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What parents should know and do when their child starts showing an interest in following a beauty routine.

Puberty is all about raging hormones, when common changes such as the appearance of more body hair and acne occur. These can be very embarrassing and can also come with various stigmas, but there are ways to help minimise them. A simple beauty routine will help your child feel more confident.

Skincare beauty routine

Children should start with a skincare routine at around 11 to 13 years of age when puberty sets in, recommends Lindey Visser, general manager at the International Health and Skincare Academy in Cape Town. Visser advises that children use products that are age appropriate and do not contain alcohol. They should not use soap, which is a breeding ground for bacteria. Aline Venter, training manager for the Sorbet Group, adds that “boys should definitely also start a skincare routine”. She suggests that a pubescent use a cleanser, toner, moisturiser and sunscreen daily. “They can also exfoliate once a week and use a mask, and there is no harm in going for a facial once a month.”

For more advice, read our article on caring for your skin properly.

Removal of facial and body hair beauty routine

If your child shows an interest in removing unsightly hair to avoid being teased by peers, it’s probably the right time to do something about it. But Dr Dagmar Whitaker, a specialist dermatologist in Cape Town, says one should probably not start hair removal before puberty. “If hair is soft and light, it is best left alone. Let girls enjoy some freedom before they get roped in by peer pressure,” she says. Waxing and shaving can cause ingrown hairs, infections and unsightly scarring, says Whitaker.


The most popular hair removal method is shaving. “It is cheap, but has the highest risk of ingrown hair,” says Whitaker. It can also lead to a thickening of the hair shaft and the hair then becomes more visible than before. “Bad shaving habits can scar you for life. It can also cause a viral infection (plane warts), which can be most unattractive, so the proper technique and hygiene is of utmost importance,” says Whitaker.

Young girls should not be concerned about getting pubic hair. “Pubic hair develops at the onset of hormonal changes, indicating the beginning of puberty. But the chances of developing ingrown hair is a lot higher when shaving the pubic area,” says Whitaker. She adds that the area is also more prone to infections and even the development of sebaceous cysts. “If one chooses to shave pubic hair, then meticulous hygiene is imperative.”


Hair-removal creams are gentle, but stay away if you have eczema or sensitive skin.


Venter opts for waxing as the long-term benefits are great, but this must be done professionally. Visser adds that laser therapy is the safest option, but must be done with a registered laser therapist.

The bottom line is to gauge what motivates this interest in hair removal. Speak to a professional to find the right method for an age-appropriate result.

Other beauty treatments

  • Spray tans are not recommended. Spray tanning has been banned in New Jersey in the US for children under 14 years old, as DHA-exposure (DHA is present in the most effective sunless tanning products) has not been tested properly by the US Food and Drug Administration.
  • Pedicures and manicures are harmless, but if you do choose nail polish, use a water-based formula, as they are chemical-free.

Marina Zietsman