Recent research by the British Association of Beauty Therapists and Cosmetology found that two in three British mothers book salon treatments for their under eights. With one in five girls aged between 10 and 15 unhappy with their looks, this has sparked some debate among parents and experts alike.
In recent times celebrity parents have been criticised for posting pictures on Instagram of their little girls having manicures, facials and even massages! Others mums have been lambasted for allowing their little girls wear make-up or use hair straighteners - accused of allowing them grow-up too soon.
But what can be the harm of a little pampering? Surely it's just a bit of fun?
Critics see beauty treatments for children as another nail in the coffin of childhood, with children taking on adult pastimes, instead of playing games with their friends. Psychologists suggest that is can be dangerous to encourage girls to focus on their appearance at such a tender age, leading to self confidence issues in later life.
From a skin care perspective I would argue that it is unnecessary to give children facials. Facials are commonly used for anti-ageing purposes or to remove dead skin, clearly children do not need to combat these issues, their young skin still contains hyaluronic acid, which provides plumpness that is only lost in adulthood. Our skin is at its very best when we're young, before the perils of puberty kicks in!
There are also risks associated with skin facials on infants and it is important to clearly put this into context. A child's skin has a higher chance of reacting to the chemicals, used in such processes, because it is more sensitive. This may lead to skin allergies, allergic reactions, soreness and long-term dermatological pH balance issues.
However, many parents argue that spa treatments provides an opportunity for mother and daughter time - it's not about looks but instead about parental bonding and some would say that girls simply enjoy the time "being like their mummy."
A quick Google search will reveal the myriad of spa/beauty experiences for children, specifically girls - from party packages to ideas for treatments at home. Personally I worry about this, surely there are other ways to bond with our children without the need for beauty treatments? Parties and hobbies should be more fun, more active and well, more childish?
Are the short-term benefits of a bonding experience or giving in to what your daughter would like to do outweigh the potential long term damage to their skin and self confidence?
My recommendation would be to avoid procedures such as facials that are not necessary, expensive and could potentially harm your child. When it comes to other forms of pampering, manis, pedis etc... this is down to the parent, they must decide what is best for their child - we're all individuals after all... However, I would suggest that they look for alternative ways to have fun with their daughters.
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