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Swedish pharmacy limits sale of skincare products to minors


Swedish pharmacy limits sale of skincare products to minors
Swedish pharmacy chain Apotek Hjärtat has moved to restrict the sale of selected skincare products to those under 15.

The move comes amid the rise in younger skincare users, with many teens and pre-teens seeking out products they see shared on social media.

The phenomenon, being referred to as “Sephora kids”, has seen children swarming to beauty emporiums globally to shop for a range of skincare products. Anecdotal reports say those as young as 9 and 10 have been seeking out products that may offer more “youthful” or “smooth” skin, often influenced by what they have seen on apps like TikTok.

Experts have raised concern young people are potentially putting their skin at risk by using advanced active ingredients, often used to treat the signs of aging. They say teens and pre-teens should prioritise basic hygiene, rather than skincare routines with unnecessary complexity or sometimes-harsh ingredients designed for more mature skin.

There is also concern about the psychological impact of young people being so focused on the effects of aging.

Apotek Hjärtat said in a statement that in order for people to buy advanced skin care, they must be above 15 years of age, have their parents’ approval or have a skin condition justifying the products’ use.

Advanced skin care, according to the pharmacy, includes AHA acid, BHA acid, vitamin A, vitamin C, enzyme peeling and mechanical peels with physical grains.

The new rule has come into effect at approximately 390 Apotek Hjärtat locations across Sweden.

“We want to be ahead of the curve and take greater responsibility for not being involved in pushing unhealthy behaviors and ideals that have grown up among young people,” said Monika Magnusson, chief executive officer of Apotek Hjärtat and a pharmacist, in a statement.

Annika Svedberg, chief pharmacist at Apotek Hjärtat, explained it is imperitave to have the right skin care for the right person.

“Using advanced skin care that, for example, aims to reduce wrinkles and get a more even skin tone is not something a child needs,” said Svedberg. “In cases where a child has a skin disease, for example atopic eczema, certain products can also contribute to worsening or reactivating symptoms.”

Svedberg said the age limit allows the opportunity for pharmacists to give advice on healthy skin care routines based on needs ­— not ideals.

Consultant Dermatologist Dr Anjali Mahto says teens should stick to a basic skincare regime, prioritising cleanser and sun protection.


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