Children’s Makeup and Body Products

kids’ makeup are known to imitate the adults they admire—whether it’s playing teacher with their stuffed animals, digging in the garden with their toy trowels or slathering on a full face of makeup. But the latter activity can be a dangerous one. According to a recent study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, kids can be more susceptible to toxicants because they’re often using products meant for grownups. And because kids are more likely to put their hands in their mouths (whether intentionally or not), they can ingest these chemicals and increase exposure to potential allergens.

In fact, a three-year-old girl recently experienced an allergic reaction to a toy makeup palette and was hospitalized for it. The incident is just the latest in a string of alarming reports that highlight the need for stricter regulations on cosmetic and body product ingredients—particularly those marketed to children.

Playful Prettiness: A Guide to Safe and Creative Children’s Makeup

In response to this call for increased oversight, a group of researchers led by Emily K. Herbstman, a professor at Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health, set out to explore the use of children’s beauty products and their impact on young children’s well-being. The research incorporated multiple qualitative and quantitative approaches to gather rich data about the way children are exposed to makeup and body products—and how their parents/guardians respond to them. The research also sought to understand whether children’s behaviors and coping mechanisms can help prevent or mitigate harm resulting from these products.

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