'Sephora Baby' trend: Teens, tweens buying expensive, powerful skincare a growing concern health professionals

The "Sephora Baby" trend, where teens and "tweens" as young as 10 years old are purchasing expensive and powerful skincare, has become a phenomenon taking over shopping malls nationwide. 

But while trendy skincare lines like Drunk Elephant or Glow Recipe may be on your kids' wish list, dermatologists and skincare professionals are warning parents about buying these brands' products for their young children.

"Most of these products have ingredients in there that are anti-aging," said makeup artist Alicia Anderson in a TikTok that has amassed 1.6 million views on TikTok.

"I have people coming into my workplace asking for samples of the retinol…that are literally under 10 years old."

While many of these skincare brands are marketed toward teens, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Anna Guanche says the active ingredients in some of these brand's products can compromise children's skin barrier.

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"Most of your UV damage actually happens before age 15," said Guanche. Using skincare with active ingredients can exfoliate the skin, making it more likely to sunburn, and ultimately more susceptible to skin cancer, she said.

Comprehensive skincare routines, typically ones that involve cleansers, toners, serums, moisturizers and more, have risen in popularity among young children and tweens in recent months. Many post videos of their regimens on social media, sharing their favorite brands and products with their followers.

But according to board-certified dermatologist and teen skincare expert Dr. Brooke Jeffy, these routines are often more complex, and more expensive, than they need to be.

"Do you see a lot of 11-year-olds with puffy eyes?" said Dr. Jeffy in a TikTok video that has amassed 1.8 million views. 

"Kids using highly active products can experience chemical burns and premature acne," said Jeffy in another TikTok. "Not trying to hate, but it is so important for tweens and teens to be informed to make smart decisions for their skin."

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According to Dr. Guanche, the best skincare routine for your teens and tweens consists of a gentle cleanser, moisturizer and a sunscreen of 30 spf or higher. Guanche said that brands like CeraVe and Cetaphil are great, inexpensive options for young children looking to use effective skincare.

For many skincare experts, the "Sephora Baby" trend is surprising.

"We don't have formal studies on the long-term effects of these ingredients used on young skin," said Guanche, "Because for the longest time, we really had to encourage teenagers to even just wash their face."

But for Guanche, this trend could be an encouraging opportunity for young people to take an interest in their skin, as long as it's done right.

"If young people can form these habits early on with good, gentle products, and when they need something stronger, they're ready to transition into that," said Guanche.