Applying Makeup On Children Exposes Them to Cancer – Paediatrician Warns

Health practitioners have warned against applying makeup on children, noting that it contains toxic materials and may result in neurodevelopmental abnormalities, among other health issues in children.

Speaking exclusively on this with newsmen, a Professor of Paediatrics, Nma Jiya, affirmed that makeup contains toxic materials capable of causing skin cancer, and neurodevelopment abnormalities and can inadvertently cause damage to children’s kidneys in future.

The don, who has over 36 years of treating children, further noted that although there is makeup formulated for children, those who play or use makeup formulated for adults stand the risk of having skin allergies, infection and asthma in the short run.

Collins dictionary defines makeup as lipstick, eye shadow and powder applied on the face to improve or change appearance.

A study on the Usage of Children’s Makeup and Body Products in the United States by Eleanor Medley et al, published in the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, reports increasing evidence of toxic ingredients found in cosmetics and personal care products.

The study also revealed that most children, especially those under 12, use makeup with play intentions.

The researchers, while alluding to previous research, noted that makeup often has “toxic chemicals, like lead, asbestos, PFAS, phthalates, and formaldehyde. Toxic chemicals in children’s makeup and body products, like heavy metals, are especially harmful to infants and children.”

The study further stated that aside from the skin allergies the children may be exposed to, they are also at risk of inadvertently ingesting some of the products.

Speaking further on the issue, Jiya, who is also a consultant paediatrician at Usmanu Danfodio University Teaching Hospital, Niger State, warned that children under the age of 12 should not wear makeup and advised mothers to keep them out of children’s reach.

“The skin of infants and children is fragile compared to that of adults because the absorption of some of these products is higher. Using their mother’s lipstick eye pencils and eye beautification products can cause diseases like conjunctivitis and bacterial infection in the eyes. Some of the children use their mother’s makeup and can develop skin allergies, dermatitis, bacterial skin infection, itching and distortion of the face. Makeup is not usually what we recommend for very young children. They contain chemicals like mercury and sodium, and when absorbed into the skin can cause serious brain damage which can cause learning abilities.”

Jiya, who is the Faculty Treasurer of the West African College of Physicians, added that cancer of the white blood cells, leukaemia, and chronic kidney disease are other risks prolonged use can expose them to.

The don also warned against the prolonged and constant use of makeup in older children, stating that the constant exposure and absorption of makeup products by the skin could lead to chronic diseases in the future.

He urged parents to keep their cosmetic products away from children’s reach to prevent them from playing and applying them on their faces.