July 9, 2024

Antiaging skin care … for kids?

Kids as young as 9 are using antiaging products. A Kaiser Permanente dermatologist explains how these products can do more harm than good.

Teens and preteens don’t need expensive cosmetics or a 10-step skincare routine. Just a few good habits can help them keep their skin healthy.

Trends come and go for teenagers and preteens, but a recent surge of interest in antiaging skin care has dermatologist Natalie Nasser, MD, concerned. Popular videos on social media show girls as young as 9 or 10 buying and using expensive antiaging products.

Some products are downright irritating

Dr. Nasser, a Kaiser Permanente physician in Riverside, California, explains that many products are unnecessary for young people and may do more harm than good.

“Products with salicylic acid, retinol, and peptides are more suitable for mature skin. For kids and teens without skin problems, these products can irritate the skin and even cause redness, peeling, or itching,” said Dr. Nasser.

Some people mix products to create a “skin care smoothie,” not knowing that some ingredients aren’t meant to be mixed. The wrong ingredients used together can alter the skin’s pH level and result in irritation. Some antiaging products can even increase the risk of sun sensitivity.

Start good habits early

Dr. Nasser recommends that preteens and teens stick to a basic skin care routine: “Cleanse the face once or twice a day with a gentle facial cleanser. In the morning, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more. If the skin is dry at night, you can add a facial moisturizer. No 10-step skin care routine is necessary, and drugstore products are perfectly fine,” said Dr. Nasser.

She stresses that using sun protection is the best way for young people (and people of all ages) to avoid skin damage. In addition to using sunscreen, kids should adopt sun-safe habits early. This includes avoiding the sun during peak hours, wearing broad-brimmed hats, and wearing sunglasses.

When in doubt, ask a professional

For young people with skin conditions, Dr. Nasser recommends skipping social media advice and going straight to a board-certified expert.

“Some teens or preteens with acne might benefit from products with benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or retinol. But it’s always best to seek the care and guidance of a health care professional when treating acne,” advises Dr. Nasser, giving a reminder that every patient is unique.

“As we always say, start low and go slow.”