My daughter Callan loves to paint her lips and play with makeup. She has been involved in theater since she was four and her love of makeup shows no sign of stopping. Unfortunately, while most beauty products must meet certain safety standards, the same rules don’t always apply to children’s products. This lack of regulation leaves kids—who generally have thinner skin than adults—particularly vulnerable to potentially harmful ingredients.
Many kids makeup in the US use makeup and body paints that contain toxic chemicals, a study by Columbia University and Earthjustice has found. These chemicals can cause a variety of adverse health effects, including cancer, birth defects, skin irritation and respiratory problems.
The study used an online survey to explore parents/guardians’ perceptions of their children’s use of cosmetics and other child-directed personal care products. It integrated quantitative analysis of multiple-choice questions with a qualitative exploration and thematic analysis of open-text responses. The results show that the majority of surveyed children (ages 3–12 years) use CMBPs, with most using mostly products created for and marketed to them. However, older, female, and White children use CMBPs at higher rates than younger, male, Black, and Hispanic/Latinx children.
To help your kids stay safe, choose nontoxic makeup that is free of harsh and toxic ingredients such as petroleum-based ingredients and fragrances. Look for brands that offer an extensive range of colors as well as tools like brushes and sponges. Also, avoid products that contain talc. This powder-based ingredient is easily inhaled into the lungs and can cause a range of health issues, from asthma to cancer.