The teen beauty face-off

On International Women’s Day, bodycare product maker Dove launched a social media campaign—#TheFaceofTen—aiming to reintroduce the simple joys of stickers, glitter and paint on the faces of 10-year-olds and teens who might already be preoccupied with concerns about their appearance.

Appearance anxiety is real, but does that mean teenagers should be using Vitamin C, retinol (over-the-counter product) and retinoid (prescription drug) and deep dive into 10-step nighttime skincare routines? Pop culture phenomena such as Barbie (about the one with flawless skin), K-wave (Korean wave of cosmetics) and beauty influencers may have had a role in convincing teens to make skincare their priority.

According to the Meta GWI Beauty Report 2023, one in three surveyed beauty consumers made purchases through Instagram Reels made by beauty influencers. Skin experts, however, feel that influencers are typically in their 20s and create content for their age group and above, not for teens. Plus, some of these products may fix skin issues, but the ingredients could have a telling effect on their hormones, period and reproductive health in the coming years.

Dr Sanjana Botcha, cosmetic dermatologist at The Wellness Co in Bengaluru, labels the two products as superstars of the skincare world. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that acts as a shield for your skin, brightening and evening out your tone while protecting against sun damage. Retinol, on the other hand, boosts collagen production, leading to firmer, smoother skin.

“I would suggest, after personal consultation, of course, using these products sparingly and on alternate days. Apply Vitamin C in the morning and retinol at night to minimise interaction and potential irritation. Teens should choose gentler formulas and opt for milder formulations like Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate and encapsulated retinol for a gentler approach,” she advises. Every skin is different and therefore advising Vitamin C and retinol treatments is a highly individual process, and one can’t provide a one-size-fits-all answer, she adds.

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