Erin Myers-Albaridi of New Beauty Wellness Shares Skin Smarts for Every Age

Skincare trends on social media have seemingly taken over the internet and it’s become virtually impossible to scroll through TikTok, YouTube or Instagram without being bombarded with tutorials about elaborate routines promising to make your face glow and radiate youth. And, while wanting to be in the know about the latest and greatest in cosmetics is nothing new, there has been a huge shift in the audience purchasing these products. Stores like Sephora and Ulta Beauty, who once saw middle-aged women as their biggest buyers, now have aisles filled with teens and tweens in search of high-end skincare products. The influence from these social media platforms is very real and children as young as nine or ten are putting things like $60 eye creams and skincare refrigerators on their wish lists.

Aside from the exorbitant cost, product safety is another major factor for parents to consider when deciding whether or not to allow their teens to indulge in this fad.

With a lot of misinformation floating around out there, it can be difficult for even the most discerning of us to understand every ingredient and ensure that buying these products isn’t coming at a cost higher than just our pockets. We sat down with Erin Myers-Albaridi, clinical director, PA-C at New Beauty Wellness (NBW), which recently opened its newest location on Elm Street in New Canaan. Myers-Albaridi helped give us a better understanding of what we should be focused on for optimal skin health by age.

What are your thoughts about this skincare craze that so many teenagers are attracted to?

I am seeing more and more children (and adults for that matter) come into the office with skin conditions, rashes and acne outbreaks made worse by over-the-counter products and cosmeceutical lines. Marketing is very powerful and the consumer gets sucked into the trends without really understanding what they are using.

It’s important to stress, though, that it’s an overall positive that children have a desire to take care of their skin. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S. Presently about one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime and, although skin cancers form later in life, dermatologists know that most of these are caused from excessive sun exposure between the ages of three to 20 years of age.

What products are the most concerning to you that are being misused? What negative impacts could they have on these young teens?

I would have parents look for and avoid ingredients like vitamin E (tocopherol) as they frequently stimulate acne and can make existing acne worse.

What products, if any, are truly appropriate for those under 15?

Cleanser, sunscreen and moisturizer. For oily skin, I like Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cleanser. For dry skin, cream- or lotion-based products like CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser work well. And for sensitive skin, Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser is soap free and works well. For acne-prone skin, I’d recommend trying a cleanser with an ingredient like salicylic acid, glycolic acid or benzoyl peroxide. If your tween has sensitive skin and is acne prone, avoid these until consulting a dermatologist or dermatological PA/NP as they may be too harsh. Our tweens are listening to the importance of sun protection and many are using it regularly and far earlier than previous generations. Look for ingredients like titanium and zinc in SPF lotion; these completely block the UV rays. Increase the percentage to a 50 if outside and reapply every three hours if in the sun directly.

What happens when too many products are being used at once or overused?

Outbreaks of acne, rosacea, contact dermatitis, retinoid dermatitis (retinol overuse) and overly dehydrated sensitive skin are just a few of the conditions I see when products are used incorrectly.

Are there any brands that are just not designed for teens? 

Any product recommended for mature skin should be avoided by teens. Many AHA/BHA products (glycolic acid, salicylic acid) and retinols will increase the risk of sunburn and irritation. Make sure your teens are using a moisturizer and a sunscreen daily if using these products.

Are there any brands that have product lines that tend to be cleaner/lighter/more appropriate?  

Cetaphil, Neutrogena and Avène all have gentle products. For acne-prone skin, Differin (adapalene) makes a good over-the-counter product and you only need to use a pea-sized amount for the entire face. It can be drying and irritating, so start three times a week and use a moisturizer either before or after application if your teen is sensitive.

LASER ADVICE

“Recent research and development in regenerative skincare has been advancing by the year. Please make sure you go to someone who understands laser technology in-depth. It is a mistake to follow TikTok trends as many companies are paying consumers and offices to market their machines. It doesn’t mean their device is superior to the competition. Some of the best lasers on the market are those that came out decades ago. Understanding the science is most important and, unfortunately, we are seeing more and more medical spas push devices when they don’t even understand the physics behind the lasers they run. It’s the musician, not the instrument, that creates results. We have to keep skin type in mind as we run these powerful machines.”
—MYERS-ALBARIDI

NBW SKINCARE PRODUCT PICKS BY AGE:

Critical thinking when deciding how to spend money is important when it comes to all things.

For Tweens/Teens

Recommended
cleanser, moisturizer and SPF

Also consider glycolic acid, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide wash or retinol for acne-prone skin (make sure to consult a dermatologic provider if the teen’s skin is sensitive or resistant to over-the-counter products).

Product pick:
ENVIRON FOCUS CARE YOUTH+
Toner with a high concentration of glycolic acid; promotes the natural acid mantle of the skin and encourages exfoliation.


For 20-30s

Recommended
cleanser, moisturizer, SPF, retinol and products that help reduce free radical damage to the skin (vitamin C, peptides, alastin, exosomes) Also consider microneedling (with or without radiofrequency) to help with pore size and light resurfacing lasers such as Clear + Brilliant.

Product Pick:
ISDIN PHOTO
Ultralight tinted, fast-absorbing emulsion that helps fight signs of photoaging.


For 40-60s

Recommended
cleanser, moisturizer, SPF, retinol, antioxidants, peptides Also consider Alastin’s Restorative Skin Complex (promotes collagen and elastin to thicken the skin and helps with elasticity), Skin Better’s AlphaRet Pads with a blend of patented retinol, lactic acid, glycolic acid and salicyclic acid. Consider adding deeper resurfacing lasers, deeper RF microneedling treatments, as well as ultrasound technology for tightening and resurfacing deeper wrinkles.

Product Picks:

ALPHARET EXFOLIATING PEEL PADS
Triple-acid formula with retinoid exfoliates skin, leaving it smooth and bright.

ISDIN
Repair cream for the eye area that helps target fine lines and wrinkles; stimulates the skin’s antioxidant defenses and provides a detox action for a revitalized look.

ALASTIN
Helps combat signs of aging, brightening the complexion and lifting the skin for a more youthful glow.

Photographs: Venera Alexandrova

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