Skincare is topping holiday wish lists for tweens and teens

Topping kids’ wish lists and driving sales this holiday season is something that you might not expect to see wrapped under the Christmas tree for young people, but for parents of tweens and teens, it will come as no surprise that pricey skincare products are in big demand.

Toronto mother Carolina Rzeznikiewiz has a seven-year-old son and 10-year-old and 13-year-old daughters. Factoring high on the girls’ list are “skincare and cosmetics from Sephora.”

“I’m not talking drugstore stuff. I’m talking expensive fancy cosmetics that they want to get their hands on for some reason,” she said.

Rzeznikiewiz refused to purchase the items for the girls herself, but they have received plenty of the products from friends and family on other special occasions.

Eldest daughter Liv showed a pile of products, including name brands Laneige and Dior, which she said she treasures.

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“They are watching TikTok. They’re consuming that as their main sort of source of media, the same way we used to read Seventeen Magazine. … So they are absolutely fascinated by what they watch, by the make-up tutorials,”  Rzeznikiewiz said.

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Her daughters aren’t the only ones.

“Kids are going online and they’re seeing what other people are doing and wearing and buying, and they are being influenced by influencers to buy certain products and so kids are starting at a younger age,” said Dr. Cheryl Rosen, head of dermatology at Toronto Western Hospital.

Rosen said there is only one thing kids should be applying to their skin and that is sunscreen.

“It’s exposure to the sun that leads to changes in the skin that lead to wrinkles, … so the main thing that they should be using is a sunscreen as their moisturizer even,” she said.

Rosen said there is no physical harm in wearing makeup or using certain skincare products but there may be damage to a child’s self-esteem.

“It’s harming the way you view yourself compared to the rest of the world. One of the things that worries me the most is the filters on social media where you can change your appearance and change how you look, change the shape of your face. I find that very worrying,” she said.

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Parents are being cautioned to choose products that are age-appropriate and gentle for younger skin and to encourage teenagers to start good skincare routines that will carry into adulthood.

“Cleanser, toner and then your basic moisturizer, and that kind of routine will start to show you what things you need,” said Toronto-based professional makeup artist Cherie Snow.

Rather than the expensive items and fancy stores, Snow said parents and kids should visit their local pharmacy.

“The best place to go is the consumer brand, because you have so many options. They’re so affordable and you don’t have to get caught up into all these expensive products,” she said.

Snow did point out that there are brands that are expanding their lines to cater to the new generation of skin-care enthusiasts.

While Rzeznikiewiz will not be buying in, she does talk openly, candidly and often with her girls about today’s beauty standards and what is appropriate for kids their ages.

“We talk about this very filter driven culture where absolutely everything they watch, or at least most of it, has been filtered by A.I. The faces we’re watching on social media are not real faces. And that is a conversation that we have with the girls all the time,” she said.

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