Growing Skincare Use by Children Poses Potential Risks, Warn Dermatologists

29 January 2024

Influencer-driven skincare trends among children as young as eight are raising concerns among dermatologists due to potential harm caused by adult-oriented products.

The British Association for Dermatologists has issued a warning about the increasing number of children, some as young as eight, who are using skincare products. Influenced by their favorite social media influencers on platforms like YouTube and TikTok, children are seeking luxury skincare items that contain potentially harmful active ingredients intended for adults only. Dermatologists are concerned that this trend could lead to irreversible skin problems, such as allergies and eczema. The allure of colorful packaging and the influence of friends and social media are driving children to experiment with skincare routines that may not be suitable for their age and skin type.

The Influence of Social Media and Friends

Skincare content on social media platforms is unrestricted, attracting millions of views. Influencers, both adults and children, often feature skincare products in their daily routines and get-ready-with-me videos. This exposure has led to an increased interest in skincare among children, who are now asking their parents for luxury products they have seen online. Brands like Drunk Elephant, known for their vibrant packaging and cartoon-animal logo, are particularly popular among children. However, many of these products contain exfoliators and retinols that can be harmful to young skin.

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The Dangers of Adult-Oriented Skincare Products

Skincare YouTubers have compiled videos from TikTok, showcasing children using potentially harmful products. Dermatologists emphasize that anti-aging products, such as those containing retinol, are not suitable for children. These ingredients can cause skin irritation and allergies, especially for children with sensitive skin or eczema. The highly fragrant nature of many skincare products can also lead to contact allergies. The suggestive packaging of these products, designed to be attractive and colorful, further entices children to try them.

The Impact on Children’s Wellbeing

Parents have expressed concerns about their children’s obsession with skincare and the influence of social media. Some children have even been known to abuse in-store testers and clear shelves of products as soon as they become available. The popularity of brands like Drunk Elephant has prompted the company’s founder to caution children and tweens against using their more potent products. Parents are finding it challenging to educate their children about skincare, particularly when influencers hold more sway than parental advice. This trend has caused distress for both children and parents, with children feeling left out if they are not participating in skincare routines.

Expert Recommendations and Advice

Paediatric dermatologists stress the importance of children receiving accurate information about skincare. Anti-aging products are not suitable for younger skin and can be potentially dangerous or problematic. Dermatologists urge parents to consult with doctors or dermatologists for effective treatments for their children’s skin concerns. Expensive products are not necessary, and the pursuit of perfect skin is unrealistic and unnecessary. There are currently no age restrictions for purchasing skincare products, both in physical stores and online.

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The growing trend of children using skincare products, influenced by social media and friends, has raised concerns among dermatologists. The use of adult-oriented products containing potentially harmful ingredients can lead to irreversible skin problems in children. The colorful packaging and suggestive marketing tactics employed by skincare brands further entice children to experiment with products that may not be suitable for their age and skin type. Parents are advised to seek accurate information from doctors or dermatologists and to educate their children about safe and appropriate skincare practices.

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