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Evolution of teenage skincare

Sofia Boddy

Double cleansing, toner, serums, moisturizer, SPF and more, briefly summarize all the various products that are available to add to a teenagers skincare routine. Skincare is a growing market, directed especially to teenagers through ‘Get-Ready-With-Me’ videos, and surrounding aesthetics. Dr. Katie Caretti is a dermatologist at Ferrara Dermatology Clinic in Grosse Pointe, and says that there are many unnecessary steps in teenage skincare that don’t need to be incorporated.

“Too many products that contain multiple ingredients may increase the risk for contact dermatitis which I see in my practice on a daily basis,” Caretti said. “Most of the time, simple is better when it comes to teenage skincare. Anti-aging ingredients are definitely not necessary at this age as these are generally formulated for more mature skin types.”

Caretti believes that the influx of skincare product placement in social media is influencing already set beauty standards that teenagers come across daily.
“ I believe there are a number of unrealistic expectations that are put out in the world that are impacting both teenagers and adults alike,” Caretti said.

“We see the rise of filters used on social media platforms where there is an elimination of pores, acne, or wrinkles on influencers and celebrities which does not match reality. This increases the need to buy more products and try procedures sometimes unnecessarily to reach these sometimes unobtainable skin goals.”

Electra Azar ’25 says that she has heard about long skincare regimens and how they can be helpful, but also says that, for example, using four products for acne is a bit much.
“I think it’s kind of ridiculous because it’s not good to put that many oils on your face at one time,” Azar said. “I think there should be a good balance.”
A growing trend on Tiktok especially, focuses on the ‘Sephora Ten-year old’, which focuses on increasing youth purchases in the skincare industry. Azar says that she finds it depressing because kids aren’t focusing on what she believes, the right things are.
“Little girls are worried about what they look like at such a young age instead of just being a kid and I find it really sad,” Azar said.
Kristina Suson, a mom of two who both attend South, says that never in her life had she done several steps, now or previously.
“I went through phases where I’d try steps but nothing seemed to make a difference,” Suson said.

Dr. Caretti agrees with Suson’s assertion that skincare has changed very much in comparison to when she was growing up.
“The biggest difference from when I was growing up is the rise of social media influence on adolescents in skincare,” Caretti said. “There was not much of an emphasis on skincare outside of basic cleansing and steps to treat mild acne. While this can be beneficial in that it promotes the importance of starting a daily skincare routine, there is a lot of misinformation and unqualified individuals giving advice on skincare who do not have the medical knowledge to be doing so.”

Caretti says that in order to prevent misinformation and focus on what types of products and needs your skin has, students should read articles that are available from the American Academy of Dermatology website. But when it comes to her ideal starting point for teenagers and their skincare, she believes it’s easier to put together than it looks.

“Building a healthy skin care routine for a teenager is really quite simple,” Caretti said. “It includes cleansing the skin at least once but often twice per day with a gentle cleanser, moisturizing the skin up to twice per day depending on how dry their skin feels, and applying a daily SPF product in the morning. Also, if starting a new routine, it is best to gradually incorporate one product at a time so if there is a sensitivity it can be identified more easily.”

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