Tweens Are Using Skin Care ‘Potions’ — And Ruining Their Skin

By: Beth Moreton | Published: Mar 14, 2024

Some might say that getting into a good skin care routine from an early age is good, as it can teach good practices as one ages.

However, today’s tweens and young people are using skin care products they see on social media that are meant for older people, and ruining their skin in the process.

Social Media trends entice Teens

One of the main issues facing teenagers today is social media and the products that social media creators promote.

A TikTok video with an influencer showcasing some skincare products that are supposedly suitable for teachers. There are different products in the background and she is clearly in the shot. The text on the video reads “Skincare gift ideas for your kids under £15.”

Source: @meganmaceyy/TikTok

While the products the creators are using might be suitable for their skin, they are very harmful to their young audiences and have caused trips to the dermatologist.

Teenagers Showcasing Skin Care on Social Media Have Been Given a Name

The New York Post has reported that teenagers posting about their skin care routines on social media have been dubbed “Sephora kids.”

A woman on TikTok using some skincare. She is using a serum that she is applying to her face with an applicator. The text on the screen reads “some by mi vitamin C serum.”

Source: @jasminnlily_/TikTok

Some of these teenagers are showcasing their 12-step skin care routines, which are often more than any adult would carry out on a day-to-day basis. 

Teenagers Are Enticed by the Color of Products

If their favorite content creators using these skin care products weren’t enough to encourage teenagers to buy them, they are also interested in them due to their bright colors.

Drunk Elephant skincare products. There are three bottles, one with a pink lid, one with a blue lid, and one with an orange lid. They are against a neon green background.

Source: @drunkelephant/Instagram

Skin care companies like Drunk Elephant and Glow Recipe use brightly colored packaging, which means teenagers are more likely to buy these products than ones in plain packaging. 

Teenagers Are Using Anti-Aging Products

Anti-aging products are aimed at the older population who want to achieve youthful skin, something that the younger generation doesn’t need to worry about quite yet.

A red pot with a silver lid. On the pot, it says “anti-ageing complex day cream nuance anti-ageing.”

Source: Isaac Wolff/Unsplash

Medical News Today states that anti-aging products contain ingredients such as AHAs and retinoids, which are fine for adult skin but dangerous for young skin. 

One Teenager Had a Dry Rash on Her Skin

NBC News has covered the story of one 13-year-old called Leora who ended up getting a dry, red, itchy rash on her skin.

A woman with a towel on her head looking in a compact mirror. She has a red rash on her face and is touching it with one of her fingers.

Source: Freepik

The rash ended up getting infected, and it is likely to take a few weeks or months before it completely goes away.


Parents and Teenagers Need Education on Skin Care

The world of skin care can be quite complicated in terms of knowing what will and won’t work for your skin, something experts are saying parents and children need education on.

A woman in a towel spraying some skincare on her face. Her reflection can be seen in the mirror.

Source: Kalos Skincare/Unsplash

Particularly where children are concerned, parents need to know the ingredients contained in skin care products, which skin care products are good for children, and the consequences of using the wrong products. 


Drunk Elephant Has Responded to the Issue

With Drunk Elephant being one of the skin care companies that teenagers are using, the company took to Instagram to address whether children and teenagers can use their products.

Drunk Elephant’s Instagram post on whether kids can use their products. The photo says “Can kids and tweens use drunk elephant?” in white and yellow writing against a pink background.

Source: @drunkelephant/Instagram

They said that their products are “designed for all skin” and listed some of their products that are safe for children and teenagers to use, including F-balm, virgin marula oil, and sili body lotion. 


Using the Wrong Skin Care Products Can Cause More Issues

Teenagers might think that using these products is helping their skin and resolving any issues they might have, but they are actually causing more harm than good.

A woman with blonde hair that is pushed back by a stretchy hairband. She has some cream on her face.

Source: Cheyenne Doig/Unsplash

It can disrupt the natural process of the skin cycle and cause premature damage, which can lead to more skin issues later on.


Teenagers Should Be Using Skin Care Products with Minimal Ingredients

When looking for skin care products for teenagers, they should be looking for products that contain minimal ingredients.

A white plastic pump bottle next to a gray towel, tealight candle, and pink tulips on a white table.

Source: Camille Broadard/Unsplash

This is part of a trend known as “skin minimalism,” which encourages people to use minimal ingredients in their skin care routine, according to Sublime Life.


Skin Minimalism Has Many Benefits

One thing that teenagers and adults might find by using skin minimalism is that it comes with many benefits.

A light pink tube with skincare next to some small cotton wool balls and pink roses on a white table.

Source: Globencer/Unsplash

It can help save time and money, lessen the chance of getting irritated skin, maximize the benefits of using one product, and encourage a sustainable lifestyle. 


Children Under 5 Years Old Can Use Skin Care

Even though some people might believe that you shouldn’t start using skin care until your teenage years, children can start using skin care products when they are babies.

A baby wrapped up in bedding and towels looking at the camera.

Source: Michal Bar Haim/Unsplash

They can use moisturizer and SPF, which help protect them from UV light and soften their skin, but they don’t need to use any more than this until they are much older.


Teenagers Don’t Need to Avoid Skin Care Entirely

While it might be recommended that teenagers don’t need to go in as heavy with skin care as they are currently, it doesn’t mean that they have to avoid it entirely.

A teenage girl applying a glittery face mask with a brush.

Source: Monstera Production/Pexels

Teenagers and their parents should be mindful of the ingredients in the products they use, recognize the issues with their skin and what products are good for combating these, and not use a product just because their favorite skin care influencer is using it.