Aussie mum reveals truth in teen skincare debate after common item banned in Sweden

It's in every Australian pharmacy but skincare experts warn it should be banned for certain age groups.

Belinda wearing glasses (left) and with her daughters (right).
Mum Belinda Kurtz says parents should educate their children on appropriate skincare from an early age. Photo: Supplied

A leading Swedish Pharmacy chain has banned teens from purchasing anti-ageing skincare products following a spike in sales driven by social media influencers. Should Australia consider a similar move? The experts weigh in on whether this is the right step.

Aussie mum Belinda Kurtz, whose two pre-teen daughters already have skincare routines, has revealed that some products can be beneficial — particularly sunscreen — so parental education is vital to make sure youngsters are well-informed.

With 390 pharmacies across Sweden, Apotek Hjärtat has prohibited the sale of advanced skin care products containing HA acid, BHA acid, vitamin A, vitamin C and enzyme peeling to those under 15 years of age. The decision comes in response to the rising popularity of these products in teens throughout Europe and the potentially damaging impacts on young skin if used on a regular basis.

“Using advanced skincare that, for example, aims to reduce wrinkles and get a more even skin tone is not something a child needs,” Annika Svedberg, chief pharmacist at Apotek Hjärtat, said of the decision.

“In cases where a child has a skin disease, for example, atopic eczema, certain products can also contribute to worsening or reactivating symptoms.”

Only those with a skin condition or parental consent will be allowed to purchase the products.

Young woman applies skincream.
Swedish chemist Apotek Hjärtat are moving to protect children under 15 from using potentially damaging skin care products. Photo: Getty

Australian skincare expert dermatologist and founder of Ragan Skin Isabella Loneragan said a similar ban should be considered in Australia.

“Australian regulations do need to be reassessed because the reality is that Aussie kids – like elsewhere in the world – are highly influenced by social media trends, which come from global sources,” she told Yahoo Lifestyle.

“Children aren’t necessarily able to decipher the dangers of products. They generally want ‘what’s hot’ but these products can actually be very damaging to their skin and, moreover, potentially damaging to their mental and emotional health too.”


Products that contain active ingredients such as retinol, lactic acid, vitamin A, AHA, and BHA acids on young hormonal skin can impact the skin's barrier function. This can lead to various uncomfortable and, sometimes, painful skin conditions, including rosacea, psoriasis, eczema and acne.

Isabella Loneragan sitting on chair in studio.
Founder of Ragan Skin Isabella Loneragan says she wouldn't recommend that teens use skincare with harsh ingredients. Photo: Supplied

“Not too unlike vapes, we need to make it harder for kids to access products that are dangerous to them, with an explanation as to why, because even teens may not be mature enough to identify such dangers,” she said.

“I wouldn’t condone anyone under the age of about 20 using anything more than a cleanser and moisturiser under sunscreen.”

Belinda Kurtz, an Australian mum of two pre-teen daughters, agrees that some products should be banned but stresses the importance of parental education. Her daughters, aged 12 and 14, have been following a skincare routine since they were six and eight years old as part of their overall body care.

“Parents who have a limited understanding of skincare will tell their pre-teens that they can't use skincare products at all because they believe ALL skincare products will cause damage, which is just so far from the truth,” she told Yahoo Lifestyle.

“It breaks my heart when I hear of young people not being able to implement basic skin hygiene because of a lot of misinformation and scaremongering that's out there about a small collection of specific products.


“Of course, young skin does not need the strong active ingredients that adults do, so there needs to be more education about what products ARE suitable, including the importance of using a sunscreen every day.”

Kurtz, who often speaks about this topic on her TikTok page, said her daughters use a cleanser, light moisturiser and sunscreen every day. She also allows her daughters to try the viral products they see on social media, but only after researching the ingredients for hydrating and mild, non-active options.

"They've tried many viral TikTok products from Drunk Elephant and Glow Recipe with my permission and only after careful ingredient research," she said. "Often, after using a sample, they find the products either don't feel right on their skin or are too heavy."

She said her approach of talking through the different product options not only educates her daughters on safe skincare practices but also allows them to understand what products work best for their skin.

“I encourage them by having suitable products available to them in their bathrooms but also indulging their curiosity whenever they come to me requesting the latest viral product,” she said.

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