Menu Menu

Swedish retailer bans children from buying anti-ageing skincare

In a bid to protect young people from being influenced by beauty trends online, a popular pharmacy in Sweden has decided to ban under 16s from purchasing anti-ageing skincare products.

While the societal pressure to be perfect has never been more intense, no natural human process has been vilified in recent times quite like ageing.

Across the internet, beauty gurus and unqualified content creators are constantly sharing endless (and often contradictory) advice on how to ensure our appearance indicates having taken a big, long gulp from the fountain of eternal youth.

Despite this content typically aimed at older demographics, the reality is that social media algorithms don’t discriminate and digital audiences are now younger and more impressionable than ever.

With 1 in 4 TikTok users below the age of 20, anti-ageing tips and tricks have flooded the social media timelines of those yet to even reach their teens. Market research reflects this, with a whopping 49 percent of the skincare industry’s growth now attributed to purchases made by kids between the ages of 8-12.

Hoping to stifle the skincare chaos, one popular Swedish pharmacy has decided to bar people 15 years or younger from purchasing anti-ageing beauty products. When shopping at Apotek, young people will no longer be able to purchase formulas that contain AHAs, BHAs, vitamin A (retinoids) and vitamin C without parental permission or a confirmation of a relevant skin condition.

While some may view a buyers’ age limit as overkill, it’s ultimately for a good cause.

Dermatologists have warned against the use of most anti-ageing ingredients on young skin, even though they have been proven as beneficial for older age groups dealing with hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and acne scarring.

The ‘start early’ approach to anti-ageing doesn’t apply to age-reversing formulas, as children’s skin barriers are far more sensitive to active ingredients such as retinol and exfoliating acids, which are often included in advanced skincare products.

In fact, applying these prematurely will likely have the opposite of the desired effect on young skin, including accelerating sensitivities and causing damage to the overall skin barrier.

It’s clear that a lack of knowledge and factual information in online spaces has led children and tweens to start incorporating ingredients into their beauty regimes that are too harsh – and at times damaging – for their skin.

This, unfortunately, is further fuelled by online narratives that encourage trying to avoid the ageing process at all costs.

It should be mentioned that most beauty influencers don’t intend to sway young audiences into using products inappropriate for their skin types.

Unfortunately, the viral nature of beauty content on platforms like TikTok ropes impressionable young people into spending unnecessarily on skincare that they will reap no benefit from.

Even though the ‘Sephora Tweens’ phenomenon will likely live on, it’s great to see pharmacies opting out of selling harsh chemicals to kids who are less discerning about the products they think they ‘need’.

Hopefully, it’ll take the pressure off young people and lead to more awareness when it comes to age-appropriate beauty routines.