A staggering 95% of young Aussies feel self-conscious and almost half of young Aussies feel depressed because of their skin. A quarter are being bullied because of their skin, with one in four admitting to being scarred for life because of hurtful comments they have received about their skin.
Experts are calling on Australians to focus on healing their skin from the inside out and to find happiness within their own skin.
New research reveals kids may feel insecure about their appearance from as young as five years old, with a quarter (26%) of Generation Z admitting they first felt self-conscious about their skin before hitting their teenage years.
The research also reveals close to two-thirds (61%) of young Aussies (18-24 years old) claim social media
influences how they feel about their skin, and half (50%) of parents feel social media sets unrealistic beauty standards for their children.
To empower their kids to feel confident in their skin at all ages, skin wellness expert and founder of SkinB5, Judy Cheung-Wood, is encouraging parents to start conversations about acne and skincare early.
“It’s shocking but not surprising to hear kids are feeling self-conscious at such a young age. Hormones and oily skin impact everyone differently – we see parents whose children are in primary school, already struggling with acne and self-confidence,” Ms Cheung-Wood said.
“I remember that feeling of hating my skin when I was younger and it truly impacts your confidence and self-worth –now, as a parent, it is awful to think of my little one going through that.
More than a third (36%) of Generation Z claimed their first skincare routine was influenced by social media, with platforms like Instagram and TikTok home to millions of skincare advertisements, tips and hacks.
“Part of our job as parents is preparing our kids with the information, skills and habits they need to live healthy and happy lives – teaching them good skin habits is an essential part of this. It is never too early to start putting good behaviours into place,” she said.
These same platforms are helping to fuel unrealistic standards of beauty, with 40% of Aussies under 35 years-old admitting they have used a filter or edited images of themselves.
“Social media is filled with misinformation about skincare and acne and fake, filtered images that don’t reflect what someone truly looks like, these can be really damaging to a child’s self-worth and what they perceive as a normal beauty standard,” Ms Cheung-Wood added.
Although social media is a huge source of information, Ms Cheung-Wood urged parents to avoid the social media giants and seek expert advice for their children when they are not sure of the answers themselves.
“The key is for children to understand acne is a common problem, not something to be ashamed of, and there are effective and safe ways to manage, minimise and prevent it,” Ms Cheung-Wood said.
“As a parent myself, I can understand that you don’t always have all the answers, but we have a responsibility to ensure our children are getting useful and safe information – it is amazing how much we can get from the internet, but the advice we find is not always helpful.
“Your local doctor, dermatologist or even pharmacist can help you identify what type of acne it is and what is the best method of treatment,” she said.
To help children to take care of their skin from a young age, experts urge parents to start conversations about acne and skincare early.