Bath time should be fun for children. But back in 2010, when Joanna Jensen’s daughters Mimi and Bella were four and two, it was more like a battleground. ‘My country children were permanently grubby, but they hated baths. They both had very sensitive skin and bath products – even bubble baths, which children love – triggered sore, red flare-ups. Bella had patches of atopic eczema in the creases of her elbows and knees, which reacted particularly badly.’ And forget hair washing: ‘They would come out of the bath with bird’s nests in their thick, wavy manes.’
Looking for alternatives, Joanna investigated the ingredients in mainstream products. She found that many manufacturers used the same ingredients found in adult products. ‘But children’s skin is different from adults “in structure, function and composition”,’ she says, quoting a big manufacturer. ‘The barrier is more vulnerable, which makes it more susceptible to infection right up to puberty.’ Joanna concluded the ingredients were ‘not fit for purpose’ for young skin and the benign formulations that she did manage to find were ‘fearfully expensive’.
By trade an investment banker, Joanna had a long-time interest in natural medicine, so she decided to create her own range of gentle, naturally based children’s skincare called Childs Farm, which launched in 2011. The first prototypes were bubble baths, followed by a comprehensive range of skin, hair and suncare. Today Childs Farm, with bright packaging featuring children, ponies and tractors, is a galloping success at an affordable price. For instance, the bestselling baby moisturiser is £3.99 for a generous 250ml.
Childs Farm products (available to buy from childsfarm.com and Boots, online and in store) are suitable for newborns upwards – even those with sensitive and eczema-prone skin. In a user trial of the baby range on 102 babies with medically diagnosed eczema, every parent reported zero irritation and would recommend it.
THE INGREDIENTS THAT MAY CAUSE PROBLEMS
SODIUM LAURYL SULPHATE and SODIUM LAURETH SULPHATE may cause irritation of skin, scalp, gums and eyes, even in small amounts.
PEGS (Polyethylene Glycol) are polymers used to moisturise, stabilise and enhance penetration; they are mild irritants often contaminated with impurities.
PARABENS are preservatives that may react with sunlight to cause DNA damage; they have been linked to hormonal disruption.
PHTHALATES are used as a softening agent in products and packaging; linked to atopic dermatitis.
MINERAL OILS (liquid paraffin and soft white paraffin) are often used in creams and moisturisers; they may cause itching and rashes.
For more details, visit childsfarm.com/science-bit/ingredients
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Photo credit: Unsplash/Carolina Sanchez