For some women, it starts when they realize the only shampoo in the shower is their infant's. For others, it's a guilty dip into an expensive baby gift of fragrant soaps and powders. Whatever the reason, manufacturers of children's health and beauty products report that a growing number of grown-ups are enjoying their wares.
Part of the reason for the attraction, undoubtedly, is that children's products have gotten so much more elegant and sophisticated. Johnson's Baby Shampoo and Baby Powder have been around for decades, but now there are kids' products made by Bobbi Brown, Mustela, Kiehl's, Burt's Bees, Origins, and Bulgari, just to name a few.
While baby products have lots to offer even to an adult, there are some things they can't do. Here, how to make the best use of these health and beauty products:
Adult Uses: Many baby shampoos are actually a combination shampoo and body wash -- very convenient for throwing into a gym bag or taking on a weekend trip. Women who wash their hair frequently like the gentleness, and many women also enjoy the sweet, fruity flavors.
What you should know: "Children's shampoo is probably best for people who have normal hair with normal body and normal wave," says dermatologist Mary P. Lupo, associate clinical professor at Tulane University in New Orleans. "If you have special needs -- hair that needs curl control or extra body, for example -- you're not going to get that in a baby product. An adult with dandruff won't get a good result from a kids' shampoo, either."
LOTIONS AND OILS
Adult Uses: Baby oil makes a great moisturizer, makeup remover, massage oil and even lip gloss. "Our Baby Bee Apricot Baby Oil is very popular with adults," says Burt's Bees spokesperson Lori MacGregor, who loves the fruity aroma. "It's a great apres shower oil."
What you should know: Baby products can be super all-around moisturizers, but they won't offer any special anti-aging or exfoliating ingredients. Women probably shouldn't use them as their daily facial moisturizer.
DIAPER-AREA BALMS AND TREATMENT CREAMS
Adult Uses: These heavy creams and ointments are great for soothing chapped lips, dry hands, and especially rough elbows and heels. Actress Frances McDormand says she uses Balmex diaper cream for soothing abrasions, too.
What you should know: Extremely chapped skin or skin with disorders like eczema or psoriasis needs adult-strength -- and probably medicated --treatments.
Adult Uses: Instant cleansing and makeup removal, with no skin burning or irritation.
What you should know: Avoid using around the delicate eye area.
Adult Uses: Kids' sunblocks are especially popular with adults. They tend to have high SPF protection, yet still be gentle on skin. Some adults even like the bright colored sunblocks that fade after they're applied. They make it less likely that you'll miss an area.
What you should know: Make sure the sunblock you use protects against UVA and UVB radiation. The SPF rating refers only to UVB protection. "The older you are, the more important UVA protection is. That's what protects you from wrinkles," says Dr. Lupo. "Baby products labeled SPF 15 or 25 may still not have UVA protection. Look at the ingredients. There are only three that provide UVA protection: Parsol 1789, titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide." Kiehl's "Sunshield" Sunblock with SPF 15 is made for babies and children, and contains both titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
Beth Weinhouse specializes in women's and children's health issues and lives in Oxford, Mississippi with her husband and 6-year-old son.
The content on these pages is provided as general information only and should not be substituted for the advice of your physician.
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