Dolls and stuffed animals are taking a backseat to mascara and rouge among Italian elementary school girls - enough to spark an epidemic of make-up-induced dermatitis.
Girls as young as seven or eight are focusing on their looks - as are their parents, who either doll them up or help them beautify themselves, the president of the Italian Federation of Pediatricians (FIMP), Giuseppe Mele, warned Tuesday. "The use of make-up among girls has led to the sudden rise of allergic or contact dermatitis, recording a 16.7% increase in such pathologies in the 8-12-year-old age group," Mele told journalists at a Rome presentation of the Sixth National FIMP Congress, which will take place in Genoa September 27-29.
"The trend to note is that today children increasingly are considered like 'toys in the shop window', a spectacle and an 'accessory' of parents' desires," Mele declared.
Mele also warned that marketeers increasingly target children directly, rather than indirectly through their mothers - "a phenomenon to monitor closely," Mele added.