Experts Weigh In On Children’s Fixation With Anti-Aging And Skin Care 

The children and young tweens of generation Z are becoming obsessed with their skin care routines, and anti-aging, despite being so young. Generation Alpha, which includes children as young as 10-years-old, are buying expensive skin care products that contain ingredients that could actually damage their skin in the future due to the fact that they simply don’t need anti-aging and other ingredients on their skin. 

The Guardian recently interviewed multiple experts on this concerning trend of children being obsessed with their self-image, specifically regarding their views on aging. 

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We have seen an increase in teenage girls using skincare … prematurely using anti-ageing products and increasingly valuing beauty and looking young. Access to social media will be a big influence here. TikTok, in particular, has millions of videos dedicated to this topic and we are starting to see the younger generations of influencers coming through: it’s now the children of the Kardashian family sharing skincare routines online,” said Josie O’Brien, health and beauty consumer insights director at consumer analysts Kantar.

“Kantar data tells us that teens are specifically using social media for skincare and makeup recommendations. So they have access to that information, whether it is appropriate or not.

Another factor is the in-store experience. The ability to try samples, products that stand out on the shelf, and nice smells are big deciding factors for young people when choosing skincare. Brands such as Drunk Elephant and Sol de Janeiro are viral among this demographic at the minute, and if you look at the products you can see why they would appeal to younger people,” O’Brien explained

“Certain aspects of this are positive and other elements less so. The rise in people wearing sunscreen younger is positive and that awareness will hopefully bode well in adulthood,” said Dr Ross Perry, medical director of Cosmedics skin clinics.

“Why are young people more interested in anti-aging products? A big factor is social media. Everything is pointing towards looking as good as we can. There is that pressure now in marketing, and social media massively influences how we perceive ourselves. If people see perfect skin and perfect routines they are more likely to follow them,” said Dr. Perry.

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“Feminine identity is very much positioned in terms of appearance and looking a certain way and the beauty standards culture and societies put upon us. We know girls and women, as well as gender-diverse people, are particularly affected by this. Historically, there is pressure on women to look a certain way as they are objectified in culture. There is a lot of pressure to manipulate and modify their bodies,” said Phillippa Diedrichs, professor of psychology at the University of the West of England.

“As a result, we see a high rate of self-objectification among women and increasingly young girls. They have internalized this societal pressure and see their bodies as objects to be modified. They spend a lot of time focused on their appearance. That gets distilled down to girls being silly and vain or trivial, but there is a cultural pressure to do it, and they see people who conform to these standards. They are often held up as the most rewarded in society.

Cosmetic procedures are also more accessible financially and in terms of who offers them. For example, Botox is now advertised at the dentist,” Diedrichs stated. 

“Unlike smoking or drinking, skincare is seen as an innocent way of playing with being older. It is not as obvious as makeup. I think brands encourage it, and like the fact it has become a luxury accessory and there are a lot of myths being peddled. People are told they must do certain things to keep their skin healthy and that exposure is good for brands sometimes,” explained Dr Emma Wedgeworth of the British Cosmetic Dermatology Group.

“It’s reflective of our obsession with aging as a society. We are supposed to as a society evolve and become more enlightened but we are failing in terms of how we value older people and maturity.”