The Perils of Elaborate Skincare Routines for Adolescents

1 December 2023

Experts warn against the potential harm of indoctrinating young girls into complex beauty regimens

Adolescence is a time of discovery and self-expression, but it can also be a period of heightened vulnerability, especially when it comes to body image and self-esteem. In today’s digital age, where social media and influencers dominate the beauty industry, young girls are bombarded with messages about the importance of flawless skin and the need for elaborate skincare routines. However, dermatologists and experts are raising concerns about the potential harm of indoctrinating adolescents into these multistep regimens. This article explores the dangers of such practices and offers advice on how to establish a healthy and simple skincare routine that fosters self-regard.

The Quest for Unattainable Beauty Ideals

Dermatologists Laurel Geraghty and Jessica Weiser caution against the unrealistic beauty ideals perpetuated by the beauty industry and social media influencers. They argue that young girls are often on a never-ending pursuit of perfect skin, driven by the belief that it can only be achieved through extensive research and the purchase of numerous products. This quest for an unattainable holy grail can have detrimental effects on both their skin and their psyche.

The Psychological Toll of Beauty Culture

The pressure to conform to societal beauty standards can have severe psychological consequences for teenagers, particularly girls. Studies show that appearance-related anxiety, depression, body dysmorphia, and disordered eating are on the rise, with social media playing a significant role in exacerbating these issues. The phenomenon of “Instagram face,” inspired by filters and virtual beauty standards, has even led to real-world cosmetic procedures. Beauty culture’s harmful implications need to be acknowledged and addressed to protect the well-being of young girls.

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Unsuitable Products and Skin Damage

Many skincare products marketed towards teenagers are designed for more mature skin types. The use of antioxidants, exfoliants, heavy night creams, and other complex formulations can lead to skin congestion, acne, and irritation. Dermatologists emphasize that simple skincare routines consisting of gentle cleansing, moisturizing, and sun protection are sufficient for maintaining healthy skin. Specific skin conditions should be addressed, but the focus should be on avoiding unnecessary steps and using age-appropriate products.

The Pressure to Spend on Self-Care

The increasing emphasis on self-care has created a culture where young people, influenced by social media and marketing tactics, feel the need to invest heavily in their skincare routines. Dermatologists express concern about the financial burden this places on individuals and the unrealistic expectations it creates. They advocate for a more balanced approach, where self-care is not equated with excessive grooming steps or the use of toxins and fillers.

The Dermatologists’ Approach

Dermatologists stress the importance of working with one’s skin type and using a few proven ingredients consistently. They emphasize the significance of sun protection as the most valuable lesson to teach kids, as it is a lifelong gift for the skin. Dermatologists themselves do not follow complicated skincare routines but instead focus on maintaining healthy skin through simple practices.

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Conclusion: While the beauty industry and social media influencers may promote elaborate skincare routines for adolescents, dermatologists and experts warn against their potential harm. The quest for unattainable beauty ideals, the psychological toll of beauty culture, the use of unsuitable products, and the pressure to spend on self-care all contribute to the need for a more balanced approach. By establishing a simple skincare routine that prioritizes gentle cleansing, moisturizing, and sun protection, young girls can develop healthy self-regard and maintain their skin’s well-being for years to come.

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