Skincare Teens & Tweens Should Be Using, According to a Dermatologist

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If you love beauty, you've probably heard about Sephora's 10-year takeover, particularly their obsession with Drunk Elephant skincare. I decided to head to my local Sephora to do a little research. Lo and behold, the store was filled with groups of teens and pre-teens ogling the displays. They weren't rowdy or rude to employees, as some social media posts suggest, but the experience made me think, “What products should teens and tweens actually be using?” To find out, I spoke with dermatologist Dr Sheila Farhang to know exactly that.

Why are teens and tweens so obsessed with skincare?

Like most trends, Dr. Farhang attributes the skincare obsession to social media. She specifically mentions TikTok, which she says has “a younger audience on social media in general” and where skincare routines are a popular topic.

She also says that “tweens just want to have something of their own,” just like millennials had Bath and Body Works or Limited Too. Essentially, the St. Ives drugstore facial scrubs and pink grapefruit Neutrogena cleansers of my era have evolved into expensive Drunk Elephant and Laneige products.

Overall, she says she's seen an increase in the number of patients aged nine to 12 who are turning to her for advice, but Dr. Farhang doesn't think interest in skin care is at a premium. young age is a bad thing. Instead, she emphasizes that teens, preteens and their parents need some education on the subject.

What Skin Care Ingredients Should Teens and Tweens Avoid?

If, like me, you're shocked that this young demographic is using harsh chemicals on their youthful faces, you're not alone. Dr. Farhang says teens and tweens should avoid “anything that can potentially irritate and disrupt the skin barrier, because their skin is very delicate and hasn't produced a lot of oil to tolerate these products.”

She specifically mentions ingredients like retinol, beta hydroxy acid such as salicylic acid, alpha hydroxy acid such as lactic acid and glycolic acid, and peptides. “I don't think a preteen should necessarily use Drunk Elephant, especially if it's formulated with active ingredients.”

What products should teens and tweens include in their skincare routine?

“I don't think it's a bad idea to start teaching a preteen to clean their face once or twice a day, apply sunscreen, especially if they're outside all day, and moisturize if their skin is dry,” says Dr. Farhang. That being said, she recommends keeping routines very simple with cleanser, sunscreen, and moisturizer.

Some teens and tweens may have clogged pores, so Dr. Farhang recommends “taking something like salicylic acid or over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide.”

But ultimately, it's always best to consult a professional. “I would also suggest taking the patient to a dermatologist just to make sure that what they are using on their face is appropriate and that there is nothing else going on with their skin,” advises Dr. Farhang.

Now that we've done the research, let's talk about which skin care products teens and tweens should actually be using, according to a dermatologist. Read on to shop the list.

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