Cosmetics targeted to teenagers: elevating confidence and beauty in young people

Age demographics for beauty products and color cosmetics are typically broken into four categories: teens, young adults, middle-aged adults and mature adults. Individuals in these categories respond differently to products, especially during adolescence, when the skin is undergoing constant change.

teen cosmetics
16 MAY 2024 ALS

Many cosmetics brands have their teen to young adult categories. These categories are typically composed of products that focus on skin conditions that are prevalent in this age group:  anti-acne, anti-shine, and oily skin. Teenagers tend to be attracted to products that can promise to improve the appearance of their skin and they are very brand loyal to products that are proven effective in the improvement of stubborn teenage skin conditions.


Understanding young consumers

Teenagers are using cosmetics products that are designed to reduce the appearance of acne breakouts, but they also look for products that are effective in controlling the amount of sebum present on their skin and reducing the inflammation associated with the presence of inflammatory acne lesions. Additionally, for these young consumers there are additional concerns associated with the appearance of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and the presence of acne scars and acne marks.

Sun protection is also a common product being added to the shopping cart of young consumers. The motivation for this is the prevention and protection of their skin that all consumers seek. Sunscreens may not be as effective in terms of the correction of current skin conditions, but they do serve as a preventative measure to skin damage, which many teenagers are looking for.


Teen versus adult acne

The root cause of acne differs by age. Teens tend to have acne on their face, chest and back and is associated with puberty/hormones and genetics. Adult acne is more common on the face (jawline, mouth, chin) and can be associated with hormonal fluctuations, stress, and medications. Adult acne is more common in women and is usually accompanied by the appearance of inflammation/redness.


More topical ingredients are targeting teen skin

Teenage acne is common and is often caused by several factors, such as hormones and their skin care routine. To help protect and treat young skin, the most common topical ingredients added to teen cosmetics are:

  • Tea Tree
  • Salicylic Acid
  • Alpha Hydroxy Acid
  • Pre and Probiotics
  • Green Tea
  • Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Azelaic Acid
  • Niacinamide
  • Witch Hazel
  • Glycolic Acid
  • Retinol
  • Vitamin B5
  • Aloe
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Licorice
  • Vitamin C
  • Pansy Extract
  • Adapalene
  • Oat
  • Wasabi
  • Chamomile
  • Cucumber
  • Chlorophyll
  • Copper
  • Argan Oil
  • Zinc Pyrithione
  • Clindamycin (prescription brands)
  • Tretinoin (prescription brands)


Supplements are targeting teenager’s skin

The intestine and the skin host diverse bacterial, fungal, and viral species that maintain symbiosis with the human microbiome. Disrupting this balance might lead to an impaired barrier function. Instead of only treating the outer layers of the skin, consideration should be given to the role of gut health in the formation of acne. Common Teen-targeted supplements include:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D3
  • Vitamin E
  • Probiotics
  • Chlorella
  • Elderberry
  • Spirulina
  • Beetroot
  • Milk Thistle
  • EPA & DHA
  • Zinc
  • DIM
  • Black Pepper Fruit
  • Copper
  • Aloe
  • Konjac Root
  • Milk Thistle
  • EPA & DHA
  • Zinc
  • DIM
  • Black Pepper Fruit


How is ALS “testing” acne?

Methods for testing teenage acne conducted at ALS laboratories:

Physicians, and physician-trained, clinical graders know the difference between inflammatory (papules and pustules) lesions, noninflammatory lesions (open and closed comedones), and nodules and cysts.

Investigator Global Acne Severity Scoring to determines the severity and quality of life questionnaires assess the improvement in the subjects’ quality of life as a result of using specific treatments.

New methodologies that are more effective for testing on teenage skin.

  • Standard clinical grading coupled with high-resolution photography to document the efficacy of treatments on the appearance of acne lesions.
  • Software capable of enumerating the presence of Porphyrins – a chemical found in bacteria that are associated with the formation of acne.


What do we have to consider when testing on minors?

Minors are considered a vulnerable population and all studies testing on minors must be approved by the regulatory institutions of each country, consenting of the parent, and obtaining assent from the subject is critical. Additional accommodations for conducting studies in the evening, after the completion of school activities, is essential for helping with recruiting and ensuring the parent can accompany their child to all visits.


Get started today

Young people need to share their story of beating breakouts and rediscovering radiant and clear skin. If your brand wants to engage a young audience and start listening to their stories, ALS is your key partner to demonstrate the benefits of your cosmetic products to teenagers eager to try new solutions.

Reach out our experts and get ready to revolutionize the way you evaluate cosmetics products for teenagers and validate claims. Send an inquiry to or call +1 310 214-0043