My friends are always asking me how to get their kids to practice good skincare habits while they’re young. Children who are taught super skincare habits from the beginning benefit in the long run, so there are a few simple things to teach kids to help them protect their skin’s health. Let’s start with cleanliness.

1. Use a gentle cleanser. Make sure it is free from pthalates and parabens. The chemicals are not good for the body. Dyes and fragrances are unnecessary and can irritate skin. Hypo-allergenic is a good word to see on your child’s cleanser.

Tweens and teens need to wash their face in the morning and again before bed. Remind them to always wash makeup off before bed. Use the gentlest cleanser possible for their skin type. Once a week exfoliation helps during the teen years.

2. Shorten bath time. This will benefit all skin types, especially dry skin. Limit bath time to no more than 5 minutes. Douse in lotion and pat dry. Believe it or not, too much time spent in water can dry skin out.

3. Eat healthily. Fruits and vegetables are our friends. Children need even more nutrients than adults because they are in a constant state of change. Cut out as much junk food as possible. Kids are more likely to eat healthy if fruits and veggies are easy to grab and munch. Skin often reflects how well we take care of our bodies, so the better we eat, the healthier our skin looks.

4. Always wear sunscreen. The best protection starts early. For ease of choice, pick a daily moisturizer with at least 15 SPF. On days when you know you won’t be out much, an SPF of 15 is okay. If you know the kids will be out in the sun, choose protection ranging from SPF 30 -SPF 50. Many of the natural sunscreens have 30 SPF, so simply apply more often.

Train them early!

Kids like the independence of self-care. Following a simple routine will help them learn what works best for them. Beginning with clean skin is the foundation. Teaching them about keeping their skin hydrated with the right moisturizer will prevent damage from dry skin. Part of staying healthy is drinking plenty of water. Combine these things with a little bit of sun protection and you have a good recipe for healthy skin.