How TikTok Killed the Preteen Era

In a now-viral TikTok video, former Sephora employee Rianna Smith recounted the time a nine-year-old walked into her store looking for Babyfacial, a chemical exfoliant from the high-end brand Drunk Elephant marketed to minimize “the look of pores, fine lines, and wrinkles.”

Smith asked the child whether she had used a chemical exfoliant in the past, to which the child responded that she uses the Ordinary Peeling Solution, an anti-aging acid peel, “daily.” According to Smith, this wasn’t a unique experience, revealing that while working at Sephora she encountered “15-year-olds… com[ing] in with chemical burns” caused by harsh skincare products. . .

Anti-aging retinoids and chemical exfoliants for children sound utterly absurd on their face, but dermatologists are having to step in and clarify the obvious for one reason: influencers.

More chronically online than even Gen Z, Gen Alpha, or the iPad generation, is uniquely susceptible to social media consumerism. Twenty-year-old influencers with beauty brand deals go TikTok and Instagram viral showing off their skincare routines and OOTDs (outfit of the day), causing their impressionable preteen followers to act, look, and shop like young adults.

In one TikTok, a mother recorded her daughters showing her what’s on their “Christmas wish list” at Sephora, which included luxury fragrances and a $68 Drunk Elephant moisturizer.

@nishanoelleandfam They’ve been thinking about this for a while! @sephora #fyp #kidsbelike #kidssaythedarnestthings #preppy #sephora ♬ original sound – Nishanoelleandfam

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