping the skin of its natural oils. Tepid water can also reduce the chances of irritation and dryness. Cleansing once in the evening is generally adequate for children, as it will wash away dirt and sweat that accumulates on the skin throughout the day. 

As your children enter the teen years, they may become prone to blemishes. Explain that scrubbing, picking at or popping pimples is not the way to healthy skin. Instead, have them continue to use gentle cleansers formulated for blemish-prone skin.

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Keep it Moisturized

Children may benefit from a gentle and fragrance-free moisturizer from the time they are infants, especially if they have dry skin. If your child has any specific needs, talk to your pediatrician about specialty products. A gentle moisturizer applied in the evening following cleansing can go a long way to keeping the skin smooth and healthy. As children get older, be sure to choose oil-free moisturizers that won’t clog pores and irritate acne.

Parents have a lot to think about when it comes to caring for their children, but skin care often goes forgotten. Keep that baby-soft skin for as long as you can and instill the importance of good skin care in your children.


Although it is intended to be accurate, neither Walgreen Co., its subsidiaries or affiliates, nor any other party assumes for loss or damage due to reliance on this material. Walgreens does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned in the article. Reliance on any information provided by this article is solely at your own risk.


Pamela Miller is a dual licensed cosmetologist and esthetician and writer for Walgreens. Pamela enjoys sharing tips for adults and children on how you can take care of and protect your skin. Help create a skincare regimen for your child by browsing skincare solutions, like moisturizer, at


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