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A Guide to Teen Skincare

A Guide to Teen Skincare

Today’s teens are bombarded with advice and product choices; plenty of it from unqualified sources on platforms such a TikTok and entirely unsuited to hormonally challenged and sensitive adolescent skin. And, with parents often as confused as their kids are over what they should be using, solid answers aren’t always easy to come by.

For better or for worse, there has been a recent spate of teen-focused skincare brands. While adding to the avalanche of options out there, some of these at least aim to do away with many of the skincare steps and ingredients no teen skin needs and focus on simplicity and self-acceptance while offering products teens will want to use. “They want products that openly say they’re formulated for teen skin, with light textures and smells that can provide emotional connections,” says Reena Hammer, co-founder and CEO of teen cosmetics brand Indu.

Is teen skincare the answer?

Some dermatologists are not so sure ‘teen’ skincare is needed at all. They point to the many established, basic dermatological brands such as Bioderma, CeraVe and La Roche Posay as providing everything young skin needs, if you know which products to select. However, consultant dermatologist Dr Alexis Granite can see some point in teen-specific skin ranges: “they will be accessible and very clear in their messaging,” she says.

“It’s no bad thing for teens to have that reassurance that a product is appropriate for their skin. In my practice, I see how these kids are drawn to Insta-viral brands such as Drunk Elephant, plenty of whose formulations should not be used on teen skin. Dedicated ranges with teen appeal will at least help young people make the right choices.”

What are 'skinfluencers' — and can they help?

All skin professionals voice concern over the influence the likes of TikTok and other social media platforms exert: “as we speak, there’s a social media trend for teenagers showcasing their luxury skincare routines involving actives like vitamin C and retinoids,” says Dr Anjali Mahto. “As a consultant dermatologist, I must emphasise that a 13-year-old's skincare routine should prioritise basic hygiene, not unnecessary complexity.”

“I recently saw a 14-year-old who was concerned about crow’s feet, undoubtedly brought on by the social media and influencers she was invested in” she adds. “It leads to an unhealthy focus by young kids on premature ageing.”

It also causes congested skin: “I see many teenagers in clinic whose breakouts were set off by too-rich skincare recommended by influencers,” says dermatologist Dr Stefanie Williams. Even her son fell for it: “He came back from uni with spots all over his face, and admitted he’d switched to skincare recommended by an online influencer, rather than listening to his dermatologist mother. As with many patients, once I’d ousted these products from his routine, his skin cleared up.”

With all that in mind, what care do skincare experts and formulators advise for adolescents suffering from hormonal skin changes and all the insecurity and confusion they bring? We asked them to tell it to us straight.

What should a teenager’s skincare routine look like?

With even ‘tween’ (kids between the ages of nine and twelve) skincare being a ‘thing’ these days, experts like to point out that skincare at this age needs to be even more basic than that for ‘proper’ teenagers (aged 13 to 18). “Acne will in most cases not yet be an issue, and building hygiene practices is all they really need,” says Dr Granite.

“From a young age, you want to educate kids on personal hygiene and help them be confident and feel good about themselves,” says Sam Farmer, cosmetic chemist and creator ofSam Farmer Professional Personal Care, a ‘teen’ skincare range that dermatologists are happy to recommend. “It’s not a game, it’s important.”

March 27, 2024

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