Cosmeticorexia: Navigating skincare risks for teens and tweens

The obsession with skincare and the excessive use of cosmetic products can lead to what’s known as cosmeticorexia, a phenomenon the industry exploits to boost sales, while social influence accelerates the trend at a staggering pace.

We often see on TikTok, and on other social media platforms, incredibly detailed skincare routines for individuals who not only don’t necessarily need them but might be engaging in practices that could be harmful to their health. 

One prevalent trend is the 6-step skincare routine, often dubbed “skin barrier repair.” However, cosmeticorexia, this desire for extensive care and heavy makeup isn’t restricted to adults alone. Data shows that the consumption of skincare products among girls and teenagers has been on the rise for some time now.

@daz0137 Grwm for bed 💤⭐️ #fyp #boardingschool #grwm #london #grwmforbed #skincareroutine ♬ original sound – ameera 🪩

Health skincare tips for teens and tweens

As specialists, there are key tips we emphasise for the skincare of young girls and teenagers:

  • Use only what’s essential for healthy skin, especially considering that younger skin is more susceptible to absorbing substances because of its still-developing nature.
  • Pay close attention to the ingredients in skincare products, particularly avoiding substances like parabens, which can disrupt hormones and potentially trigger early puberty in girls.
  • Be cautious of products promoted on television or social media, as they may lack quality control or scientific backing. It’s advisable to stick to products recommended by professionals.
  • Avoid products containing perfumes and alcohol, as they can lead to skin irritations and allergies, particularly in younger individuals.
  • For teenagers experiencing oily skin due to increased sebum secretion, seek advice from a specialist to avoid using products unsuitable for their skin type, which could exacerbate issues like acne.

While the allure of elaborate skincare routines promoted on social media can be strong, it’s crucial not to feel pressured into following them blindly.

Instead, focus on creating a smart skincare routine using products suitable for your skin type and age, including gentle cleansers, moisturisers without added fragrances or harsh chemicals, and a high SPF sunscreen.

Cosmeticorexia is just one aspect of a broader issue that includes societal pressures related to beauty standards and the desire for perfection, often starting at a young age.

This article was syndicated from Marie Claire Argentina
Translated and adapted by Praise Vandeh, Marie Claire Nigeria Content Writer

Dr. María Javiera González Velardo (@dra.javiera.gonzalez), a Paediatric Dermatologist (MN 120452), emphasises the importance of addressing these concerns and promoting healthy skincare habits among young individuals.



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