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California bill targets 'Sephora kids' with skincare ban for children younger than 13

USA TODAY

A bill under consideration in California would ban selling certain anti-aging skincare products to kids younger than 13 years old.

California bill was introduced by Assemblymember Alex Lee, a San Jose-area Democrat, and passed the Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee on April 23. An appropriations hearing for the bill is scheduled to take place Thursday.

"Kids don鈥檛 need anti-aging products, and AB 2491 will protect children and preteens from the potential harms of using products that may lead to short- or long-term skin challenges they wouldn鈥檛 otherwise have,鈥澛燣ee said in a news release.

But trade association which represents the parent company of Sephora, Ulta and approximately 600 other cosmetic and personal care products, said the bill would be "largely impossible" to enforce.

"By proposing sales restrictions for a wide range of cosmetics and personal care products, including basic essentials like sunscreens, moisturizers, and cleansers, this bill threatens to overregulate products that are safe and essential for healthy skin care," Personal Care Products Council said in a statement, adding that member companies are trying to educate tweens and pre-teens about using age-appropriate products.

Sephora did not immediately respond to USA TODAY's request for comment on this story.

Skincare kids:Young girls are flooding Sephora in what some call an 'epidemic.' So we talked to their moms.

10-year-old shares skincare reaction story at California bill hearing

The bill would apply to over-the-counter cosmetic products advertised as anti-aging and that contain either Vitamin A derivatives like retinol or alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic acid, ascorbic acid or citric acid.

At the April 23 hearing on the bill, Lee was joined by a 10-year-old girl who used skincare .

"I mostly looked for sheet-masks, cremes, and mists and other products with words like 'glow,' 'hydrating,' 'brightening' and 'anti-wrinkling,' cuz I didn't want to get wrinkles, and, no offense, look old," she said to a chuckling room full of legislators. The girl said she developed a rash on her skin that was so painful she couldn't sleep without pain-relieving medication. She still has bumps and redness on her face, which makes her feel self conscious, she said.

"I really wish that I would have known these would have affected me, because if I did, I would have never have used them," she said of the products. "I didn't know I could buy something that sounded so good but would actually hurt my skin."

The bill requires that businesses take "a reasonable step" to ensure customers are 13 years or older. That could include signage, asking customers for their date of birth, or asking for ID.

'Sephora kids' going for anti-aging products prematurely, experts say

Tweens seem to have taken over Sephora in a surge of skincare popularity among youth. Many are immersed in skincare, get-ready-with-me, and makeup tutorials on social media.

Dermatologists have previously told USA TODAY that they see kids with skincare routines that take up to to 12 steps, and utilize products containing ingredients that can make the skin more sensitive to environmental damage.

An exfoliating product like retinol, commonly used as an anti-aging product, isn't necessary for those younger then 20 years old when collagen begins to decrease, experts say. When used for something like acne to a teenager, it can be prescribed by a medical professional.

Experts say sunscreen is a safe and effective anti-aging tactic that kids can use instead.

Contributing: Charles Trepany, Katie Camero