When Kids Should Start a Skin Care Routine

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By Dr. Brooke Jeffy

Kids should start taking care of their skin early, just like we have toddlers start brushing their teeth and going to the dentist to get them used to those habits from a young age. Like taking care of our teeth, the skin requires daily upkeep to stay healthy, look its best and function optimally. A skincare regimen in childhood does not need to be complicated but it does need to be consistent to establish healthy skin habits for life.

Between ages 2 and 5 is the time to introduce the idea of cleansing and moisturizing the skin as well as sun protection.

Just use a wet washcloth to clean unless the area is visibly dirty, a skin fold or the diaper area. Keep it fun. Make it silly. Play peek-a-boo with the washcloth. Sneak in some tickles when putting on moisturizer. My son enjoyed it when I warmed up the moisturizer on a heating pad before applying and we made applying into a game.

Do reach for fragrance free cleansers and moisturizers and I recommend mineral sunscreens for this age if the area cannot be covered by sun protective clothing.

At age 6 to 10 introduce daily cleansing of the face at bedtime using a gentle cleanser under supervision.

Follow with moisturizer. If you notice oiliness or small breakouts starting to happen, increase cleaning and moisturizing to twice a day and be sure to be cleansing for 60 seconds.

Continue to use fragrance free products and be sure oil free if starting to see breakouts. Discuss the importance of keeping the skin healthy and working its best by using daily sunscreen to the face and exposed skin. I continue to prefer mineral sunscreens but let your child have some say if they prefer another product. Give them the freedom to do the routine themselves but be there to demonstrate the importance and encourage good habits.

At age 10, encourage cleansing and moisturizing twice per day followed by moisturizer at bedtime and SPF in the morning but give them freedom to do it on their own.

Just check in with them occasionally to be sure using the right products and cleansing for 60 seconds. Continue to encourage fragrance free products but let them experiment with different brands and types of products because this age likes to have more of a say in product choice. Use oil-free products that say “non-comedogenic” at this age. Let them use whatever SPF they will accept.

Dr. Jeffy’s Recommended Products for Kids:

My favorite brand for cleanser and moisturizer up to age 5 is Vanicream. For SPF products, I like Vanicream and Blue Lizard for this age.

For 6+ I like Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser, Differin Moisturizer and Vanicream Facial Lotion.

For SPF, I like Elta MD Clear if acne prone. Otherwise consider trying LaRoche Posay Anthelios Mineral, Cerave AM or Vanicream Facial Moisturizer with SPF


Dr. Brooke Jeffy is a board-certified dermatologist that has been practicing in North Scottsdale for nine years. She practices dermatology differently by combining medical dermatology, lifestyle approaches and skincare to create skin health for her patients. Her favorite condition to treat is acne and she loves teaching tweens and teens how to care for their skin. In addition to running her own private practice, Dr. Jeffy is the founder of btwn skincare, a product line and educational resource for tweens and teens to help them get started with healthy skin and wellness habits. To learn more or schedule an appointment, go to www.brookejeffymd.com. For tween/teen skincare tips IG @brookejeffymd