Experts warn children's makeup poses risk

Ingy Deif, Sunday 9 Mar 2014

Many Egyptian parents are happy to let their children wear makeup and face paints on special occasions, but experts warn the ingredients could be damaging

Egyptian children
Photo: Ahram Online

Makeup kits for children made headlines in recent days following a revelation by French researchers that proved most of these supposedly safe cosmetics contain harmful ingredients that can damage children’s skin.

Some Egyptian parents say that using makeup products on special occasions has become common.

“Unfortunately using these colours and cosmetics on the face of our children is often inevitable, “says Yasmine El-Hossainy, mother of two girls. “Whenever there is a themed occasion at school, or at birthday parties, I can’t simply tell my girls to miss all the fun and not use these colours like their friends. It has simply been a staple in any gathering where little girls are present, including at family and friends’ meals.”

After studying the main 18 cosmetic face colour kits that are present on the market and which had previously been declared 100 percent safe for children skin, it was discovered by the researchers from French non-profit consumer watchdog UFC- Que Choisir that almost half of them contained parabens. The chemicals, which are supposed to act as preservatives, effect hormone regulation when absorbed into the blood and are very dangerous even in low doses.

Five of the products contained perfumes which may cause allergies, but most disturbing of all was the discovery that 25 percent of these products contain heavy doses of nickel and lead. These dangerous elements when absorbed through the skin may attack the nervous system and cause psychological disorders, apart from the probability of occurrence of major allergies.

“It is about time that parents listened to the advice we’ve been giving them over and over again for ages regarding using this stuff on kids skin,” Dr Mona Soliman, professor of dermatology and laser therapy at Cairo University told Ahram Online. Soliman stresses that in Egypt many of these products are not monitored or approved by a medical authority.

“We have to understand that kids’ skin is very sensitive and much thinner than the skin of an adult. We unfortunately receive many cases of children suffering contact dermatitis because of parents allowing them to use cosmetics and face colours,” she says. She added that many children are what specialists call ‘atopic’, meaning that they are more prone to allergies because of their genetic makeup. Atopic children many times suffer extreme reactions to the chemicals present in these colours, which are absorbed into the skin and can for some kids lead to breath constrictions.

Short link: