April 1, 2013. Just in time for St. Patrick’s day…Green babies! Or do you prefer the traditional pink and blue? Artificially colored skin, the latest trend in children’s fashion, hit the scene Monday morning at NYC’s Pour les Bébés, a high-end children’s fashion house known for its off-beat collections.
The process, known as color shading, involves feeding children vegetable-based food supplements for several weeks, gradually changing the color of their skin. Results vary, depending on the child’s natural pigmentation and their metabolism, but the effect usually wears off when the supplement is discontinued. The patented formula called Teindre is not regulated by the FDA, but Pour les Bébés’ head designer, Zoe Mentir, assures, “Teindre is 100% safe. You choose your color, and mix it into the baby food, just a few drops, or in the bottle. It has very little taste. The babies eat it and it shows up in their skin. You see it first in their lips and fingertips, then it spreads to the whole body.”
Shawna Astuce, who chose a greenish hue for her 5-month old daughter Zoe, said, “It’s just a bit of fun. You know, it gets attention when we go out. At first people think there’s something wrong with her, but when I tell them it’s color shading, generally people like it.”
Not everyone is on board with the new trend, however. Atlanta-based pediatrician, Marvin Blague says color shading can cause problems in case of medical emergencies. “We doctors look at skin appearance. If a child has blue lips, for example, that can mean they’re not getting enough oxygen. Yellow skin is a sign of jaundice. If a parent color shades their child, it makes it harder for us to do our jobs.”
And in case you’re thinking about it for yourself, think again. Because of the large amounts of dyes needed to shade the skin, color shading only works safely on children under thirty pounds. Adult bodies process chemicals too efficiently to see significant results in small amounts.
Teindre is available in six packs of 2 oz dropper bottles at Pour les Bébés showroom, or online at PourlesBébés.com, and will set you back a whopping $400 per pack. That’s a pretty big whopper.
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