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


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If you’re into beauty, you’ve likely been hearing all about the 10 years taking over Sephora, particularly their obsession with Drunk Elephant skincare. I decided to head to my local Sephora to conduct a little research. Lo and behold, the store was filled with groups of teens and tweens ogling the displays. They weren’t rowdy or being rude to employees as some social media posts suggest, but the experience did get me thinking, “What products should teens and tweens actually be using?” To find out, I spoke with dermatologist Dr. Sheila Farhang to find out 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 viewership on social media in general” and where skin care routines are a popular topic.

She also says, “tweens just want something to have as their own,” just like millennials had Bath and Body Works or Limited Too. Essentially, the drugstore St. Ives face scrubs and Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit cleansers from my day have evolved into pricey Drunk Elephant and Laneige products.

Overall, she says she’s definitely seen an uptick in the number of patients between the ages of nine and twelve looking to her for guidance, but Dr. Farhang doesn’t think an interest in skincare at a young age is a bad thing. Instead, she stresses that teens, tweens, and their parents need some education on the subject.

What skincare 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 as their skin is very delicate and hasn’t produced a lot of the sebum 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 tween should necessarily be using Drunk Elephant especially if it is 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 educating a tween on cleansing their face once or twice a day, applying sunscreen especially if they are out and about all day and moisturizing if their skin feels dry,” says Dr. Farhang. That being said, she recommends keeping routines super simple with a cleanser, sunscreen, and a moisturizer.

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

But ultimately, visiting a professional is always best. “I would also suggest taking the tween patient to a dermatologist just to make sure what they’re using on their face is appropriate and that there isn’t something else going on with their skin,” advises Dr. Farhang.

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

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