Teenagers and makeup

Teenage skin is thinner and more permeable by all topical use chemicals. Also, the skin, as the body’s largest organ, is exposed to chemical substances contained in various skin care products on a daily basis. During the day, girls apply around ten different products, from shampoos and hair conditioners, soaps, body lotions, nail polish, to face powder, mascara, lipstick and lip-gloss. Yet, the face is particularly sensitive during puberty.

Sebaceous glands tend to become more active under the influence of hormones. The use of makeup can lead to contact allergies and different types of skin rashes. Eyelid and lip eczema are often directly linked to makeup products and require daily skincare, as well as the exclusion of irritants. Makeup sponges and brushes need to be washed on a regular basis, as they are open to bacteria overgrowth. Also, all types of makeup products need to be carefully and thoroughly removed on a daily basis.

Localized action of cosmetic produts

Daily use of makeup can lead to clogged pores and blemishes even in persons who have not had this problem before. Non-comedogenic and hypo-allergenic product use is advised. Teenagers with acne tend to use a significant amount of primer, foundation, toner or correction fluid. When applied in several layers, these substances additionally clog pores, lead to a more severe form of acne, and sometimes even to diseases such as perioral dermatitis. It is understandable that teenagers are concerned with the appearance of their skin, but they should be using the right cosmetic products as well as dermatological advice or therapy. The products used by persons with oily skin should be water-based and should not contain any oils.

Systemic action of cosmetic products

Systemic action of cosmetic products (their overall effect on the body) is the result of cumulative effect of chemical use. They can be absorbed through the skin, inhaled or ingested (lipstick and lip-gloss). There are numerous studies concerned with the effect of all of these substances on overall wellbeing of both teenagers and adults. Cosmetic products can be linked with the early onset of puberty, different types of carcinoma, menstrual cycle irregularities and even infertility.

Parabens and sodium laureth sulphate attach to estrogen receptors in cells and could, potentially, lead to serious hormonal imbalances.
Phthalates could have an impact on the overall endocrine system, and they can be found in products under the name dibutyl or diethylhexyl.
Formaldehyde is used to prevent bacterial overgrowth in the packaging of shampoos, soaps and makeup. This substance is the most frequent cause of contact dermatitis – eczema, in both children and adults. Formaldehyde is a carcinogen in larger concentrations, and it is present in cosmetic products in tolerable traces.

Unfortunately, studies testing the safety of these chemicals are not longitudinal and do not consider the daily use of several products together and on larger surfaces of the body. Also, many manufacturers are trying to stop using the stated substances altogether.

Skin and body care is part of our daily routines. It should not be neglected, and it is important to help teenagers choose good quality products which have been dermatologically tested, and which contain the fewest skin irritants and harmful substances.