Perfume in products for children. Really?

A new survey published during the European Society of Contact Dermatitis allergy congress in Barcelona in June last year reveals what kind of cosmetic products children at the age groups 0-4 years, 4-8 years, 8-12 years and 12+ are exposed to. We can tell you that there are a few big and uncomforting surprises among the result.

The survey has been conducted by two doctors from Ninewells Hospital and Medical School in Scotland. They asked parents to children who were at the hospital to have a patch test to fill out a questionnaire. The questionnaires were handed out from September ’13 to January ’14. The doctors received 68 answers.

The results from the survey start out as expected. No matter what age group children belongs to they use sunscreen, lotion, wet wipes and shampoo. So far, so good. The surprises are found when it comes to perfume and deodorants. Here the answers show that ten percent of the children in age group 0 to 4 years are exposed to these products. There is absolutely no reasonable explanation to why children that young are exposed to neither perfume nor deodorant. None.

In this survey the use of deodorant increases to 22 percent for children aged 4-8, for chidlren aged 8-12 it is every second child that uses deodorants and when the children passes 12 years every 8 out of 10 chidlren will use it. If you look at the amount of perfume used, luckily the figures are lower. Actually it decreases for the age group 4-8 where ‘only’ 7 percent of the children sues perfume. When we look at the age group 8-12 years it is 40 percent that use perfume and for children more than 12 years old the figure is 65 percent.

The survey also showed that when the children are up to 12 years boys and girls use approximately the same amount of cosmetic products. But when they turn 13 the girls start using far more products than the boys, actually up to three times as many.

The doctors will start looking in to two different aspects now. First of all they will examine whether the rising and sad trend that children get skin allergy can be found in the products that the children are exposed to. Second of all they will also look in to whether children use cosmetic products differently depending on their social background.

We will follow the new studies with great interest and write a blog about the subject when there is news. In the meantime please stop using perfume on your children.