The Skincare Ingredients You Need in Your Routine


Facial skin care, Beauty therapy concept. Healthy body care. Bio science beauty concept. Hair care.
Facial skin care, Beauty therapy concept. Healthy body care. Bio science beauty concept. Hair care.
If 2019 was the year of CBD, 2020 sees a return to trusted, clinically proven ingredients as well as the rise of skincare ingredients that take the planet into consideration.

Not sure which skincare ingredients you need in your beauty routine? We chat with the experts and discover 2020’s up-and-coming skincare ingredients that could change your skin.

Each year an array of new skincare ingredients make an appearance in the skincare world. But with so many different options to choose from – all promising to smooth lines, fight pigmentation and enhance radiance – it can be tricky to know which ones you should be investing in. We chat with the skincare experts and find out what skincare ingredients we should have our eyes on in 2020.

The return of tried-and-true ingredients

We will see innovative and new ingredients emerge in the beauty world in 2020. Yet there is also a handful of tried-and-true ingredients set for impressive makeovers in the not-too-distant future. According to Katy Bacon, education director for Murad Australia, two superstars of the skincare world – retinol and vitamin C – will make a big comeback in 2020.

“These staple heroes in skincare have long been known for their results but have been overshadowed recently by trendier ingredients such as CBD [cannabidiol] and adaptogens,” says Bacon. “Vitamin C and retinols are considered the gold standard in anti-ageing and skin defence, which is why they are dermatologists’ top picks when it comes to getting results.”

New Zealand’s Caci says: “Vitamin A, a key component in retinol, has become and will continue to be a hot topic as we move through 2020. It has come to the attention of many in 2019, but we see the demand for vitamin-rich products blowing up in 2020. The evolution of this trend has come from consumer demand for treatments and products that nourish the skin with active ingredients, made up of all the vitamins we want and need.” Bacon says that retinol is “clinically proven” to speed cell turnover, enhance skin brightness and tone, smooth texture, and help skin look more youthful all-round. “It’s also part preventative and part corrective, helping to minimise the signs of ageing you see, and the ones you can’t see yet. “However, it’s well documented that retinol can have an irritant effect on skin,” she adds.

Bacon says that we should expect to see next-generation vitamin C and retinols that offer more potency, better delivery systems and minimised irritation and skin sensitivity. “In 2020 we will be launching an exciting new vitamin C duo,” says Bacon. “Dr Murad has always seen vitamin C as a gold standard to support optimal skin health. It not only brightens but defends skin from environmental aggressors.”

More effective ingredients thanks to innovation

In addition to revamped hero ingredients such as vitamins A and C, we’ll start to see skincare brands innovate the ways in which these effective ingredients are delivered to our skin. “For Murad and other professional skincare brands, technology takes the lead in innovation, including ‘encapsulation’ advances leading to precision-delivered ingredients and enhanced ingredient results,” explains Bacon. Bacon says consumers can expect premium and professional skincare brands to continue to innovate in this space.

“We’ll see technologies that deliver traditional ‘worker-dog’ ingredients – think retinols, vitamin Cs and alpha hydroxy acids – to the skin in different ways,” she says. As a result, the effectiveness of many ingredients will be enhanced, thus driving a results-focused approach to skincare.

Water-free formulations

As well as seeing more of certain skincare ingredients, there is a handful of ingredients that we will start to see less of as brands gravitate towards more sustainable formulation. According to Emma Hobson, director of education for Dermalogica Asia Pacific, water-reduced or waterless beauty formulations are set to be big news in 2020 in beyond. Currently, hundreds of millions of people around the world suffer from water scarcity, but according to the United Nations, that figure will grow significantly in the near future. By 2025, 1.8 billion people could be living in regions with absolute water scarcity, while two-thirds of the global population could be living under water-stressed conditions.

“Waterless formulations not only reduce the stress of global consumption but they also do not require preservatives and can fall into the ‘clean’ category of skincare,” explains Hobson. To date, most waterless beauty products have been created in bar form, but very soon we’ll start to see water ‘alternatives’ being used in formulations.

Brands are turning to fruit- and plant-derived waters, such as the likes of coconut water and birch tree water, as alternatives in products. Reducing the water component in products is a step in the right direction, but brands will also need to consider the significant volume of freshwater used in the production process of many products as making a single skincare product can take litres upon litres of freshwater to create.

Skin-health enhancing bacteria

In 2020 we’ll see more innovation around skincare ingredients that work with the skin’s microbiome to create healthy skin. “For overall skin health, the latest scientific insights tell us that healthy skin starts with the perfect ratio of three crucial factors: hydration, a strong lipid barrier and optimal skin microbiome,” says Hobson. “If any of these factors are imbalanced, the skin will look and feel compromised. An imbalanced microbiome is associated with many diseases, including psoriasis, allergies, eczema, contact dermatitis, acne, poor wound healing, skin ulcers, dandruff, yeast and fungal infections, rosacea, and accelerated skin ageing.”

Bacon says we should expect to see a rising focus on the microbiome’s relationship to broader skin health around protecting the skin’s individual and unique biodiversity. “Prebiotic and adaptogenic ingredients can help rebalance and protect our skin’s flora. We can expect to see an explosion in probiotics-powered skincare brands and research into personalised skincare,” she adds.

Hobson says one of the microbiome-supporting ingredients we’ll start to see more of in skincare is diglucosyl gallic acid. “This next-generation molecule is activated by the skin’s natural microbiome to brighten hyperpigmentation – one of several factors that can contribute to the appearance of dark circles under the eyes,” she explains. “The skin’s microflora converts diglucosyl gallic acid into trihydroxybenzoic acid, which has four times the antioxidant power of vitamin C and is 60 times more efficient than kojic acid at brightening the skin. It also acts as a skin protectant and helps prevent inflammation.”

Founder of Gallinée, Marie Drago, is particularly excited about the potential that microbiome-friendly skincare and ingredients could have to tackle certain skin ailments in the near future. “I think the way that acne and eczema are treated is going to change radically over the next few years,” she says. “I believe it is going to go from a very anti-bacterial view to a very pro-bacterial one. There are already medical start-up companies recolonising your skin with the right kind of bacteria, effectively curing the disease.”

DNA-minded skincare

Skincare with the potential to turn off the genes that contribute to ageing while activating the genes that give us healthy, resilient skin is on the horizon according to beauty insiders. Epigenetics – the study of changing gene expression without changing underlying DNA – could hold the answer to more youthful, healthy skin. “It’s a fascinating field that’s on the verge of exploding mainstream in the field of skincare,” says Hobson. “Scientists are discovering there are significant benefits to influencing the expression of our DNA to help skin look and act younger while being more resistant to sun, pollution exposure and stress,” confirms Bacon. Hobson explains the premise uses certain active ingredients that have the ability to bio-mimic functions that the skin does naturally to potentially reverse signs of ageing.


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