Lifestyle / Opinion

Tween obsession with skincare and why we need to talk about it

If you have gone into a Sephora in the past couple of months, you may have noticed the stores being nearly overrun by young girls. What makes this even weirder is that these girls are obsessed with buying and using trendy skincare that are meant for people nearly triple their age. In particular, luxury brands such as Glow Recipe, Bubble Skincare, and Drunk Elephant which sell expensive skincare products have taken hold of these children and their parents’ wallets. 

This infatuation with $50 serums and $98 peptide creams can be traced back to a seemingly recurring culprit: the internet. In particular, these products have been sensationalized across TikTok, with many influencers promoting these products in glamorous “get ready with me” videos or labeling these pricey products to be “aesthetic”. 

The only difference between these influencers and the little girls in the isles of Sephora is that most of the famous influencers on TikTok are at an age where their skin can handle the ingredients in skin-plumping serums or peptide creams, while a 10-year-old’s skin cannot. 

Additionally, these skincare products that contain chemicals like retinol are scientifically formulated in order to increase cell turnover and collagen production in the skin, which then results in a youthful appearance. As said by The Cleveland Clinic, a non-profit academic medical center, retinol “increases skin cell production, helps unclog pores, exfoliates the skin, and increases collagen production. These effects can then reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, giving your skin a fresher, plump appearance.” 

Clearly, products like retinol are not meant for young children, and even when used by adults, it is still harsh on the skin with severe side effects being peeling, discoloration, and irritation in the skin. As stated by Healthline, retinol can also cause a reaction that resembles contact dermatitis called “retinol burn, also known as retinol irritation, retinization, or the ‘retinol uglies’, which happens to some people when they first start using retinol.” The side effects of retinol burn include “dry skin, painful irritation, redness or discoloration, and flaking” and can also cause one’s skin to become susceptible to severe damage from UV rays. This is why many dermatologists strongly recommend wearing sunscreen when using retinol in one’s skincare routine because if not, the skin can suffer from redness, discoloration, inflammation, and permanent damage to the skin barrier. Despite all of these red flags, there continue to be many 10-year-olds in Sephora who fill their baskets with skincare meant for adults. But why? 

As we continue to move into an age of social media, the influence of the internet grows stronger. Unfortunately, this influence includes young, impressionable kids who are being given unrestricted access to the internet. Of course, it is a natural part of growing up that every child wants to have the shiniest toy and to be seen as mature. However, right now, it seems that these urges to be mature and the influences of the internet have teamed up and manifested themselves through these small children buying wrinkle cream. While this entire situation is clearly ludicrous, there are also concerning undertones within this phenomenon that are not so seemingly innocent. The ways that these Sephora-obsessed girls have been influenced is a direct reflection of how the internet can take a hold of our lives, apparently even our skincare. More specifically, the neverending flow of new brands, trends, and items that are being thrown in front of us at all times across various platforms on the internet is a pressing problem that needs to be acknowledged.

So, in order for us to prevent this overconsumption of trends and content on the internet, we need to find a balance between what we allow children to access and what they are being influenced by. While we cannot completely hide the internet from the kids in upcoming generations, there is a way to educate young people about the benefits of having a healthy relationship with the internet. This can be done in many ways, such as simply taking a break from social media after scrolling for a while. “Doom scrolling”, defined as continuously scrolling down into the depths of endless videos or posts on social media, is a tempting habit that has plagued the lives of many young children, and clearly, this incessant scrolling takes its toll. 

While this influence is easy to see in the ridiculousness of tween girls buying retinol, it can be harder to see how it plays a role in our own lives. Whether it’s through looking at the “perfect” feeds of influencers or even your friends, social media can subconsciously affect your mood, self-esteem, and clearly your shopping decisions. So, just taking a second to breathe and putting the phone down is so important. Even if it means simply getting up and stretching, going for a walk, or reading a book, there are so many ways to initiate a healthy relationship with the internet and the role that it plays in our daily lives. 

If you are interested in details about trends on the internet and how it impacts all aspects of life, check out Grace Wang’s article.

Image Source: Creative Fabrica

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