4 skincare trends to watch out for in 2023

Consumers are becoming more conscious and starting to prioritise self-care, with skincare a top concern.

What’s going into the products, how the products are being sourced, and the long-term results are all top-of-mind when it comes to brand choice.

“There’s been a move away from brands making unsubstantiated claims, with a call to support those that have been ethically and environmentally conscious from the start,” commented Trevor Steyn, founder of bio-clinical skincare brand Esse.

“Consumers are now questioning ingredients, skincare routines, and the profit-driven model, which is driving some exciting trends in 2023.”

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#1. Skinimalism

While this is in no way a new trend, it’s certainly one that was accelerated by the pandemic, during which the notion of ‘less is more’ began to dominate.

With limited access to chemical-laden skincare products, customers started noticing the benefits of minimalist skincare routines.

In 2023, expect to see a reduction in cleansing to evenings only with consumers choosing milder yet more effective products. People will search for products that provide multiple benefits without a long, synthetic ingredients list.

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#2. Sustainable skincare

The drive towards sustainable manufacturing, packaging, and use is going beyond simply doing no harm.

Support is rising for brands that positively contribute towards the environment through better business practices.

Organic, vegan and ethically-sourced ingredients are imperative, but customers are looking beyond what’s inside. Sustainable packaging is an interesting trend, with companies moving to plastic-free, recyclable materials like glass for their packaging.

Consumers will look for brands that use 100% recycled paper products, and minimal to no branding for reuse and repurposing. There is also a growing trend in refilling products rather than buying new packaging per use.

More customers will demand proof of carbon- and plastic-neutral practices, which go further than simply recycling. Companies that are committed to sustainability will buy carbon credits to offset the carbon they emit during production, travel, and other company operations.

This sustainability extends beyond the product, with companies required to positively impact the communities in which they work, prioritising locally-sourced ingredients and labour.

Amidst these trends, skincare brands that have sustainability at the core will keep coming out on top.

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#3. Trending ingredients

There’s an interesting trend emerging in terms of the ingredients used in skincare products, with certain names set to dominate in 2023.

The plant-based bakuchiol is replacing retinol. Bakuchiol, extracted from the seeds of Psoralea corylifolia (a legume that grows wild in India and China), is more photostable than retinol, so it can be safely used during the day without the risk of instability or toxicity.

It has also been show to be as effective as retinol in the treatment of ageing and acne, with fewer side effects.

Niacinamide is another key ingredient to expect in 2023. This vitamin B3 derivative has antioxidant properties that protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals, while also boosting collagen production. This anti-ageing ingredient is active and gentle, and suited to all skin types.

Probiotics in skincare are gaining rapid popularity, but brands that use live probiotics are set to differentiate themselves. Probiotics contribute to a healthier microbiome, while providing moisturising benefits, protecting the skin, slowing the rate of ageing, and reducing skin sensitivity. Consumers struggling with ongoing skin conditions will benefit from incorporating probiotics into their skincare.

Another active, which only Esse has managed to gain access to in its active form, is sapienic acid. This is the most abundant fatty acid on human skin and is the ultimate skin prebiotic; feeding good microbes while protecting the skin from pathogens like Staphylococcus aureus.

Other ingredients to watch out for include:

  1. Plant-based squalene: A non-clogging oil that improves the microbiome;
  2. Hyaluronic acid: Reduces wrinkles and speeds up healing; and ferments, which improve barrier function and hydration.

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#4. Skincare devices

Skincare has gone beyond products and ingredients, with leading brands now developing skincare devices to address various skin conditions.

One of the more interesting skincare devices, which will likely emerge in late 2023, is a light device that can transmit a specific UV wavelength to boost vitamin D levels in the skin. This will work in combination with specific strains of Lactobacillus to reduce harmful bacteria while supporting good bacteria for a healthy skin microbiome.

Author: Pedro van Gaalen

When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.

When he's not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He's worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.

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