(WMC-TV) – A new pre-summer camp ritual is raising questions about what is appropriate and not appropriate for tween girls when it comes to personal grooming.
More and more young girls are getting very adult beauty treatments and some argue it is sexualizing our kids. Others say it is just boosting their self-esteem.
Young girls are going further than the typical manicures, pedicures or massages. Some are now even getting waxed - everywhere.
"Now I have several clients that are younger that will do eyebrows, upper lip and I think that that's fine. I don't have a problem with that," said salon owner Courtney Lovins.
But Lovins draws the line at a growing trend among some pre-teen girls.
"To me, it's too intimate," said Lovins.
She is talking about Brazilian waxing, which is the act of stripping every strand of hair from the pubic region.
"With this Brazilian wax trend with younger children, I have a problem with that because they haven't reached puberty yet and for me I'm not comfortable waxing someone that young," said Lovins.
The International Spa Association reports 16 percent of spa clients in their teens have undergone a hair removal procedure.
And since there are no laws concerning age restrictions, some salon owners have seen a dramatic increase in the number of girls 12 years old and younger who are requesting waxing services.
Baylor Hofstetter, 14, understands the desire to look your best, but she believes adult spa treatments should be reserved for adults.
Madison Little, 12, agrees.
"Well I mean cause they shouldn't worry about how they look at such a young age," said Little.
Kristen Howerton is a family therapist and blogger. She said the need to fit in is the reason behind the new trend.
"I wouldn't say girls are grooming younger I think they're grooming differently," said Howerton. "If my daughters felt unsure about wearing a swimsuit because they have hair I would absolutely do whatever they felt comfortable doing to make sure they can go out in a swimsuit without worry."
Some salons advertise young hair removal as a way to save time and money in the future. They suggest that money spent now saves money on waxing and shaving later.
Dermatologist John Huber disagrees.
"Whatever you've minimized as a kid may not re-grow until you've reached puberty but at that point you're going to make hairs that you've never had before," said Dr. Huber.
Dr. Huber said young skin is also more vulnerable and waxing that skin is risky.
"When you strip away that layer of skin, you're more likely to get infection in the top layer of skin," said Huber.
Professional Courtney Lovins hopes more salon owners will refuse to perform grown up treatments on young girls.
"It does hurt and I would feel horrible putting a child through that," said Lovins.
But with no laws against the grooming, the choice is really up to the parent paying for the procedure.
"I had an interesting comment from a reader after I wrote about this topic who said, 'Anyone who judges a parent taking a girl to have a waxing doesn't have the same hair issues I do.' So, I think people's opinions on this tend to be really colored by their own experience and embarrassment, you know, that they experienced as a child," said Howerton.