These substances do not belong to the skin of children

Online doctors' diary, 05.06.2019

Dermatologist advises

Children are not "little adults". This also applies to its larger organ: the skin. Therefore, dermatological products must be chosen with particular care. Some substances are completely taboo, advises a dermatologist.


Sensitive skin for children: thinner than adults, the active ingredients can penetrate more easily. This should be taken into account when using ointments and creams.

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BERLIN. Children should not receive locally applied antibiotics with neomycin, gentamicin or sulfadiazine silver. Dermatologist Professor Peter Höger, chief physician at the Katholische Kinderkrankenhaus Wilhelmstift in Hamburg, gives his opinion in a statement from the association of pharmacists ABDA during the "Day of Pharmacy" on Friday 7 June.

Children's skin is known to be thinner and its surface is much larger in terms of body weight. The skin barrier of the child is still immature and the number of sebaceous glands per region is higher. This allows different substances to be absorbed more easily through the skin and into the blood, Höger recalls. The dermatologist is also a member of the Commission of the new formulation form (NRF), the pharmaceutical collection of certified formulations.

Höger also points to a critical approach to local anesthetics that contain benzocaine, lidocaine or prilocaine. These could lead to methemoglobinemia in children.
Alcoholic solutions, on the other hand, can damage the brain or liver by being absorbed into the blood when applied to a large area of ​​the infant's skin.

In addition, the large-scale use of insect repellent preparations containing the active ingredient DEET (diethyltoluamide) due to possible nerve damage should be avoided.

Watch out for sunscreens and insect repellents

For sun protection, Höger recommends children to physically handle micropigments such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. On the other hand, it is best to avoid preparations containing UV filter substances such as octocrylene or ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate (EHMC), as they can be absorbed through the skin of children and by the blood. Some of these substances may have estrogenic effects.

Höger warns in the statement from ABDA: "On average, infants receive eight skin care products containing an average of 48 different ingredients.The less would be better." The term "hypoallergenic" is also not legally protected and mainly concerns marketing. For example, skincare products containing wool wax alcohols can cause contact allergies. The same applies to perfumes.

The "Pharmacy Day" of 7 June is held this year under the slogan "Appropriate medicines for children". (Run)

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