What a cosmetic doctor wants parents to know about the tween skincare craze.

If you're a parent or someone who likes skincare, chances are you've witnessed the explosion of tween beauty. It's everywhere you look. In the stores, on social media and (probably) right inside your bathroom, thanks to your very own skincare-obsessed tweens.

Aged-13 and younger, tweens are the youngest generation after Gen Z. And in recent times, it seems they have acquired a taste for high-end beauty — particularly in the skincare realm. Brands like Drunk Elephant, Summer Fridays and Glow Recipe have exploded in popularity, filling birthday wishlists and pocket money-fuelled beauty baskets around the world.

The craze is so big, it was labelled as an "epidemic", with TikTok showing crowds of tweens 'taking over' some of the world's biggest beauty retailers like Sephora and Mecca.

Watch: Here are 7 ways to improve your skin while sleeping! Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

Because in 2024, tween skincare is thriving. And we're seeing more and more skincare brands than ever starting to release products for 'tween' skin.

But does a pre-teen skin even need a routine?

Below, we asked Dr Yalda Jamali from Epios Cosmetic Clinics absolutely everything we need to know — including which products she recommends and what should be avoided at all costs...

When should your kids start using skincare? 

According to Dr Jamali, from six months old, babies can start to use sunscreen. "This is the only skincare product I would say is an absolute must for children."


"UV damage in childhood and adolescence is strongly associated with increased skin cancer risk later on in life. Apart from sunscreen a gentle wash and lotion/moisturiser is enough for children."

What should a tween skincare routine look like?

One word: Simple.

Dr Jamali said, "You could be VERY minimal with skincare in children. This could look something like, wash the face with water and then apply sunscreen. If you wanted a skincare routine, then I would wash, moisturiser and sunscreen in the morning and then wash and moisturise in the evening." 

"I usually recommend the brand Cetaphil for children and teenagers with no specific skin concerns."

What kind of products should tweens use for acne?

If your child is suffering with acne, Dr Jamali says your first port of call should be to see your GP — not make a trip to Sephora or Mecca. 

"A lot of teenagers suffer with acne, and we want to avoid skin scarring and getting help early on can be very crucial. There are prescriptive topical creams and oral medical that can be started and may be more suited to the child over complicated skincare."

"When it comes to skincare advice for acne prone teenage skin, the La Roche-Posay Effaclar range, Dermal Therapy acne range and Avene Cleanance range are common ranges I recommend."

The best part? Not only are all these ranges recommended by experts, but they're also fairly affordable too in comparison to some of the 'viral' brands you'll see popping up on TikTok.

"All of these ranges aim to reduce oil production but the active ingredients are not excessively harsh and less likely to irritate the skin barrier." Big tick.


Dr Jamali also reminded that it's super important that acne-prone teenagers do not over cleanse and exfoliate or pick at their acne. Also look for a zinc-based sunscreen.

"I find that teenagers with acne are less likely to use sunscreen as it can often congest their skin or make them look more oily. I usually recommend a zinc-based mineral sunscreen which can also reduce inflammation."

What age should you start using actives?

While the world of skincare is exciting, colourful and all over social media, Dr Jamali highly recommends tweens avoid using harsh actives at this age. This means no crazy exfoliants (like AHAs and BHAs) or retinoids. Put down the retinoids.

"Our collagen production only reduces from our mid-20s. Until then enjoy your beautiful young plump skin and save yourself some money! Plus using excessive skincare when you have no skin concerns can aggravate or irritate your skin unnecessarily. Some of these ingredients (AHA, BHAs and retinoids) can also make you more photosensitive so UV protection can become unnecessarily harder."

Meaning? These actives only put your skin more at risk to the harmful effects of sun damage.

"If your child has no skincare concerns, I would stay away from ALL active ingredients. This includes AHAs, BHAs, vitamin C, retinoids etc. Children do not need these active ingredients and can cause irritation, weakening of their moisture barrier and aggravate pathological skin conditions such as eczema."

Read: This will only make young skin worse.

So, what about less-hectic ingredients like hyaluronic acid? 

According to Jamali, hyaluronic acid is a fairly gentle ingredient to use "but depending on the formula, the hyaluronic acid molecules could be too large for them to have any benefit on the skin."


"I sometimes find that hyaluronic acid could end up drying the skin. Benzoyl peroxide has been using since the 1960s for the use of treating acne. Often doctors will recommend this for those suffering with acne, it can also be a great 'spot' treatment." 

What kind of skincare brands would you recommend for tweens? 

One thing you'll notice is that most of the viral trending brands your tweens probably wants to buy have products that often include actives like retinoids and acids. Instead, Dr Jamali recommends sticking to GENTLE products from these brands: Cetaphil, CeraVe, Avene, Dermal Therapy and La Roche-Posay

"Cancer Council also has an excellent range of sunscreens and New Day Skin has great large bottles of mineral sunscreen for an affordable price."

And if your tween or teen is getting scarring from their acne, it's time to see a dermatologist

"Acne scarring is permanent and avoiding them is the best approach. There is also currently a new laser device called Aviclear which is for acne skin specifically — without medication or a complicated skincare routine."

"It is a very exciting new technology that has changed the game. If parents are worried about taking their kids to the doctors because they don't want them to start on medication, this is a great new device."

Tell us, what skincare products does your tween use? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.

Feature image: Canva.

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