Should pre-teens be obsessed with skincare routines?

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One doctor says social media is fueling the craze

Normally, it’s when people hit middle age that they begin to step up the care of their skin, especially on their face. But the obsession now appears to begin much earlier.

Piper Sandler’s 46th semi-annual Taking Stock With Teens survey found that teens and even tweens increased their spending on skincare products by 20% in 2023.

At an age when most people in this group limit their skin concerns to acne, spending has surged across a wide range of beauty products. Spending averages $324 a year on the “core beauty wallet” consisting of cosmetics, skincare and fragrance.

What’s behind this trend? Most likely, the usual suspect – social media.

WTOP Radio in Washington, DC interviewed doctors who have cautioned parents about this growing trend, saying it may be causing more harm than good. Dr. Randa Khoury, a dermatologist with Kaiser Permanente in Springfield, Va., points to targeted ads and paid influencers on TikTok and other social media platforms.

“I see young people coming into my practice every day with a bag of all the products they’re using, showing me videos of influencers with filters on their faces,” Dr. Khoury told WTOP. “Social media tricks us into thinking that in order to look our best, we need to do the most. It tells us that we need these toners, serums, moisturizers, cleansers, creams, sunscreens — every day, twice a day.”

Doctors aren’t the only ones who think this is a bad idea. A young social media influencer recently posted the YouTube video below to tell children they don’t need a multi-step skincare routine.

Khoury doesn’t think is all happening as an accident. She suggests some companies are specifically targeting the youngest consumers using “cute, whimsical packaging” and social media influencers.

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