Analyzing Teen Skincare

2 min read

Where skincare was in my teens, early 2000

Have you recently noticed how quickly skincare brands can startup and how promising their results are today. I remember when there was basically 2 types of skincare

  1. dermatology strength skincare or
  2. your drugstore brands 

I've always had reactive/allergic skin and barely went to the dermatologist as a young adult. I was terribly afraid of the differen gel "red face" that many of my friends had in highschool, so I was definitely the drugstore skincare teen. 

I understand today how the instagram skincare society is probably on par to my own drugstore choices, to self study and experiment. But what concerns me, is if I'd spent the time to go to the dermatologist or if we had the dedicated dermatologists we have today, my skin might have been better.

What we know today

We have a lot more clean beauty today then I had in my teens and more choice can be better than just whatever the the big name brands pump out. But with the amount of choice also comes decision fatigue and a trend to put every new formulation on our face immediately. This is frightening to me and my reactive skin today.

The face has demonstrated to be the most common site of skin sensitivity... due to the larger and multiple number of products used on the face, a thinner barrier in facial skin, and a greater density of nerve endings[1]

If there is one thing I would change is: AWARENESS

  • about the ingredients in the skincare
  • about my own sensitive/reactive/allergic skin triggers.


Sensitive/Reactive skin can have 2 main triggers:

  1. the environment in which it’s exposed, and 
  2. the ingredients in skincare and cosmetics

What concerns us most is the prolonged use of trendy products with these ingredient triggers and the resultant contact allergies.  

What if we had the knowledge we have now when were teens?

Sensitive skin is considered genetic, but reactive skin just might be preventable. The key just may be in the younger generation. At least regarding what products and ingredients they begin applying to their skin and face as young adults.

By introducing clean ingredients and educating teens and young adults on the possibilities of reactive skin, we may be able to save someone from a life of uncomfortable reactions or extensive research into products. If we can help them become aware and inform them, we'll be providing them with the tools and information needed to make their own decision.  

By teaching them and guiding them in the direction of ingredient knowledge, they'll have the ability to be proactive in the prevention of reactive skin!

Source [1]

Part 2

Why, In My 30’s, I Care About Teen Skin

Acids are a popular skin treatment in current skin trends. We have some new types such as Lactic Acid, Azelaic acid, and Ferulic acid. Then there are some of the OG types as well, like Glycolic acid and Salicylic acid. How many of you use acids on a daily or even weekly basis? And how long have you been using them?

I’ve been familiar with salicylic acid since my teens. I’ve had dramatic skin since a child but most of it was allergic, sensitive and rashy. Then, in my teens, is when I really started to see the excess oil production and rough texture develop on my skin. My solution: salicylic acid obsessively, with no care to my reactive skin whatsoever and under the guidance of a dermatologist. I can’t really remember if it helped because my face was either red or sensitive with rough patches on my forehead and nose consistently. I also had no idea what I was doing because I used everything from cleansers to treatments all with salicylic acid in it.

Teens and young adults are where we believe the idea of skincare starts to take root and especially with those teens that have dramatic skin like me. Stress, environment, hormones are just a few triggers to changing skin and as the impulsive teen I was, you think using a certain ingredient in every step of your routine will eradicate it.

cosm research skincare

 For you or any teens in your life:

  • The most important teen skin product is your cleanser (link)
    • COSMRESEARCH cleansers include no soap, no preservatives, and no fragrances.
  • 50% cure rate for people who take Accutane (aka Isotretinoin, a naturally occurring derivative of vitamin A) (American Osteopathic College of Dermatology)
    • Accutane, taken by mouth, has been discontinued in 2009
    • Retin-A, aka tretinoin, a topical derivative of vitamin A, is still available
  • The 2 main ingredients for most teen skincare are Salicylic acid (BHA) or Benzoyl peroxide
    • Salicylic acid is registered as OTC-drug with the FDA, and formulations containing salicylic acid + facilities must be registered with the FDA and operate under cGMP
    • 2% is the recommended amount of salicylic acid in topical acne treatments
    • Benzoyl peroxide is a topical antiseptic and used in concentrations of 2-10% and has bleaching + sensitivity effects (link)

Acids and acne type treatments are still a popular method for teens and adults alike. As careful as teens should be with their young temperamental skin, I think this research is just as important to adults who are currently using similar formulas to fight aging.

What concerns us, and what I would’ve advised my younger self, is to take a breather on the overuse of soap and acids and peroxide and whatever else miracle ingredient exists all at once. We also believe mixing soap with any other powerful ingredients is a risky game to play.

We are dedicated to creating options for teens and adults. Creating formulations for any reactive skin type and especially if you do embark on stronger treatments. 

You can follow us on instagram or pinterest @cosmresearch


cosm research skincare