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I have a body lotion for dry skin, but it contains a warning not to use it for children below 3 years and not to apply it in the face.

I wonder what reason would make it inappropriate for the face and whether it should be seen as strict warning or kind note.

Here is the ingredients list:

AQUA, CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE, CETEARYL ISONONANOATE, GLYCERIN, SUCROSE STEARATE, CETEARYL ALCOHOL, NIGELLA SATIVA SEED OIL, HELIANTHUS ANNUUS SEED OIL, SALICYLIC ACID, AMMONIUM ACRYLOYLDIMETHYLTAURATE/VP COPOLYMER, PANTHENOL, XANTHAN GUM, TOCOPHEROL, HELIOTROPINE, POTASSIUM SORBATE, PHENOXYETHANOL, BENZYL ALCOHOL, SODIUM HYDROXIDE

It might be worth mentioning that the lotion is a supermarket item, not from a pharmacy.

  • Maybe a tag like "cosmetics" would be appropriate here, if one existed. – anon Sep 26 '16 at 11:00
  • There should be a reason listed somewhere on instructions/container if it is a US based product. – JohnP Sep 26 '16 at 17:19
  • No, there is no reason for this note listed. And it's a German product. @JohnP – anon Sep 26 '16 at 17:32
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Interesting question. I remember my professor of pharmaceutical technology and pharmaceutics addressing this when we discussed the significance of dosage form design.

The skin on one’s face is far thinner and more sensitive than the skin on one’s body. The facial epidermis is about 0.12mm thick whereas on the body it averages around 0.6mm (nearly six-fold). The difference renders itself to be pharmacologically significant.

Epidermis Layers enter image description here

As we can see above, there are several layers to one’s epidermis. Thickness matters if/when your product works through your skin (chemically rather than physically like a non-medicated moisturiser or sunscreen). Even if your body cream and face cream are both designed to target the same layer of your epidermis, the absorption varies due to each’s thickness. Attempting to target one’s basal layer on the back will need more penetrative “work” than when attempting to target the same layer on one’s face. This is why creams for soles of the feet are different than face creams.

If it were simply a matter of sensitivity to the eyes, the label would just read “avoid application near the eyes”.

With regards to babies/children under 3 years of age, their skin is typically much more porous and absorbent so the difference becomes more pronounced.

Hope this helps.

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In my experience, such warnings are typically present if ingredients in the lotion would irritate the eyes or mouth—problems that can't happen if you avoid applying it to the face.

My reasoning goes as follows: The only significant difference between skin on one's face and elsewhere is the higher concentration of sebaceous glands that secrete oil, but since this lotion is clearly based on oils or fatty alcohols intended to replace or supplement the same oils anyway, I don't see that as significant. However, a mixture of oils with a thick consistency applied (accidentally) to the eye's tear film would likely cause strong irritation.

I'd interpret the instructions as "be really careful if applying this on your face; you really really don't want it in your eyes".

I don't know whether skin in under-3-year-olds is significantly different somehow, but the wording does make me think of the usual "don't let your kid eat it" caveat.

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