A common dilemma faced by most mothers is whether a child needs a daily beauty ritual or not. And, if yes, how to go about it, what products to choose and so on. A baby's skin is very sensitive. So, their needs are different too. You cannot use adult beauty products on a baby's skin. This is also true for young children. But these tiny tots also have their needs. Their skin may flake, they may get dandruff, some may face hair fall and rashes are also common. Don't worry, here we tell you how to take care of all the beauty needs of your child.
Importance of massage
Babies and young children have tender skin. Needless to say, it should be treated gently, using mild soaps and shampoos. Massaging the skin with oil, before bathing, goes a long way in keeping the skin soft and clean. Actually, baby massage is probably the most important part of baby care. Apart from benefits to the body, massage plays an important role in healthy emotional development. In Ayurveda, massage is considered to be a form of therapy and a way of maintaining the good health of both body and mind. Modern studies also show that massage helps to strengthen emotional bonds and gives the baby a sense of security and mental well-being. The power of touch is a nurturing power and our need for it is great. Touch is said to actually promote emotional well being. Massage has many physical benefits too. In the initial months, the baby hardly has any physical activity. Massage helps blood circulation, muscle tone and growth.
Choose the right oil for massage
The Ayurvedic system advocates the selection of oil according to the season. Olive, coconut and sunflower oils are good during summer, while almond oil and mustard oil are recommended for winter. Sesame seed (til) oil is very popular in Ayurvedic massage in any season. It is said to suit all "doshas." You can choose any of these oils, but make sure that it is pure. Oils with heavy perfumes should not be used on children.
Hygiene and cleanliness extend to the hair too. Regular shampoos are a must. Babies also develop a scaly condition on the scalp. The scales should not be pulled out. They should be softened by applying baby oil with cotton wool. Leave it on for a day and then wash the hair and scalp, using a baby shampoo, which does not sting the eyes. Care should be taken while washing the baby's scalp, by pouring water from front to back, so that the water does not fall over the face.
Don't neglect dandruff
Children, who are nearing teenage, can be prone to dandruff. In fact, neglect of dandruff can lead to rashes and spots on the skin. If the condition is severe and there is itching, consult a dermatologist. The scalp should be kept clean and healthy. In case of dandruff, wash the hair three times a week, using a mild herbal shampoo. Add two tablespoons apple cider vinegar to a mug of water and use it as a last rinse, after shampoo.
Get rid of head lice
The problem of head lice is very common among children. Vinegar is a simple remedy for head lice. Apply vinegar on the scalp and hair. After half an hour, comb with a fine lice comb. Remove the nits (eggs) by hand. Vinegar loosens the lice and nits and they are easier to remove. Then wash the hair with very little shampoo. After shampoo, add two tablespoons vinegar to a mug of water and use as a last rinse. Comb again with the fine lice comb. Do this daily for one week.
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Another home remedy for lice is to heat water and add neem leaves to it. Do not boil, but allow it to simmer for a few minutes on a low fire. Then let the neem leaves stand in the water overnight. Next day, strain the water. The water would have cooled by then. This water can be used as a last rinse. You will have to comb with a fine lice comb and remove nits manually.
Beauty cannot be achieved in a day. It is the result of regular care and a healthy lifestyle. The importance of good health should never be undermined. That is the true foundation of beauty.
(This article is authored by Shahnaz Husain, a Padma Shri Award recipient and pioneer of the Ayurvedic beauty movement and the head of a global network of franchise ventures and 375 formulations.)