Why the 'Sephora Kids' trend could cause more harm than good

Toys don't top the wishlist for some children anymore; it's skincare, and the expensive stuff too. 

Videos of children swarming beauty retailers like Sephora and Mecca in search of their favourite brands have gone viral online. It has resulted in the term 'Sephora Kids' being coined, due to their increasing obsession with skincare.

Cosmetic medicine expert Sarah Hart knows the trend all too well.

"I have a 13-year-old daughter and she has more products than I do, which is crazy," Dr Hart told Newshub.

"She and all her friends go to the mall after school, they go to Mecca and try all the products. They know exactly what they want."

Trending brands, like Drunk Elephant, were once aimed at adults willing to pay top dollar for premium skincare - but they seem to be more popular than ever with younger generations.

Dr Hart is worried the skincare obsession will cause more harm than good.

"They just don't need them. Retinol can cause reactions - you can get a retinoid reaction which is redness, irritation, flaking. So, your skin is just going to be worse."

The demand for viral products at Mecca and Sephora is down to the power of social media, said Dr Hart.

"It's TikTok videos where [influencers] do their 'Get Ready with Me', with their 10-step skincare routine. It's crazy. That is what's influencing our children."

Parenting expert Holly Brooker believes it's key to keep an open dialogue with children about the online world.

"It's really important we're having robust conversations about social media use and self-esteem," she said. 

"Boundaries are really good. Sometimes we give our kids a phone and think it's just too hard to rein it in - now, it's just unlimited access. But we don't need to do that." 

And according to Dr Hart, a back-to-basics approach is all that is needed to look after tween skin. 

"Just SPF and a face cloth with water at night, nothing more than that."