A simple guide

minimums guide to skincare for young people

Here at Minimum, we’re all too aware of the recent rise in skincare trends and routines, specifically targeting young people on social media. It’s very concerning – particularly for parents – as we’re seeing many reactive skins photos (red rashes and irritations) caused by children unknowingly using products that are unsuitable for their young skin.

We also care about the mental wellbeing of these young people. It’s not lost on any of us that their feelings around wanting to “fit in” with the crowd, with the latest trends and content, are very real. We may not be a fan of promotional content targeted at under 16s, but we do respect that anyone – at any age – wanting to genuinely take care of their own skin should be encouraged to, as long as they are doing so safely. And preferably, they’re able to do so affordably.

So here is our simple guide of what to consider when choosing skincare products for people under the age of 16.

Skincare DO’s, for young skin: 

  1. Clean the skin using a very gentle cleansing product. 
  2. After cleansing, moisturise the skin using a gentle cream or oil based moisturiser. Fragrance free is the best choice, as fragrance compounds and essential oils can irritate sensitive skin. 
  3. Apply a 50+ SPF, ideally every day. SPF is the very best way for young people to protect their skin, and start the best kind of simple, dedicated routine that they’ll be grateful for later in life. 

That’s it. Young skin has everything else it needs. 

Skincare DON’Ts, for under 16s: 

  • Don’t use serums
    Serums are formulated for older mature skin, so may cause severe reactions when used on young skin.

  • Don’t use exfoliants or scrubs
    Physical exfoliants and scrubs are not suitable for young skin - they are too harsh and can cause irritation.

  • Don’t use any product containing acids
    Products containing acids are NOT to be used by anyone under 16, these are often marketed as ‘glow’ products.

Avoid the following, popular ingredients that are only suitable for use on mature skin:

  • Avoid Retinol (retinol, retinal, retinoids, bakuchiol)
    Anti-aging and in no way suitable for young skin.

  • Avoid Vitamin C (ascorbic acid, ascorbyl glucoside, THD ascorbate, 3-o ethyl ascorbic acid)
    Although vitamin C can have positive nutritional value – when vitamin C is used in skincare products, it is specifically formulated for adult skin. It is often used in high concentrations that will irritate young skin. 

  • Avoid exfoliating acids, AHA’s, BHA’s, PHA’s (glycolic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid, malic acid, gluconolactone)
    These acids should always be avoided, as they will irritate young skin and may cause damage. 

Please know that this list is not exhaustive – and skin is very different from person to person.

But when it comes to young skin, less is always more.
No matter what TikTok says.

Love and respect,
Dr Emma Rozgowska

Dr Emma Rozgaowska


Recent news coverage

Growing skincare use by children is dangerous, say dermatologists

BBC News
27 Jan 2024

‘It’s disturbing’: the rise in UK children wanting anti-ageing products

The Guardian
25 Jan 2024

Concerns raised over effects of popular skin care products on children and teens

NBC Chicago
15 Dec 2023

Parents warned skin care products targeting kids online could actually be damaging

CBS News
1 Feb 2024