Amazing Products for Tween and Teen Skin + Drunk Elephant Dupes

Let’s talk about age-appropriate skincare for adolescents. As a medical esthetician, Cassandra is trained to work on skin, but a lot of parents come in worried about their child’s acne or skin. Yes, kids need skincare, but it's important they don't use actives that are too potent - and that they don't mix too many things together. Of course, a pediatric dermatologist might prescribe a potent active. But, most of the time, teens and tweens shouldn't use much more than a good, non-stripping cleanser, a nice toner that balances, and then a good moisturizer or SPF.

However, there are young people putting retinoids and vitamin Cs on their faces, and this can actually sting and irritate the skin and set the stage for skin damage. You should always take your child to see a board-certified dermatologist, but here are some general tips to help with the skin concerns young people have.

We're also going to make some affordable product suggestions that are dupes for Drunk Elephant since the brand has become increasingly popular with adolescents. Albeit overpriced, it's not that Drunk Elephant is terrible, it's just that the products are very strong and often unsuitable for adolescent skin.

If you see strong actives like retinoids, high potency vitamin C, salicylic acid (BHAs) glycolic, or lactic acids (AHAs), those are great but not for developing skin. Younger skin proliferates faster, meaning the skin cells renew themselves quicker, and we don’t need to speed up that process unless it's advised by a dermatologist. 

So, the best way to determine if an ingredient could work for a teen or tween is whether the skin makes it naturally. For example, the skin naturally produces hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. So, in most cases, it’s fine for adolescents to use HA, niacinamide, and ceramides. These things are made naturally by our skin, and they don’t do a lot of harm whereas things like acids, retinoids, or vitamin C can be a little more of an issue 

Acure Radically Rejuvenating Whipped Night Cream, 1.7 fl oz (50 ml) - $21.99

This is a moisturizer dupe for the  Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream ($68). The Protini moisturizer is not bad, and it's based on peptides, a substance naturally found in the human body. But, Acure’s moisturizer is more affordable and almost identical to this.

The Ordinary 100% Cold Pressed Virgin Marula Oil - $11.40

This is an identical Dupe to  The Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Face OIl, but it's in a recyclable bottle, and it's even from the same manufacturer. Marula oil can be okay for teens to use, but perhaps it should only be used on the skin and nails. On developing skin, marula oil can cause too much oiliness and likewise breakouts.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum - $40

Drunk Elephant has a  B hydra hydration serum, and the key ingredient is vitamin B. Niacinamide is a vitamin B, which again, is made naturally for the skin. These are great for the skin, and this is a solid choice from Drunk Elephant. But, First Aid has a vitamin B serum that is much cheaper. It’s not an exact dupe, but the formula has some of the exact same vitamins and ingredients.  

Bubble Cloud Surf Water Cream Moisturizer - $16 

The Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Moisturizer is the one all of the teens love, but Bubble has a much cheaper dupe. 

Cassandra loves this Bubble Dupe because it supports the skin barrier, and it’s actually made for teens and tweens. Also, the brand itself donates to teen mental health initiatives. They also have the slam dunk moisturizer as well as sunscreens that are tinted and non-tinted. The sunscreens work on every skin tone, and they are mineral sunscreens.

Bubble Solar Mate Daily Mineral Sunscreen - $19

This doesn’t feel goopy on the skin, it doesn’t sting the skin, and it doesn’t sting the eyes.

A sunscreen should be the last step of a simple skincare routine for developing skin. As mentioned before, the routine should include a cleanser, a moisturizer, and an SPF. An SPF can also double as a moisturizer.


Byoma Creamy Jelly Cleanser - $11.04

Like Drunk Elephant, Byoma has similar colorful and geometric packaging. This has a tri-ceramide complex so it doesn’t strip the skin, and nourishing cleansers are essential for all skincare routines. This also has licorice root extract which can help with dark spots. Licorice root is not the same as vitamin C, but it can brighten the skin and have similar benefits to vitamin C without the stinging and irritation. There’s also green tea which helps to nourish a skin barrier. 

Byoma Moisturizing Gel-Cream - $11.99

This moisturizer has a triceramide complex with niacinamide. This includes green tea too, which is a great antioxidant. It’s a nice, fluffy moisturizer, and with one pump, you’re getting the perfect amount. This can also teach tweens how to use the proper amount of skincare.

When it comes to teen-friendly options, Byoma and Bubble are Cassandra’s two favorite options.