Spa treatments for kids are gaining in popularity in Singapore. Spas here have seen an increase in the number of parents who go to the spa with their kids in tow, to enjoy pampering treatments together.
While it sounds like a fun day out, here are some safety tips you should know about spa treatments for kids. Make sure you put your child’s health as a priority, as their skin tends to be more sensitive than adult skin.
Inspect the salon or spa beforehand
Dr Low says that air quality inside a salon is important, since children are especially vulnerable to chemical fumes.
Look for a well-ventilated spot, like near an open window, or get your child to step out every now and again to get some fresh air.
You should also ensure that the salon or spa space is clean and tidy – if you wouldn’t book yourself a treatment there, then the same should apply to your kid.
Request a patch test before a treatment
Before making an appointment for spa treatments for your kid, remember that kids have sensitive skin and may develop allergic reactions to certain ingredients in skincare products, says Dr Low Chai Ling, founder of SW1 Clinic.
A patch test can help determine whether such products – say, massage lotions or cleansing gels – will irritate her skin. If redness, itching or flaking occurs, it means that the product is not suitable for your child.
Even if the label says “hypoallergenic” or “dermatologist tested”, it’s safer to request one.
(Also read: This is what you didn’t know about baby spas)
“Natural” or “organic” is not always better
Unfortunately, natural or organic ingredients are not necessarily safer for kids, says Dr Low.
Take AHAs, or alphahydroxy acids, for instance. This popular spa ingredient, which promotes exfoliation, is derived from plants like sugarcane, but it can cause bad skin reactions in children.
Avoid harsh treatments
Stick to spa treatments for kids that will not irritate or damage your child’s skin, Dr Low advises. Think enzyme or acid peels, and scrubs that use granular exfoliators like coarse salt, sugar, pumice, and crushed kernels, which usually have rough, jagged edges.
If your little one is getting a manicure or pedicure, make sure that the nail technician does not cut or push back her cuticles. The cuticles protect the nail root and should be left alone.
Scraping skin off the soles of your child’s feet with a blade is also a no-no, as this procedure may accidentally cut her skin and increase the risk of an infection.
If she wants a facial or massage, find out what the treatment entails. Skip painful or dangerous steps like extractions and steaming, and therapeutic massages, which can hurt your kid’s skin and muscles.
Ask that the therapist use gentle massage strokes, Dr Low adds.
Use non-toxic nail polish
Dr Low says that while some nail polish manufacturers claim to make products that are free of toluene, dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and formaldehyde – toxins linked to asthma, cancer and birth defects – random testing carried out in the US still found such products to contain these chemicals.
If you are not sure that you can trust the salon’s non-toxic nail polish, you may wish to bring your own – she recommends a brand like Hopscotch Kids.