Incorporating anti-ageing skincare into your usual routine isn’t unexpected for an adult - but dermatologists have warned that children as young as 10 are being influenced by social media to get their hands on skincare products they do not need.
Dermatologists from the British Cosmetic Dermatology Group have said they are concerned by a growing trend that sees children and teenagers, usually young girls, asking their parents to buy them anti-ageing skincare from expensive brands that are popular on social media.
The warning comes after a number of American social media users noted a rise in young children shopping in beauty stores like Sephora and Ulta, particularly for skincare products that are geared towards older women.
Dr Emma Wedgeworth told the Guardian she has experienced an increase in teenagers consulting with her who “are using expensive and extensive skincare routines”.
“They are spending a huge amount of time on their skincare routine before and after school… I think, as with anything, it is about moderation,” she said.
Social media pushing anti-ageing skincare onto young teens
Medical and cosmetic doctor Dr Leah Totton, founder of Dr Leah Cosmetic Skin Clinics and Dr Leah Skincare, tells Yahoo UK that she believes the rise in teenagers using anti-ageing skincare is down to social media, especially TikTok.
“The ‘Get Ready With Me’ videos by influencers on social media are hugely popular, and skincare can often be a key focus of this,” she explains.
“Teenagers should not look to social media platforms for skincare advice. With the wealth of skincare content available online, it is becoming difficult to differentiate who is an expert.
“Everyone’s skin is individual and will have different requirements depending on skin type, age and environmental factors.”
Dr Saniyya Mahmood, aesthetic doctor and medical director of Aesthetica Medical Clinic, adds: “A 14-year-old doesn’t require a complicated skin regime, definitely nothing that is anti-ageing at that age.
“However, the pressure of looking young with trends changes fast. Social media definitely is facilitating the commercialisation of anti-ageing and unrealistic results.”
The right age to start an anti-ageing skincare regime
For teenagers, experts recommend a gentle skincare routine, which includes a gentle cleaner and a moisturiser, as well as SPF to reduce the risk of sun damage.
Dr Mahmood says most dermatologists recommend introducing skincare products around the age of 12, or whenever puberty starts, as taking care of our skin from an early age will lead to healthier skin in the long term.
But, during teenagehood, there is no need for products such as retinols or vitamin C. While it may not be “physically dangerous” for teenagers to be using these products, Dr Mahmood warns that it is “concerning how self-critical children are these days”.
As for when people can start looking into using anti-ageing products, Dr Totton says mid to late twenties is a good time to begin.
“This is when the skin’s collagen levels start to deplete and we may begin to notice changes in the skin texture,” she says.
The use of anti-ageing products on children and young teenagers could result in further sensitivity, breakouts and dry skin as they may be too harsh on skin that is subject to hormonal fluctuations.
“It is important that any ingredients are being used in the correct quantities and combinations, as this can run the risk of damaging the skin,” Dr Totton adds. “Medical grade actives should only be used after consultation with a skin doctor.”
What type of anti-ageing products should adults use?
We often hear complicated terms like “retinol” and more bandied about when it comes to anti-ageing products, but what are their actual benefits? Dr Totton explains:
Retinol: There is good evidence that retinol can reduce wrinkle depth, but this product can cause sensitivity so is not suitable for all skin types and should be introduced in a phased way under the care of a cosmetic doctor.
Niacinamide (Vitamin B3): This can help improve the skin’s protective barrier by stimulating ceramides, this leads to a healthier skin barrier which retains moisture. It is also a gentle skin active, suitable for sensitive skin.
Vitamin C: Using a Vitamin C serum daily can help protect against free radicals (pollution damage) so can prevent premature ageing.
Watch: Everything you need to know about 2024's hormonal skincare trend
Read more about skincare:
How a healthy gut microbiome can give you better winter skin (Yahoo Life UK, 5-min read)
Top foods to eat to combat rosacea and acne - and what to avoid (Yahoo Life UK, 4-min read)
The Resolutions Your Dermatologist Wishes You'd Make For 2024 (HuffPost Life, 6-min read)