Kids & Skincare – What’s Appropriate at What Age?

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Skin is the largest organ of the human body and acts as the barrier between our bodies and the environment. Taking good care of our skin not only feels good, but is a matter of good health. If you, as an adult, don’t clean and care for your skin, it will most certainly show signs of distress. When we are children, our skin is more resilient, and it’s the perfect time to start forming good skincare habits.

So, what should kids be doing to care for their skin, and at what age? This is a question we hear often so we’ve developed some guidelines for kids and skincare.

A skincare timeline:

Age 2-5 

Every child is different, but generally, kids at this age are walking on their own, developing language skills at an accelerated pace, learning how to put on their own clothes, brush their teeth, and wash their bodies.

This is a good age to start teaching your child the importance of washing their hands and face. Kids at this age will sometimes object to water on their face so if your child objects, a soft washcloth is a good way to start.

Try making a fun game out of the activity to make it more enjoyable. You could ask your child to copy you as you wash your face, or use the washcloth as a way to play hide and seek as they wash their face.

Using a gentle wash such as Clear Baby Hair and Body Wash is fine for all over washing at this age followed by a gentle, lightweight lotion such as the Basic Baby Lotion.

Age 6-9 

Kids at this age are in school and more independent. Parents are no longer their only influence and they are starting to realize they can make their own decisions.

This is a perfect age range to start reinforcing good skincare habits. Habits they internalize at this age will likely carry over into their adult lives so consistency is key to making sure skincare is a lifelong habit.

This is also a good age to introduce facial skincare routines. Start simple with face washing using a gentle facial cleanser such as Gentle Milk Facial Cleanser or Clarifying Facial Cleanser.

Follow with a gentle toner to balance skin pH such as Calming Facial Toner or Lavender and Chamomile Facial Toner. Then follow with a lightweight lotion such as Basic Baby Lotion.

Age 10-13

Tweens! This is both a fun and challenging age for parents and kids, alike. Kids are much more independent at this age and are also starting to feel more peer pressure.

They are learning there are consequences both good and bad depending on the choices they make. They are exploring more activities and developing at a rapid rate.

This is also the age when bodies begin their march into puberty. With a changing body, skin changes as well.

Good diet and good skincare at this age will help ensure healthy skin into the teen years. Kids at this age really love things that are specifically for them.

In this vein, Essential developed the Lingonberry Collection for teens and tweens.

Age 14-20

At this age and beyond, skincare is supremely important.

Teens often develop chaotic skin so a good diet and good skincare routine are paramount to keep skin looking its best.We recommend starting a night time and morning skincare routine.

At night, use Clarifying Facial Cleanser to help gently clean all dirt, make-up and residue from the day off the face.

This is also a good age to start using exfoliants on both face and skin but be sure to only use facial exfoliants on the face. Try using Clarifying Facial Exfoliant 1-3 nights per week. Exfoliants help remove dead skin cells and using them at night is most beneficial.

Follow with a Moisturizing Toner to return skin to its normal pH. And finally, finish with Soothing Lotion to make sure skin is both hydrated and nourished.

In the morning, use a gentle facial cleanser such as Gentle Milk Facial Cleanser, follow with  Moisturizing Toner  and  Soothing Lotion.

 

Teaching kids good skincare habits will benefit them long after the lessons are over. Everyone wants beautiful skin and starting good skincare early in life will give your kids the best opportunity to have a lifetime of beautiful skin.

At what age did you start developing your skincare routine? Tell us in the comments!

 

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Adrianna
3 years ago

This is a great guide! My son is 7 and currently doesn’t have a skincare routine other than his nightly shower. Recently I’ve decided to start taking care of my skin properly. Was wondering what your thoughts are on what types of face masks are safe for kids.

Simran Patnaik
3 years ago

I started my skin care @ the age of 14. I followed simple CTM routine. Now im 16 y/o girl. I cleanse, exfoliate,mask,tone,use a serum, eye cream, moisturizer & follow up with rosehip oil. Works really well. My skin is quite healthy and there’s hardly any breakouts. Like once in 2 3 months only

Shaia
1 year ago
Reply to  Simran Patnaik

have you considered replacing your moisturizer with rosehip oil? I did that and my routine was much simpler because I wasn’t putting a moisturizer and rosehip oil.

Isabelle
3 years ago

I have already started wearing my grandma’s skincare face wash on my face. It’s not only for adults but for tweens like me too! I’m 10 going on 11. I’m in the stage of puberty right now. I want my face to feel comfortable with what I want to do to it to keep it healthy! I wash my face every day. And I often sometimes put on my face masks, as I’m typing this I have my face mask on! If you do NOT want wrinkles as you become an older adult I would definitely recommend you to wash your face and top neck every day! You should start washing your face whenever you start puberty or whenever you or your face feel comfortable with it! All just my advice!

Xyza
3 years ago
Reply to  Isabelle

Do you buy the face mask or just natural homemade ? Im also a Tweens

Lola
3 years ago
Reply to  Xyza

I don’t think it matters. currently, i have a lush face mask but im sure if you mashed up some avocados or made a face mask yourself you would be fine. And im 13

2 years ago

Should tween boys use face masks?

Admin
2 years ago
Reply to  AJ Gillespie

Hi AJ, sure! The typical issues is convincing them to actually do it, but barring that our estheticians recommend a nice cleansing mask that is Clay-based (with Bentonite or Kaolin Clay, for example). We have many clay-based masks in our catalog (usually those in powder form), and you might consider ordering a sample of the Charcoal Clarifying Facial Mask: https://www.essentialwholesale.com/product/1063/charcoal-clarifying-powder-facial-masque

Andrea
2 years ago

Hi! What skincare routine would you suggest for a 13 yr old girl? I have a lot of pimple marks on my forehead, and I always get pimples every month…

2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea

Hi Andrea,

Our Lingonberry Collection is a great start. If you’d liek something more focused on just the face, I would recommend the Clarifying Facial Cleanser.

Cheers,

2 years ago

Can an 11 year old use micellar water?

Admin
2 years ago
Reply to  Zyane

Hello! Yes, micellar water is safe for an 11 year old to use though as with many skin care products perhaps a patch test to ensure that particular person’s skin works well with micellar water.

[…] is said that at the age of 6-9 years old, introducing a simple skin care habit, such as using gentle skincare products, to get kids started in learning how to appreciate the […]

Lia
2 years ago

Hi, I’m currently almost 11 and I was asking if the face products you recommended for tweens were safe, I’m trying to convince my parents that my skin is literally growing pimples almost, so I’m just asking so I can show them that I need any skincare product I can use that’s safe for the skin. Thanks!

Admin
2 years ago
Reply to  Lia

Hi Lia, thanks for your question! Yes, we firmly believe the skincare products we recommend (and make) are safe. Not only must all skincare products be legally safe, but we strive to use only the best ingredients that are appropriate for all skin types. As people around your age usually notice, a good cleanser can be an important part of a skincare routine. You just want to find one that leaves your face feeling clean but not really “tight” afterwards. We use our products on our own kids, and even have a line of products developed for babies–after all babies have plenty of skin issues! I hope that helps!

Sobi
2 years ago

Hi iam a 16 year old boy and i start to think i should start my skin care routine.. i have decided these following products cleanser,vitamin c secrum,Moisturizer ,spf and AHA. My question how can i use them in morning and evening routine….remember we cannot use vitamin c and AHA together

Admin
2 years ago
Reply to  Sobi

Hi there! Here is info from one of our formulators: Skincare is most effective at night, so that’s where I would spend the most time. I don’t think that at age 16 AHA’s are necessary. Your skin is already refreshing itself at a good speed so I’m not sure a chemical exfoliant is the best choice. You could add a gentle physical exfoliant such as the Clarifying Facial Exfoliant. If you really want to add AHA’s to your routine, I would use the AHA Facial Toner after cleansing. It will help bring your skin back to its normal pH so that you get the full benefit of your Vitamin C Serum and moisturizer.
As far as the routine goes, here’s what I recommend:
Nighttime
Cleanse – For age 16, I recommend the Clarifying Facial Cleanser , and 2-3 time per week, after cleansing, use an exfoliant such as the Clarifying Facial Exfoliant. If you enjoy facial masques, you could also use a masque before moving on to the next step.
Tone – Choose a toner that will help with any issues you are experiencing, I would recommend starting with Chaotic Skin Facial Astringent or if you have sensitive skin, the Calming Facial Toner
Hydrate – This is where you use a serum to help draw moisture to the skin and to deliver actives. Vitamin C Serum is a good choice
Moisturize – Use a lotion or crème to help seal in the moisture. Alternatively, you could use a facial oil.

Daytime
No need to cleanse when you wake, a washcloth or splash of water over your face is sufficient and will help prevent your skin from becoming too dry from over cleansing.
While your face is still damp, use your toner and follow with serum and a moisturizer that includes SPF.

Sarah
1 year ago

Can I use moisturizer? I am 11 and use face masks but after I do the face masks usually my skin gets a bit dry after, so I tend to use moisturizer. And its not like I get pimples its just told to me very often that if I use too much product at my age I will ruin my skin.

Admin
1 year ago
Reply to  Sarah

Hi Sarah! Here is what one of our formulators, Teeneke, has to say:

Moisturizers are certainly ok to use. The key to skincare is to use products appropriate for your age and skin. Stick to products with simple ingredients, it’s ok to even use just straight oil, especially at night.

I would avoid products for mature skin and avoid facial masques that are meant as a “peel”. At 11 years old your skin is turning over pretty rapidly so there is no need for any ingredients that expedite that process like alpha hydroxy acids. Also avoid ingredients like retinol, these are a little too active for your age.

Katrina Murray
1 year ago

Is it safe to use a face mask on my toddler? She watches me use mine and she really wants to do it too.

Admin
1 year ago
Reply to  Katrina Murray

Hi Katrina,
I asked our formulator, Teeneka, and she says, “I probably wouldn’t use an actual face mask on a toddler, however, you could make a pretend mask with arrowroot powder. Simply hydrate the arrowroot powder with water and apply like you would your own mask.”

Give that a try and let us know how she reacts 🙂 I bet that would be worth a video.

Warmest,
Brandon

Ngozi
1 year ago

What do you recommend for a new born?

Admin
1 year ago
Reply to  Ngozi

Hi Ngozi,

According to our formulator, Newborn skin is well….new…. and sits at a pH closer to neutral. After about 2 -3 weeks, the pH starts to change to 4.5 -5.5. Keeping this in mind, I would not use anything very far from plain water on a newborn. If you must use a soap or cleanser, use one especially formulated for newborns or use a “tear free” wash. Tear free is generally at a neutral pH and usually formulated to be as mild as possible.

Hope this helps!

Warmest Regards,
Brandon

Shay
1 year ago

Are store bought facial masks good for a 6 year olds skin?
Garnier or the 7th Haven peel off masks?

Admin
1 year ago
Reply to  Shay

Hi Shay,

I asked one of our formulators about this and she wouldn’t recommend using store-bought face masks on kids. If you are trying to create a mask just for them to play with and “be like mom” then you could just mix Tapioca starch and Arrowroot powder with water.

Let me know if you have any more questions.

Best,
Brandon

Jennifer
1 year ago

Hi what would be the best face cleanser to use for my 9 yr old daughter to start using?

Admin
1 year ago
Reply to  Jennifer

Hi Jennifer! Start simple using a gentle facial cleanser such as Gentle Milk Facial Cleanser or Clarifying Facial Cleanser.

Shaia
1 year ago

Is it ok for 10 year olds to use a face mask? I ordered one from luv your skin which is a brand for tweens. also, is it necessary for me to use a toner?

Admin
1 year ago
Reply to  Shaia

The key to skincare is to use products appropriate for your age and skin. Stick to products with simple ingredients, it’s ok to even use just straight oil, especially at night.

I would avoid products for mature skin and avoid facial masques that are meant as a “peel”. At 10 years old your skin is turning over pretty rapidly so there is no need for any ingredients that expedite that process like alpha hydroxy acids. Also avoid ingredients like retinol, these are a little too active for age 10. Our estheticians recommend a nice cleansing mask that is Clay-based (with Bentonite or Kaolin Clay, for example). We have many clay-based masks in our catalog (usually those in powder form), and you might consider ordering a sample of the Charcoal Clarifying Facial Mask: https://www.essentialwholesale.com/product/1063/charcoal-clarifying-powder-facial-mask

Toners help balance your skin’s pH after using a cleanser. I’d recommend our Calming Facial Toner or Lavender and Chamomile Facial Toner to use at your age.

4 months ago

Can I use a facial serum at 11 years old

Admin
4 months ago
Reply to  Dita

Hi Dita!

You definitely can, but you may not need to.

If you do use serums then you’ll want to avoid serums that were designed for very specific applications. These usually have high concentrations of ingredients. Certain ingredients can actually do more harm than good if you aren’t using them correctly.

At your age you can get away with using a gentle cleanser and moisturizer. And the best thing you should do is make sure to wear SPF on your skin every day to help prevent damage from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Thanks for the great question!

Warmest regards,
-Brandon

Kirsten
2 months ago

Hello! Is it alright to start using a vitamin C serum at the age of 14, as well as start exfoliating? Or is it too young?

Admin
2 months ago
Reply to  Kirsten

Hi Kirsten!

At 14 you are fine to be using vitamin C serum. It is good for your skin, just be sure to use sunscreen, as vitamin C can increase the effect that UV rays have on your skin.

Exfoliation is also fine, but I would limit it to once or twice a week. Be gentle with your exfoliation and avoid chemical exfoliators.

The most important thing is that you are paying attention to your skin care and building healthy habits that will keep your skin healthy and looking nice as you age 🙂

Cheers!
-Brandon

Avleen
2 months ago

Hi I am 9 yrs old an i though this vitam c facial clenser was my face wash because i use one since i have acne but it makes my skin feel itchy, any tips pls

Admin
2 months ago
Reply to  Avleen

Hi Avleen!

Itchy skin probably means your skin is too dry. Make sure you are moisturizing in the morning and evening. It should be the last step of your skincare routine.

Also, if you are using Vitamin C on your face then it is really important that you wear sunscreen during the day. Vitamin C can increase the effects of UV rays on your skin.

Cheers!
-Brandon

Mahi G
1 month ago

Hi …. I had a quick question and it would really mean a lot if you could answer it …. So basically in the morning my skincare routine is cleanser face mist then moisturise and sunscreen but I also like to workout for around 45 mins then shower however I was wondering if I should of skincare pre shower / workout or post as I need to do post as my skin will be dirty however in the morning I need my skin to be moisturised otherwise I feel not that good and also I don’t know if moisturiser then shower is bad I am 12 yes old by the way thank you so much !

Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  Mahi G

Hi Mahi!

Thank you for your comment 🙂

If you are working out in the sun then you should use sunscreen before your workout. After your post-workout shower, be sure to apply moisturizer and sunscreen to your face.

Basically, any time you wash your face you want to moisturize afterwards. Any time you’re going to be outside you want to make sure you have sunscreen on.

Cheers!
-Brandon

Sam
1 month ago

Hello! I’m 11 almost 12 and my skincare routine right now is just normal baby soap and my sisters Sephora dry skin moisturizer, is that okay for my skin? I haven’t had acne yet I just get rashes when my skin is too dry, I’m also thinking about using the Ordinary serums? Do you think that would be good for me or would that be too much for my skin?

Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  Sam

Hi Sam!

Good job on building healthy skincare habits early in life 🙂 You’re already on the right track.

I can’t speak about acne or specific brands of skincare, but it sounds like you have a good routine.

Make sure you are using sunscreen on your face in the morning to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays, and moisturize every morning and evening.

Cheers!
-Brandon