The millennial parent’s guide to tween skincare

Marie Stambe

Marie Stambe

Marie is an emerging writer who loves all things content creation. From her Italian heritage to her deep-rooted passions (fashion, beauty, lifestyle, and fun), Marie harnesses the power of personal experiences to write stories that are #relatable and easy to digest. Because who has the time?
Updated on Jun 26, 2024 · 7 mins read
The millennial parent’s guide to tween skincare

Whether you're knee-deep in the tween and teen world or just a savvy observer, you've likely caught wind of the skincare obsession crisis currently in motion.

Okay, maybe “crisis” is a bit dramatic. But these not-so-grown-ups are diving into skincare with gusto and potentially causing more harm than good (not to mention the hefty price tags).

Forget the days of simple face and body moisturisers – today, it’s all about the retinol craze (yep, we’re serious). Thanks to TikTok and the omnipresence of social media, tweens and teens now have a wealth of beauty knowledge at their fingertips. So when it’s trendy to slather on these high-end, active products, why wouldn’t they be tempted?

We get it. The pressure to maintain self-care and meet beauty standards starts early.

What these kids don’t know is – retinol and other potent ingredients can cause irritation, dryness, and increased sensitivity to common beauty treatments like facial waxing and sun exposure.

That’s where we come in. We’re here to break down the tween skincare craze, undoing the damage caused by those anti-aging products – one pimple at a time.

Why is my daughter asking me to spend $60 on bronzing drops?

You’ve likely seen this one on a Christmas wish list at some point. Bronzing drops are tinted products in liquid form that give the complexion a sun-kissed look using a blend of pigments to achieve a bronze colour. So now you’re wondering – why does my 10-year-old daughter need to have a sunkissed look? She doesn’t. But with the skincare craze plaguing the current generation of tweens, these products are slipping into the category of wants, rather than needs.

It’s not just about wanting to emulate idols or indulge in luxuries – there’s a perfect storm of social media influence, economic empowerment, and targeted marketing strategies at play.

Firstly, the rise of ‘skinfluencers’ has significantly impacted how tweens perceive skincare. 

These influencers flaunt elaborate routines and tout products as essentials for flawless skin. Platforms like TikTok have become breeding grounds for this culture, with hashtags like #tweenskincare amassing millions of views, perpetuating the belief that complex routines and luxury products are the norm.

Moreover, the allure of celebrity endorsements further fuels the frenzy. When figures like Kim Kardashian showcase their children engaging in skincare rituals, it both normalises this behaviour and creates aspirational connections. Young consumers see themselves reflected in these influencers and believe that by using the same products, they can achieve similar levels of beauty and status.

Economically speaking, tweens wield significant purchasing power. Whether through allowances, gifts, or part-time jobs, they have money to spend, and companies are keen to capitalise on it. With sales in the billions, many skincare brands have identified this demographic as a lucrative market segment, and tailor their products and marketing strategies accordingly. From vibrant packaging to enticing scents, they create products that appeal directly to the tastes and preferences of tweens, leveraging social media to amplify their reach.

The tween skincare craze isn’t merely a passing trend. It’s a complex interplay of societal influences, economic dynamics, and targeted marketing strategies that have created a booming industry fueled by youthful aspirations and spending power.

What are the risks?

This goes beyond just impacting self-esteem and confidence (although those always come into play). 

These products can potentially harm young, sensitive skin as they’re formulated for, well, the strength and resilience of adult skin. They often contain actives that, when used on tween skin, can exacerbate issues like acne, irritation, or sensitivity and overwhelm the balance of their skin. Products like retinol also increase sensitivity to the sun and recommend daily use of sunscreen – which most tweens won’t do. 

An understated risk though? Purchasing these products can warp your child’s sense of money. 

As many of us know, $80 is a fair amount to spend on one moisturiser (even for grown-ups). It’s not the kind of purchase most of us can just tap our card on without a second thought. We’ll probably think about it, might save up a little, and weigh the pros and cons.

When kids are spending so much of their pocket money on luxury items – and that’s just seen as normal within their circles – it can warp their understanding of the value of money.

It also feeds heavily into the culture of consumerism that influencers and social media are rife with. For that to start as young as eight years old is really concerning.

How to manage your skincare-crazy tween

In saying all that, a total beauty and skincare ban isn’t necessarily helpful either. 

It can inadvertently isolate your tween from their peer group, potentially fuelling FOMO (fear of missing out) or hindering their social development.

Instead, consider having open and honest conversations with your tween about the realities of influencer culture and the importance of critical thinking when it comes to product recommendations. Encourage them to question the motives behind endorsements and to prioritise their own values and needs over fleeting trends.

Even more importantly, take an active role in educating your tween about skincare essentials and healthy habits. Teach them about the ingredients, what they do, and the effect strong products can have on their skin (damaging their barrier and making them more vulnerable to skin conditions). We can empower tweens to play with beauty and skincare safely.

Because that world can be fun and exciting – and we’ve all been there. So how can we make it more enjoyable and wholesome?

Along with enforcing all our other suggestions, you can also purchase safer skincare products as an alternative that will feed their desires without disrupting their skin health (or mental health).

Here are some skincare brands we, with the help of dermatological research, recommend for your tween.

Skincare brands that are safe for tweens

This brand is well-loved and respected in everyday Aussie families. It’s budget-friendly, developed with dermatologists, and devised to protect sensitive skin. CeraVe delivers essential ceramides to the skin in gentle but effective formulations. 

As a Mecca Skin Specialist explained to us, “If you think about your skin barrier as a brick wall, ceramides are the cement that holds it together and make sure no nasties get through.” 

From their cleansers to their moisturisers, CeraVe nourishes and cares for tween skin.

If your tween still wants a bit of fun with their packaging, Routine is a skincare brand specifically designed for tween skin (and in turn, looks pretty cute on the bathroom shelf).

This up-and-coming range is Australian-made with clean, powerful native botanicals, formulated by scientists and tested with skin specialists to ensure effective results. 

You can grab a ‘Full Routine Bundle’ for your skin care junkie at $130.50 (how good!)

La Roche Posay
For that dermatologist tick of approval, La Roche Posay scores high on the list. It’s closely formulated with science, giving real results with gentle care. 

Your tween should stick to cleansers, moisturises, and maybe a gentle exfoliant from this range. They even have products for babies and young kids, so this brand knows what they’re doing.

A true cult classic – Dermalogica has been a skincare staple for both the beauty junkies and the “two-step routine” people. 

In particular, their Clear Start Skin Kit is specially formulated for acne-prone tween skin. You get all the good stuff from an acne routine, minus the harsh actives. This is a great entry into skincare for the tweens wanting to get started.

Wrapping it up…

The tween skincare craze has a lot of layers. From social media influence to economic empowerment and targeted marketing strategies – it’s not an easy one to tackle.

While the allure of luxury skincare products and elaborate routines may seem harmless at first glance, the potential risks to developing skin and financial literacy is so real.

That’s where you come in. Parents play such an important role in helping kids navigate new territory (even if it feels like they sometimes know more about it than you…)

In seeking open communication, promoting critical thinking, and providing safe alternatives that are actually beneficial for skincare health over fleeting trends, you are actively empowering your child to develop a non-toxic (unlike those nasty products) attitude towards self-care and self-acceptance.

Being the ‘cool mum’ doesn’t mean indulging every whim; it means guiding your child towards informed choices that nurture their well-being and confidence. Trust us – they might be upset now, but they’ll thank you later!

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