Children and teenagers should not use trendy anti-ageing skincare products, warn doctors

ITV News reporter Katharine Walker has been investigating the rise in young children and teenagers wanting to use anti-ageing products.

Parents are being warned by dermatologists not to buy their children anti-ageing skin care, as beauty products have become a trend among tweens.

In particular, they are seeing a rise in children experimenting with expensive skin care they’ve seen on social media. 

Skin care content is unrestricted online and celebrity videos showing lengthy evening routines for children attract millions of views.

Many of the trendy creams are harmless, but there are concerns around products designed specifically for older skin.

In particular, strong ingredients like retinol, vitamin C, hydroxy acid, and anything labelled as 'brightening' or 'anti-ageing' can cause lasting damage if used incorrectly.

Dr Andrew Kane, from Newcastle, said: "It's worrying to see so many kids diving into skincare routines that aren't designed for them.

"The skin of children is very different to that of an adult and this means that the skin barrier is more sensitive to the active ingredients in these products. It can expose children to products which can cause long term sensitivities or allergies."

Dr Andrew Kane: "It's worrying to see so many kids diving into skincare routines that aren't designed for them."

Mum-of-two Sarah Turner, from Ilkley in West Yorkshire, says it is very tricky to navigate the skincare industry.

Her two daughters, 10 and 12, have both started becoming interested in skincare and asked for expensive products for Christmas.

But, with no age limit stopping children buying anti-ageing products, she said she has to work out what is and isn’t safe. 

She said: "It’s extremely difficult because it seems like you need a science degree to understand what is in them, especially if they aren’t products you’re using yourself. It is really hard.

She added: "It seems like a lot of the skin care products are being more marketed to the younger audience, with the brighter packaging and funky designs."

What skincare should children avoid?

Experts say that children and teenagers should avoid:

  • Retinol (or anything with Vitamin A)

  • Vitamin C

  • Hydroxy acid

  • Anti-ageing products

  • Brightening products

What skincare is safe for children?

Experts recommend a simple skincare routine at a young age, including a gentle cleanser, a light moisturiser and sunscreen if UV rays are high.

The trend for teenagers wanting anti ageing products has taken many doctors by surprise, and is a big concern for those in the industry. 

In a statement, the British Association of Dermatologists said: "There are lots of skincare products out there which aren't suitable for children, either because they can be harmful or because they are unnecessary.

"Open communication between children and parents is needed to channel this enthusiasm in a healthy way. Manufacturers should also consider whether the way they market products contributes to this issue."

The trade body for cosmetics and personal care companies, CTPA, added: "We are concerned by this and this is a not a trend that should be encouraged.

"It is not considered normal use for a child to use an anti-ageing product."

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