Daily Trust

Why you should avoid makeup for children

Facial makeup or facial beauty treatment is the application of cosmetics to emphasise and enhance good facial features. 


The history of makeup among women can be traced many thousands of years ago when women took extreme measures to attain youthful-looking skin.

The ancient Egyptians used copper and lead ore to make the world’s first cosmetics that did everything that the scientifically advanced products of today are acclaimed to do – hide pores, smoothen the complexion, and even alter the pale green of the eyes.


Women went the extreme mile by using burnt matches to darken their eyes, berries to stain their lips and other measures to attain beauty.

Facial makeup involves the application of different ingredients such as, powder, concealers, foundation, lip colour, cheek colour, eye pencil, eye liner, lip gloss and others which can either directly add or alter colour or applied to make the colour even and smooth.

Though initially done by younger and mature women, makeup has now become a trend among children even as little as six years old, with parents, especially mothers, not minding the side-effects of the chemical compositions in some of the ingredients in the products.

An analyst for the Environmental Working Group, Sonya Lunder, said there is often apprehension over troubling cosmetics’ ingredients that may include harmful chemicals, adding that finding healthy solutions may not be as simple as just looking at the ingredient label for items marketed as ‘organic cosmetics’ or natural skin products.

“The words ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ are thrown around with often no standardisation or rigor behind it. It does not mean it contains fewer harmful or more natural ingredients,” she said.

Children are said to have a 10 to 20 percent higher bodily absorption rate compared with adults due to their high metabolism. Unfortunately, their bodies cannot differentiate between good and bad chemicals.

 Though some children enjoy trying many things including makeup in a bid to learn, but parents and care givers must exercise caution if a child has high curiosity and interest in wearing makeup.

 There are many studies that warn us about the vicious toxins in cosmetics and their potential health effects on a child’s skin. The reality is that side-effects of cosmetics, particularly of a low quality, may affect not only your child’s skin, but also eventually lead to cancer and hormonal imbalance among others.

 A beautician, Mrs Aisha Musa Omale, said applying makeup generally on a child’s skin is not advisable as most of this makeup items contain chemicals that even adults react to; how much more a child.

 She said, most ladies find it really hard identifying original makeup products and as a result end up purchasing fake cosmetics loaded with deadly chemicals. This is a major cause for concern as these lead to most skin irritation or allergies due to some added chemical ingredients such as preservatives and fragrance that activate allergic reactions like skin rash, reddening and itching.

 Mrs Omale said the use of makeup will make the skin all the more dry, adding that powder or foundation used for children may cause their skin to dry and look flaky and dull. “This can also cause the skin to itch,” she cautioned. 

 She further explained that swelling is commonly associated with eye makeup in children when eyeliner, eye shadow or mascara, especially of low quality which will irritate their sensitive skin, is forced to their tender face. 

 “The harsh chemicals in the makeup will result in swelling of the eyelids and may eventually lead to inflammation. Makeup cosmetics of low quality may contain many harsh chemicals that may cause cancer after use for a long time. Most of the chemicals are absorbed by the skin and they will cause serious health effects on children,” the beautician said. 

 Mrs Omale, therefore advised parents to refrain from applying make-up on their children at all costs because the damaging impact of harmful chemicals will be greater on them.

 “Children are adorable even without makeup but if parents must, prefer organic beauty products for your child if you cannot prevent them from using it.

 “Always chose high quality products, designed especially for kids,” she advised.

Although many parents chose the organic or natural products for their children when applying makeup, a dermatologist and clinical professor at Tulane University, USA, Patricia Farris, MD, said she has seen many patients who have reactions to natural skin care products and cosmetics they bought at recognised stores and which still posed danger to their skin.

“I don’t think anyone is necessarily safer with a natural product because in theory, it is wonderful, but in reality it does not work out. We put preservatives in these products for a reason,” she said.