Too much too young? Simple's latest research shows young girls are covering their skin in makeup from an early age - but it may be doing more harm than good

Any products in this article have been selected editorially however if you buy something we mention, we may earn commission

If you’re anything like us, it’s likely you’ve dabbled in mum’s makeup bag from quite a young age. Playing princesses with red lippy as a child and sneaking the odd pop of mascara as an awkward teen, we’ve all been guilty of it at one time or another. However, a new study has revealed that girls as young as 12 are now too scared to leave the house without a full face of makeup.

The independent study, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of skincare brand Simple, has revealed that one in five girls between the ages of 12 and 17 cover their imperfections with makeup on a daily basis before leaving the home, and regularly ‘top up’ during the day.

Although makeup may mask the problem, without a proper skincare routine your concealer comfort blanket could actually be doing more harm than good. Experts warn that applying too much makeup at such a young age can worsen existing skin problems - such as acne  - as well as having a detrimental effect on the long-term health of the skin.

Simple skincare expert Caroline Frazer spoke out about the results of the survey, saying: “Applying too much makeup from as young as 12 years old without first using skincare products can cause sensitive skin  to become dry and irritated. Skincare products such as face wash and cleanser help ensure that skin is clean and prevent build-up of spot-causing bacteria, while moisturisers are key for ensuring skin is hydrated and often contain SPF to protect against damaging UV rays.

“The results of this research suggest that while good skin is clearly very important to young girls, they are caking on makeup to cover their imperfections which unfortunately, enters them into a vicious circle as this excessive use is actually creating more problems for themselves.

“Applying layers of make-up will only serve to block pores, create and harbour more bacteria and inevitably, lead to greater skincare problems as well as confidence and self-esteem issues.

“While most teenage girls recognise that they have sensitive skin, there seems to be a genuine lack of awareness and education among young girls on how to look after their skin’s health today and protect it for years to come.”

The research also recorded that 81 per cent of young girls reported having clear and healthy skin as being very important to them, and that a shocking 40 per cent of them forget or are too tired to remove their makeup at night.

To help combat the problem, sensitive skin experts Simple have launched a social platform designed to offer expert and peer-to-peer skincare advice. The platform, aptly named Skin Social , was launched on Tumblr in June and serves as a one-stop-shop for all your skincare woes.

We might not be 12 years old anymore, but we still appreciate great advice, especially when it comes to our skin. Our online expert for a flawless face, we know who we’ll be turning to next time our skin is in need of a helping hand.