A Six-Year-Old’s Skincare Routine Should End At ‘Bath’ And ‘Sunscreen’

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sunscreenWhen to let a child do grown-up, beauty-related things like wear makeup or shave is a fraught proposition. 10? 13? Never? There are so many rites of passage between childhood and adulthood, but at an age when many of us were still lying about having brushed our teeth, one mother says her daughter wants to start a skincare regimen. At first I thought that sounded crazy and over-the-top–skincare for a six-year-old is normally called a “bath,” no?–but the more I think of it, the more I wish I had known and cared more about skin health when I was a small child.

Over on Reddit’s Skincare Addiction forum, one mother says her six-year-old has been hounding her for skincare products to establish a “daily routine.”

“My 6 year old daughter loves watching makeup and skin care tutorials on you tube. She’s been asking for a while for me to buy her some products for a daily routine, but I’m nervous about the whole thing. I don’t want her to do anything that could muck up her skin, but on the other hand, I love that she’s into it, and good skin habits now will probably really help when she hits puberty.

Anyone have any ideas for the sort of things she could do/products she could use?”

I’m impressed because when I was six, I was still wetting my toothbrush and lying about having brushed my teeth.

The general consensus seems to be that the precocious future skincare addict just start using sunscreen, and that’s good advice. A six-year-old without skin problems doesn’t need anti-aging products or exfoliants or acne treatments, but if I had a time machine, going back in time and convincing my six-year-old self to start using sunscreen would definitely be on my agenda. It’s easy to damage one’s skin, and permanent damage can start early. I started wearing sunscreen when I became a 12-year-old goth, but I still carry a lot of sun damage from an early childhood spent refusing any sunscreen over an SPF 4. (I would also stop by eight years later to tell my 14-year-old self to stop smoking and picking her damn face.)

A six-year-old shouldn’t be worrying about beauty and being physically appealing to others, but learning to take good care of one’s skin from an early age is something she’ll probably appreciate a lot when she’s in her 30s and not fantasizing about using a time machine to correct her skincare routine instead of killing Hitler or something.

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