How to Prevent Teens' 'Cosmeticorexia': Limit Technology Use and Work on Their Self-Esteem | Experts | Moms & Dads

Scientific evidence supports that adolescents and young adults should not have free access to social networks. This statement is supported by various studies like Development sensitivity to social networks WindowsReleased in 2022 natural communication, or title Association of habitual control behaviors in social networks with longitudinal functional brain development, Published in 2023 by the American Psychological Association. Both investigations indicate that exposure to these sites can alter both the emotional well-being and neurodevelopment of minors between the ages of 12 and 18.

But these are not the only reasons to restrict access to networks. To these we can add their ability to see the influence of adolescents, for example, other recently transitioned adolescents Influencers. This is one of the consequences of the appearance of 15- or 18-year-old girls (but also 10- and 12-year-olds) on TikTok recommending cosmetics, creams and makeup to a 10-year-old audience.

This situation has created a new mental disorder in adolescent girls: Cosmeticorexia. This means that excessive use of cosmetics and facial care products can often harm such young skin. „It is surprising to observe in the consultation the number of adolescents who have introduced a large number of products into their daily makeup routine,” says Elia Ro, dermatologist and member of the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. As he explains, the wrong use of these products is that adolescents usually do not consult a dermatologist, but rather are guided by social networks and use cosmetics for adult skin. „The result is that they come to consultation because of irritant dermatitis caused by products with a high concentration of active ingredients such as retinol or alpha hydroxy acids, or because of excessively comedogenic cosmetics and makeup. [que producen exceso de grasa] It makes their acne worse,” she explains.

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“Using anti-aging creams and serums with these types of ingredients can lead to the development of skin pathologies (dermatitis, skin irritation or even sun intolerance) in the skin of a young person over 13 years of age. All that is needed is good cleansing, hydration and always including sunscreen by age 14,” says Pilar Pérez Rivas, director of the Master's Degree in Cosmetic Formulation and Dermopharmacy at the International University of La Rioja (UNIR). „However,” Perez continues, „in recent years we have seen a significant increase in these cases of women who are totally addicted to makeup and cosmetics, and this is due to recommendations. Influencers”.

These are the effects of dermatitis. But there are also when it comes to emotional well-being. „Placing the essence of happiness in aesthetics is already a very serious educational error. But, if you add to it an unnecessary and increased need to use things that are beautiful and desired by others, it starts to be a problem,” says child and family psychologist Mara Cuadrado. This condition worsens as they change Influencers. „Many girls and adolescents, when they have a significant number of followers in their network, find themselves trapped in a virtual world where they lose not only their childhood, but also their control,” she adds. Cuadrado explains that this is the moment when anxiety problems start: „Other additional problems like possible eating disorders or truancy problems are also created because they make their videos before any other academic or family activities.”

The use of certain creams and serums can cause skin effects on young skin.FatCamera (Getty Images)

On the other hand, being people in the process of development, they are more vulnerable to getting into the eyes. „When they open up their networks every day, they are affected by these releases and these coils It features images of perfect women, and they believe they must transmit that perfection. That becomes a problem,” says Perez. This university professor adds that we should be especially careful with minors with low self-esteem: „as well as girls who are a certain addict to technology, who want to be popular at all costs or who dream of perfect skin and perfect hair.” .

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In any case, according to Cuadrado, we must distinguish the behavior of rehearsing in adult guises (little girls who occasionally pick up their mother's nail polish) from those of minors who are addicted to cosmetics and beauty products. : They have to show. Along with them, they must influence their followers or friends; And, sometimes, they can't go out or go to school without their daily beauty routine.

Prevention, in the hands of parents

Limiting their use of technology, encouraging them to have a good self-image, preventing them from liking people from the soon-to-be-adult world, teaching them about image safety and teaching them alternatives to technology during leisure time are some of the weapons parents say to try to avoid, according to Cuadrado. Cosmeticorexia. „Though they can't help but be more concerned with their appearance when puberty hits, especially when problems with acne or oily hair start,” emphasizes this psychologist. „It's when they're looking for solutions that they obsess over these kinds of projects that sometimes promise the unattainable,” he continues. „That's why it's so important to remind them that not everything you see online is true,” suggests Perez.

Cuadrado explains that the best way to help these young women is to talk to them about the need to respond to this obsession: “Behind this excess is usually isolation, women spend a lot of time alone in a room, without adults interacting with them. „. These minors also often feel insecurity, uncontrollable desires to influence others or to be admired, recognized and accepted, the psychologist adds. This expert recommends fathers and mothers to look for a psychologist who will help their daughters like themselves and not need followers, have a good sense of humor, intelligence or family. And can also help foster social relationships: “And, of course, go. A dermatologist will help them with skin problems, not a beautician.

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