Here's What Skincare Teens and Tweens Should Actually Be Using, According to a Dermatologist

With talk of 10-year-olds taking over Sephoras around the country, we spoke to a dermatologist about what skin care products young girls actually need in their beauty routine.

By Alexa Vazquez Feb 08, 2024 4:45 PMTags
Shop - Teen/Tween Skincare - Hero ImageE! Illustration/ Courtesy of Getty Images

We independently selected these products because we love them, and we think you might like them at these prices. E! has affiliate relationships, so we may get a commission if you purchase something through our links. Items are sold by the retailer, not E!. Prices are accurate as of publish time.

If you're into beauty, you've likely been hearing all about the 10 years taking over Sephora, particularly their obsession with Drunk Elephant skincare. I decided to head to my local Sephora to conduct a little research. Lo and behold, the store was filled with groups of teens and tweens ogling the displays. They weren't rowdy or being rude to employees as some social media posts suggest, but the experience did get me thinking, "What products should teens and tweens actually be using?" To find out, I spoke with dermatologist Dr. Sheila Farhang to find out exactly that.

Why are teens and tweens so obsessed with skincare?

Like most trends, Dr. Farhang attributes the skincare obsession to social media. She specifically mentions TikTok, which she says has a "younger viewership on social media in general" and where skin care routines are a popular topic.

She also says, "tweens just want something to have as their own," just like millennials had Bath and Body Works or Limited Too. Essentially, the drugstore St. Ives face scrubs and Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit cleansers from my day have evolved into pricey Drunk Elephant and Laneige products.

Overall, she says she's definitely seen an uptick in the number of patients between the ages of nine and twelve looking to her for guidance, but Dr. Farhang doesn't think an interest in skincare at a young age is a bad thing. Instead, she stresses that teens, tweens, and their parents need some education on the subject.

What skincare ingredients should teens and tweens avoid?

If like me you're shocked that this young demographic is using harsh chemicals on their youthful faces, you're not alone. Dr. Farhang says teens and tweens should avoid "anything that can potentially irritate and disrupt the skin barrier as their skin is very delicate and hasn't produced a lot of the sebum to tolerate these products."

She specifically mentions ingredients like retinol, beta hydroxy acid such as salicylic acid, alpha hydroxy acid such as lactic acid and glycolic acid, and peptides. "I don't think a tween should necessarily be using Drunk Elephant especially if it is formulated with active ingredients."

What products should teens and tweens include in their skincare routine?

"I don't think it's a bad idea to start educating a tween on cleansing their face once or twice a day, applying sunscreen especially if they are out and about all day and moisturizing if their skin feels dry," says Dr. Farhang. That being said, she recommends keeping routines super simple with a cleanser, sunscreen, and a moisturizer.

Some teens and tweens may experience clogged pores, so Dr. Farhang recommends "reaching for something like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide over the counter."

But ultimately, visiting a professional is always best. "I would also suggest taking the tween patient to a dermatologist just to make sure what they're using on their face is appropriate and that there isn't something else going on with their skin," advises Dr. Farhang.

Now that we've done the research, let's talk about which skincare products teens and tweens should actually be using, according to a dermatologist. Read on to shop the list.

Expert Pick: CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser

Dr. Farhang recommends this gentle cleanser, which removes dirt and oil without stripping young, sensitive skin. Made with hydrating hyaluronic acid and barrier-strengthening ceramides, it has 89,130+ 5-star ratings on Amazon.


Expert Pick: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Lightweight Hydrating Facial Gel Cleanser

Dr. Farhang says this gel cleanser is another good option since it gently cleanses while also keeping skin hydrated. It has 19,500+ 5-star ratings on Amazon.

PanOxyl Antimicrobial Hydrating Acne Creamy Wash

For those with clogged pores or blemishes, Dr. Farhang suggests using products with benzoyl peroxide, like this face wash. One reviewer wrote, "My teen loves this face wash. Her Dermatologist recommended it for her severe acne. I can definitely see a difference so far."

Bubble Slam Dunk Hydrating Moisturizer

A popular brand among Gen Z and Gen Alpha, this moisturizer from Bubble is a great option since it doesn't contain any harsh actives. Infused with aloe leaf juice, vitamin E, and avocado oil, it can be used everyday.

CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion for Dry Skin

This beloved moisturizer with over 90,000 5-star Amazon ratings is packed with hyaluronic acid and ceramides to keep skin hydrated. One reviewer raved, "My teen daughters love this lotion and it's the only one they like to use. They have sensitive skin and this is one of the few that doesn't seem to break out their skin."

The Best French Pharmacy Skincare Products That Are the Crème de la Crème

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Face Moisturizer

This gel moisturizer absorbs quickly into the skin while delivering instant hydration without clogging pores. Plus, it has 66,900+ 5-star ratings on Amazon.

E.L.F. Suntouchable! Invisible Sunscreen SPF 35

Not only is this sunscreen affordable, it also has a velvety smooth finish with blurring effects. It's lightweight, non-greasy, and delivers SPF 35.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen

This sunscreen has SPF 70 making it perfect for those who spend a lot of time outdoors. It's non-greasy and fast absorbing, not to mention it feels super lightweight on the skin.

Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40

This sunscreen delivers sun protection without a white cast. It has SPF 40 and hydrating properties for added moisture. It's no wonder it has 11,760+ 5-star ratings on Amazon.

These 15 toner sprays will refresh, revitalize and hydrate your face all day long.