January 2021

Dr Anjali Mahto gives her skincare predictions for the coming year. 

Less is more

I think we will be seeing people cutting back on multiple steps in their skincare routine for a variety of reasons.  Not only will many people have far less expendable cash as a result of the economic downturn post-Covid, but there is an increasing awareness of the impacts the beauty industry is having on the environment and climate change.  Every product we buy and layer onto our skin utilizes resources, which impact across every aspect of the supply chain from extraction of raw materials to packaging.  To be truly kind to the world we live in, we need to start taking sustainability seriously – and the only way to be truly sustainable is simply to buy less.

Multipurpose Products

Following on from reducing the need for a multi-step skincare routine, consumers are going to start making wiser choices about which products they truly need to be using.  One way of minimizing the products we need, is to choose ingredients or skincare which are multi-purpose in nature. 

Using one product rather than multiple ones to achieve the same end point cuts on waste and also reduces the risk of irritation and sensitivity to the skin.  This is the future of streamlined skincare.

Representation of Skin of Colour

After the political events of this year and the Black Lives Matter movement, there will be two direct knock-on effects into the beauty industry.  The first will be a valid expectation that brands need to be representative of the population they serve – more shade options, diverse models and choice of influencer or spokesperson.  Secondly, there is also likely to be a mushrooming of new Indie brands targeting issues specific to skin of colour such as pigmentation.  Popular ingredients which can disrupt the pigment pathway such as mandelic acid, kojic acid, alpha-arbutin, and tranexamic acid are likely to be key players in formulation of these types of products.

Improving sunscreen technologies

We are aware that ultraviolet light from the sun is a key player in the development of both skin cancer and skin ageing.   However, a large part of the population also suffer with issues of pigmentation which in darker skin tones is driven in part by the synergistic action of UVA-1 and visible light from the sun.  Based on current scientific data, this can only be effectively be blocked by iron oxide containing sunscreens and there are only a relatively small number of these on the market.  As knowledge grows on visible light, companies need to respond accordingly and start producing effective sunscreens with the right ingredients to filter this out; simply using antioxidants will not be the answer based on current data for pigmentation.

The “Expert” Influencer

Influencer marketing has been a huge brand strategy over the years.  What is changing, however, is the level of education of the average beauty consumer.  There is a growing demand for true “expert” voices and in recent years, many dermatologists and plastic surgeons have joined social media to promote education.  Doctors as influencers bring not only an authority due to their training and experience but are able to sift through the science of skincare in an accessible way to the beauty consumer.  Brands are increasingly going to move towards using credible experts to gain trust with their audience.

Growing market for injectables

The average consumer has more information at their fingertips than ever before.  A decade ago, talking about injectable treatments such as Botox or fillers publicly would be unheard of but social media has demystified these treatments with each passing year.  In this age of information, people are also better educated about what can and cannot be achieved with skincare alone.  Whilst retinol may smooth out fine lines over long-term use, chances are that it is only injectable treatment, which will help deeper lines or descent of facial skin.  Knowledge combined with prolonged periods this year examining our own faces over Zoom has led to a boom in injectable therapy.  Many who have had the treatment for the first time are likely to continue into next year as well as increasingly through word of mouth openly discuss their experiences.  Next year will bring more “first-timers” to the injectables market.

Body Care

Until the vaccination is realistically on the horizon for us all, life is unlikely to go back to the way we remember it anytime soon.  Many of us are therefore doing things at home to look after our hair and body as well as provide “self-care”.  Sales of hair masks and treatments whilst we avoid salons and blow-dries or haircuts, alongside luxury bath products as we spend more time at home is likely.

Online Retail for Prescription Strength Anti-Ageing Skincare

Whilst a few platforms already exist in the UK, next year will bring a mushrooming of medically-led prescription products available via digital platforms.  There is an unmet demand for gold-standard skincare ingredients such as tretinoin and online platforms provide a quick and easy way to purchase these.

Dr Anjali Mahto, Consultant Dermatologist 

Find Dr Mahto on Instagram here.

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