This Swedish Pharmacy Won’t Sell Advanced Skin Care to Children Under 15 Years Old


PARIS — Sweden’s Apotek Hjärtat pharmacy chain is taking steps to ban the sale of advanced skin care for the under-15 set.

A swell of tweens, known as “Sephora kids,” have found their way to the skin care aisles, especially in the U.S., thanks largely to the mounting prominence of beauty chatter on social media.

Apotek Hjärtat, the leading Swedish pharmacy chain, 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.

“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, said that as a link in the care chain and a skin care retailer, the pharmacy is concerned about the growing trend of children using or being encouraged to use advanced skin care. She said it’s key 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.”

Under-age use of such products can cause a risk for reinforcing unhealthy skin care routines and ideals, as well.

“It can be difficult for children to appreciate both the effect and potential consequences of advanced skin care products,” said Svedberg. “The age limit gives us the opportunity to give advice on healthy skin care routines based on needs ­— not ideals — to both parents and children.”

The age limit’s rollout has begun at Apotek Hjärtat, which counts approximately 390 pharmacies. It sells online, too.

The pharmacy registers annual sales of around 19 billion kroner, or $1.8 billion. It is part of ICA Gruppen.



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