A topical subject doing the rounds is young children and their extreme skin care habits. Children as young as eight years old are said to be obsessed with the latest skin care trends and using actives such as Vitamin C and Retinol. With concerns rising on the damage they could be doing to their skin, we asked our Education Manager Victoria for advice on how much is too much for this age group.
Skin care for young children
It’s scary to hear of children as young as eight years old using active skin care products we’d only prescribe to a grown adult who was already established on a healthy skin care routine. Whilst it’s great to get children into a healthy self-care routine with good hygiene habits and wellbeing rituals such as brushing your teeth and bathing along with good sleep routines and general grooming, when it comes to skin care, they really don’t need more than washing their face and a simple moisturiser.
Young skin is delicate, and our bodies are still developing. Skin care at this age should be about maintaining skin health with daily gentle cleansing and light moisturising to maintain barrier health. In childhood, cellular turnover is working at optimum, so we definitely don’t need exfoliation and retinoids to accelerate that further. In fact, use of ‘actives’ can over-process the skin causing skin barrier damage, dryness, and irritation.
As children approach puberty, there are often associated changes in the skin. Many teens will experience excess oil, congestion and breakouts which can be distressing. This is when we may need to add a couple of products into the routine that help balance excess oil and minimise congestion and inflammation. Actives such as Salicylic Acid and Niacinamide can be introduced but look for gentle products designed for teen skin that promote skin health. Dermalogica formulate Clear Start products with young skin in mind. My top picks to introduce for teens experiencing oiliness and breakouts are Breakout Clearing Foaming Wash, Breakout Clearing Booster and Cooling Aqua Jelly.
Keeping the regimen to a few simple steps is key. We often see over-processed skin, that’s been stripped of essential moisture and over-stimulated by an array of ingredients and formulas resulting in stressed out skin. Signs of over-processed skin include, dryness, dehydration, flaking and breakouts. It can be surprising to many that a stripped back regimen often improves skin health.
Social media and skin care trends
We must acknowledge the main reason younger children are interested in skin care and the latest trends is due to social media, particularly Tik Tok. They’re exposed to potentially harmful content and misinformation and are often following trends that simply aren’t relevant to their age or skin condition. It’s concerning that many girls are developing an unhealthy obsession with their appearance with reports of some teens being concerned with signs of ageing!
We are advocates of preventative skin care and there are some positive aspects of developing healthy self-care practices from an early age. Learning to take care of your skin and preventing sun damage and skin cancer from an early age is a good example. There’s a great community of skin and beauty content creators across social media that promote sensible and realistic practices, showing real skin, ditching filters and unachievable perfection that builds insecurity. Ensure your tween or teen is only following those influencers who promote skin and body confidence with real skin examples and book them a consultation with a skin expert who can advise them on exactly what they do and don’t need.
Do’s and don’t’s for younger skin
- Cleanse daily with a gentle cleanser
- Moisturise with a simple, light formula
- Apply SPF when outdoors and through summer
- Be consistent with a daily AM & PM routine
- Avoid products with artificial fragrance, colour and drying alcohols
- Focus on skin health not perfection
- Incorporate healthy rituals like good sleep and nutrition
- Seek advice from a Professional Skin Therapist
- Don’t use actives such as Retinol, Vitamin C and acids/peels
- Don’t follow a trend without advice on suitability for your skin
- Don’t follow a complex, multi-step regimen – you don’t need it!
- Don’t pick your spots (use a spot treatment)
- Don’t over complicate your regimen – less is more
- Don’t switch brands and include new products too often
- Don’t waste your money on expensive formulas
- Don’t copy others, all skins are unique!
Seek expert advice from a skin professional
Whilst a lot of us get our advice from social content and influencers, when it comes to treating skin at any age, seek out the advice from a trained professional. We offer free consultations with a Professional Skin Therapist in the form of live chat and digital appointments.