Does my tween need a skincare routine? A dermatologist weighs in.

We're seeing more and more skincare brands launching products for tween skin. It's no surprise - there are options for all skin types and concerns, so eventually the movement was bound to reach a younger market.

But do pre-teens really need a skincare routine? And if they do, what products should they be using?

In the most recent episode of Mamamia's beauty podcast, You Beauty, Sharon Hunt spoke to dermatologist Dr Eleni Yiasemides to learn all about tween skin and what products are safe for use. Here's what she had to say.

Before we get into it, here are seven ways to improve your skin while sleeping. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

What changes should you expect to see in tween skin?

Before considering a skincare routine for your tween, you need to first look for signs of puberty that suggest they're ready for one.

As Dr Yiasemides explained on the You Beauty episode, there are three main skin concerns she sees in tweens: acne, eczema and unwanted facial and body hair.

Often the first of those three to appear is acne; it's something you'll notice in tween girls earlier on. So, if your daughter is under 10 and already experiencing a few bumps, don't panic.

"It's very normal for an eight or nine-year-old to come in and see me and already show some signs of puberty," Dr Yiasemides said.

This acne will generally look like small bumps on the skin and will appear on the t-zone area - the forehead, nose and chin area.

"This is because this is where all the oil glands are concentrated," Dr Yiasemides said. 

"But you can also get these spots appearing on the cheeks, the jawline, chest and back area."

While you may want to help them address this with skincare, Dr Yiasemides explained that tween skin is still sensitive, infant skin, so you need to be gentle.


"It's really important that when you're treating the skin, you're looking after that delicate balance," she said.

How do you approach the topic of skincare with your tween?

If the world of beauty excites your tween, a conversation about introducing a skincare routine might be an easy one. But if they're not, here's how Dr Yiasemides suggests approaching the topic. 

"I use the analogy that it's like brushing your teeth," she said. 

"You do it without thinking because you're so used to doing it. And at the start, skincare might seem like a bit of a chore, but once you're in the swing of it, it's quicker and less messy than brushing your teeth."

It's also about getting them involved in the process, Dr Yiasemides explained. So, when purchasing their skincare products, allow them to help choose what goes on their face.

"They've got to like the products they're using," she added.

The ideal skincare routine for your tween.

Here's the ideal morning and evening skincare routine for your tween, according to Dr Yiasemides. And just so you're reassured, it's very easy and fuss-free. 

"The first thing is that the skincare routine [has to be] pretty basic," she said. "It doesn't need to be complicated or include multiple steps." 

"In the morning, I ask my tweens to do one thing and one thing only: to get into the habit of putting on a cream that contains SPF," Dr Yiasemides said.

"There are lots of day creams with SPF and sunscreens. As long as it's labelled SPF, slap it on the face in the morning. That's all you need to do."

"In the evening, I recommend a gentle cleanser to wash the dirt off the face. Nothing too harsh, nothing with too many astringents or chemicals, and just an oil-free moisturiser," she said.

"That's it. It makes a lifetime of difference. And the younger you start, the better it is," she added.

Listen to the full episode of You Beauty here. Post continues after audio.

Here are the best types of sunscreen, cleanser and moisturiser to purchase for your tween.

The best sunscreen for tween skin.

Dr Yiasemides explained that the best sunscreens that provide both UVA and UVB coverage are ones that have a combination of physical and chemical ingredients. 

For pubescent skin, you want one that's labelled oil-free or non-comedogenic. 


"You don't want to be slapping something on your face that's greasy or going to break you out more than you need to," she said.

The best cleanser for tween skin.

For cleansers, choose something that's gentle on their young skin. 

"You don't want to use anything harsh or abrasive," she said. "I don't recommend any scrubs or physical exfoliants at this age."

"You want a cleanser that will clean the face without leaving it stripped or feeling dry or tight," she added.

So, find one that's labelled gentle or soap-free and has a creamy consistency as opposed to foam or gel.

The best moisturiser for tween skin.

Lastly, similar to the morning SPF, pick a night moisturiser that's oil-free or non-comedogenic and pretty bland so it doesn't clog the pores.

"These are things you can get from your pharmacy or supermarket. You don't need expensive or complicated cleansers or moisturisers at this age," she added.

How to tackle tween acne.

The main skin concern in tweens is acne. There are two ways you can treat it: you can either see a specialist or purchase an over-the-counter product.

"It's never too early or too late to see a specialist," Dr Yiasemides explained. "The sooner we get onto it, the less drama, the less risk of scarring, the less ongoing psychological damage."

"That may involve a prescription treatment that a doctor, GP or dermatologist provides you, or to begin with, purchase a product from the pharmacy or supermarket that include key ingredients to help the spots."

These are the ingredients to look out for: alpha-hydroxy acids - things like glycolic acid and lactic acid, beta-hydroxy acids - salicylic acid, vitamin B3 and benzoyl poroxide. 

Apply a product including one of these ingredients all over the face after cleansing and before moisturising.

What products tweens should stay away from.

And lastly, here's what skincare your tween should really stay away from.

"In general, I don't advise this age group to experiment with scrubs, masks and other treatments because they can have ingredients that create a lot of problems on the skin," Dr Yiasemides said.

"Experiment with makeup and other things which are less likely to irritate or cause problems."

Feature image: Getty/Canva/Mamamia.

Do you love beauty? Complete this survey to go in the running to win a $50 gift voucher.