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March 14, 2013

No More Tears, No More Wrinkles?

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skin types

Photo Credit: Veronique Beranger

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A recent explosion in skincare products for kids and new moms, with brands like Mustela marketing to women who are already obsessed with their skin, has only buoyed the trend. In an informal poll among my beauty-minded friends from Denver to Tokyo, baby goods like body wash and lotion, sunscreen, detangler, wipes, eczema cream, and lip balm were mentioned rapturously. Busy non-moms are believers, too. Melissa Hodges, a 27-year-old sales representative in Knoxville, Tennessee, experimented unsuccessfully with adult brands on her chronically dry skin before switching exclusively to baby products. "Moisturizing is my priority, and these seem to keep my skin hydrated," she says.

Chemical-free formulas are another big selling point for health-conscious consumers. "It doesn't make sense to add toxins to our bodies after a certain age," says Lisa Blau, a New York City — based Internet entrepreneur, whose baby-brand arsenal includes Weleda Calendula Natural Baby Cream. "Everything in my bathroom used to contain [potentially hormone-disrupting chemicals] parabens, phthalates, and triclosan. But pure and simple is all I want on my skin." She now checks every product she buys against the Environmental Working Group Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, which ranks baby products and ingredients on a hazard scale of 0 to 10.

Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research for the department of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, recommends baby sunscreens to all his patients, lauding their physical blockers like zinc oxide, which provide superior protection and have less-irritating properties than traditional UV-blocking chemicals. To delay or sidestep entirely the myriad skin inflammations that encourage fine lines and wrinkles, he advocates adopting a dye- and perfume-free clothes detergent like Dreft, gentle baby wipes for removing makeup, and even Desitin diaper cream on friction points between clothes and skin to keep skin from chafing. Because these gentle formulas have just a few ingredients, many of them do double duty, like the Johnson & Johnson baby wash that a friend swears by for hand-washing her cashmere sweaters as well as her skin. My motivation is simpler. Adult products often feel clinical, like they've sprung out of a lab complete with special tools for applications and confusing instructions. I just want products that work — ones that won't coat me with chemicals. Kids' stuff does the trick. Now, I just need the time to rinse.


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