Why Are Children Obsessed With Anti-Ageing Products?


Inspired by influencers on social media, especially TikTok, it appears that children are adopting strict anti-ageing skincare regimes. It’s predominantly young girls. Gen Z, teenagers, pre-teens and even children as young as eight, according to the British Association for Dermatologists.

Parents are being badgered to buy high priced 'preventative' products to enable them to emulate the skincare rituals of the celebrities and influencers whom they follow. North West, the high profile, ten year old daughter of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West recently shared her own skincare regime on Tik Tok.

Why should we be worried?

Concerns have been raised about how this ‘influencer driven trend’ might be harming children’s self-esteem, fuelling the obsession with appearance and damaging young skin with products designed for older people and then the financial pressures placed on parents anxious to fulfil their children’s wishes.

At Cosy Cottage, we are concerned about the safety of these adult oriented products for children. Cosmetic safety legislation demands that products are carefully assessed, by qualified persons and signed off for use before being released onto the market.

Calculations underlying the assessments assume average weights and skin surface areas to calculate safe absorption limits. For adult products being used by children, the average weights and surface areas are out of line. Children will be presented with significantly higher exposure to the products and ingredients than has been assumed within the safety certifications.

Some ingredients used in anti-ageing products could be inherently damaging to the immature skin and the smaller, less developed bodies of children. Testing of ingredients for efficacy and safety in the context of ‘anti-ageing’ will be, by implication for adults. Testing on children and young skin will have been limited. Hence concerns regarding the use of adult products by children are magnified.

Common ingredients in anti-ageing products and our concerns for immature skin

Hyaluronic acid -

There have been questions raised around this popular anti-ageing ingredient associated with dehydration of the lowest layers of the skin, from which water is drawn to the skin’s surface. Other questions have been raised around the association between hyaluronic acid and the skin’s inflammatory response. Some commentators have suggested that excessive use of synthetic hyaluronic acid at the skin’s surface leads to irritation and dermatitis.

Retinol - 

This ingredient is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) and can cause redness and sensitivity in immature skins (as can other acids). Moreover, for retinoids and retinol, questions exist regarding the impact on bone development, which is of particular concern for children, whose bones are still developing and growing.

Parabens preservatives -

Many anti-ageing products are based on water. Water presents a fertile breeding ground for microbes and hence to counteract the risk of rancidity, strong preservatives are added. There are longstanding concerns about the disruptive impact of parabens preservatives on the endocrine system and this is of particular concern for developing endocrine systems in children.

Fragrances -

Thousands of chemicals have been approved for use in perfumes, whose confidential formulations do not require disclosure on ingredients labels. They can be denoted collectively as ‘perfum or fragrance’. Those which are unsafe for children, within products whose user base are assumed to be older, will not be visible to users of the products.  

Safe and natural alternatives for young skin

Cosy Cottage customers frequently ask us for help in identifying natural, reasonably priced skincare products from within our range which would provide a natural, safe and cost effective introduction to skincare for young people. All of our products are made with natural ingredients, free from parabens and sulphates and they can be an excellent introduction for young people who want to start their own skincare regimes.

Shop our full facial range here.

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