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When I heard that our friend’s 10 year old daughter had spent all her birthday money on skincare in Space NK, I was quite surprised. Apparently her and her friends regularly go on FaceTime together and do their ‘routines’. It turns out it isn’t just them – the more people I speak to about it, I’ve found that tween skincare is a real trend at the moment. I’ve also been asked for some recommendations recently, so thought I’d write a post.

What is a tween?

A tween is a child who is starting to leave the stages of childhood but not quite at adolescence yet. It is roughly between the ages of 8 and 12 years. I have a 9 year old and we have so many emotions running high in the house!

What does tween skin need?

Tweens are still developing and growing. They haven’t got that baby skin anymore – things are starting to change but they’re not quite at the teen level yet.. Their skin is thinner and produces less oil – the oil production kicks in a bit later – think hormonal teenagers, however puberty comes at different ages and can come quite early for some. The lower oil content means they can be susceptible to more sensitivity as their skin barrier isn’t as developed as an older skin.

Like all ‘older’ skins being different, so are all tween skins. Each one will have their own unique characteristics.

Tweens generally don’t really need much in terms of skincare – their cell turnover is good and their healing power is fast (much quicker than an ageing older skin!). They certainly don’t need actives in their skincare or fancy 8 multi-step routines. They may feel nice for a while but the worry is they start to damage the skin’s barrier which as we’ve said isn’t fully developed, which can lead to congestion, blemishes and sensitivity. They can also become sensitised from using products with too much fragrance for example.

That all said, a simple routine can be great to help support their changing skin. Also getting into the habit of a good ‘hygiene’ routine is for sure a good thing as they start to approach their teenage years.

I think support is a key word, our skin is incredibly clever and will work hard to balance itself. We can definitely upset it at any age by using too much of something or the wrong thing.

I think also its about letting our tweens know that its normal for skin to have blemishes sometimes and that skin doesn’t need to be perfect – and indeed no-ones really is.

A good simple cleanser is a great thing to start with. Use something specifically designed for the delicate face – as opposed to a fragranced body wash, as these can often contain foaming agents as well as fragrance which can strip the skin of moisture. It doesn’t even have to be every day as over cleansing can strip the skin too – every other day can be really effective. Change this up as their skin develops.

Common concerns for tween skin

Commodones – these are those tiny little spots that you can see under the skin’s surface. They can be skin coloured or over areas like the nose they may look more like ‘blackheads’. These are more common in tweens than the bigger pustules as the oil production hasn’t really kicked in yet. I’d say good gentle, regular cleansing rather than anything else just yet. Salycilic acid is something you might start to see being mentioned for decongesting skin – yes it can be really great for blemishes, however I’d recommend saving it for the teenage years (and then be mindful of use) A weekly Manuka honey mask can be really great and fun to do – apply to clean skin for 10-20 mins and then gently remove.

Keratosis Pilaris – this is a really common skin condition that tends to be hereditary. It shows itself as little bumps on the skin – often on the tops of arms and legs but can sometimes be on the face. It can be skin coloured but also red on a lighter skin tone or a dark brown/black on a deeper skin tone. It is harmless but can sometimes be itchy, especially in the winter. It happens when hair follicles become blocked with keratin – the protein found in skin, hair and nails. I’ve always had it, and my daughter has it too – a little bit on her cheeks as well. It comes and goes on its own, we’ve found moisturising helps.

Probably obvious but if your child has an unknown rash – check with you doctor.

Sensitivity – young developing skin does tend to be more sensitive. Avoid perfumes and products with complex ingredient listings – young skins don’t need complicated skincare. Internal allergies can also affect skin.

Seasonal – in the cold weather, like all skins, tween skin can be prone to dryness especially as oil production is not at its highest yet. Balms can be really lovely to apply to areas like the cheeks and lips before they face the elements. In the summer, they might need more cleansing.

What products to use?

At the moment for my daughter we’re using a Milk Wash from MooGoo which is great – it cleanses well (even halloween makeup) but doesn’t strip or sting eyes – the whole family can actually use. We also use (and have done for a while) Weleda’s Baby Derma range. We use the face cream and the body lotion – my daughter tends to go quite red and sensitive in the cold months and using this helps to balance, calm and protect. It is great for conditions like eczema. Yes geared towards babies, but we find they’re still good – I’d use on a sensitive adult skin.

As you can see my daughter hasn’t discovered Space NK yet!! She is quite happy using these – would rather not use anything, but does allow me to do it. As she gets older though, I’m sure she isn’t going to appreciate baby products!

Update – we’ve recently added this into the mix after I was doing some judging. This cream by Green People is really nice – its very lightweight but does help with redness and is good for calming sensitive and acne prone skin. I was impressed by rest of the range too. It again is more teen relevant – they have a great deodorant too but some of it can be used for tween skincare for sure.

I’m not sure how Space NK has become a destination for 10 year olds but it does seem to be. I’ve got mixed thoughts on this – on the one hand, its great the girls have something nice to do together. It is good to develop a good ‘hygiene’ routine. As they enter their teens and hormones start to shift this will really be beneficial. However on the other hand, I do have concerns that a lot of them might be using products that aren’t suitable for their skin.

Updateadding this interesting article in here about 10 year olds and anti-ageing products.

I do get it though, that young girls (and boys) want to be using cool products. There seem to be a lot more products coming onto the market for teen skins which is great, but as we’ve discussed ‘tween’ skin isn’t quite the same.

One brand I’ve found called Spots and Stripes looks quite interesting, they have some great educational pieces on there too. I still feel they’re more teen than tween but maybe more suitable (and slightly cheaper) than Space NK. I might invest in the shampoo to give it a go..

You don’t have to buy tween skincare specific anyway – yes their skin is different but is it all more marketing hype? Looking for products that are geared towards sensitivity with no fragrance can be helpful. The simpler the better.

Another thing to do would be to go back to basics. A simple jojoba oil could be used now and then on a damp skin to gently balance and nourish. It can be great as well to help with decongesting – add it into that manuka honey mask.

A good swap for those individually wrapped masks (which are usually full of fragrance and microplastics) is to whip some up yourselves with treats from the kitchen – perfect for girly nights.

The image to the left is beautiful Drissialemoy (@ Kids London )who I met on a shoot for 5’Eleven” Magazine – photographed by Conor Clarke. She was just about to become a tween. I didn’t do much to her skin at all – I barely do when working with kids. I brushed her brows and used a little Weleda Skinfood on her skin and lips.

I’ve still got some research to do myself – I’m sure the baby products will get rejected at some point!! What are your thoughts – have you found a good tween skincare range yet? Let us know in the comments below!!