The safety of all skin care products is important, especially those intended for infants and young children. Besides national guidelines and regulations, cosmetic products in the European Union are regulated by the EU Cosmetic Products Regulation. Such regulations pay particular attention to protecting the health of vulnerable population groups and recommend specific assessments for cosmetic products intended for use on children. This is important, since specific differences in the structure, function, and composition between infant and adult skin exist. Importantly, at steady state infant stratum corneum appears to be better hydrated but loses water at higher rates compared to adult. This deviation of the pathophysiologic relationship between skin hydration and skin barrier is indicative of an apparent plurality in the phenotype of healthy skin. We argue that healthy skin can be in a spectrum of skin hydration and barrier function states that depend on and most likely are the result of the state of epidermal cell turnover. Recent advancements in the field have demonstrated that the processes involved in the maturation of the skin barrier extend beyond infancy into early childhood. Additionally, the parallel development of the skin microbiome during these periods of life is of particular interest. Ongoing research is actively looking to establish a deeper understanding of the functional relationship between the microbiome and skin health during childhood. In conclusion, the differences in skin structure and function between children and adults highlight the need for specific considerations when formulating products for these ages. Ongoing advancements in our understanding of skin barrier development and the role of the microbiome contribute to the continuous improvement of skincare practices to maintain and promote skin health.
Audience Take Away Notes:
- Understand differences between infant and adult skin
- How skin maturation processes extend to early childhood
- How these processes translate to specific considerations when designing and testing skin care products for safety and efficacy in these populations