Medically reviewed by Aimee Paik, MD
Written by Annie Lam
Last updated 7/3/2021
There are a lot of emerging trends in the skincare industry, but are they really worth your time? From new product launches to unique marketing claims, it’s hard to keep up. We’re sharing our thoughts on some of the most popular skincare trends from 2021.
Many new brands came out with products advertised to protect your skin against blue light. They claim that your phone and computer screens emit blue light which can cause damage similar to UVA/UVB rays. With more time being spent on TikTok and Instagram, is blue light from your phone something to be worried about?
You likely don’t need to worry about artificial blue light coming from your phone or computer screens because there isn’t much light coming from them. Studies have shown that the sun emits almost 100 times more blue light compared to a large TV and short-term exposure to artificial blue light does not worsen melasma. There are very limited studies on artificial blue light’s effect on the skin, so we believe that more evidence is needed before dishing out the cash for blue light protective skincare.
However, “blue light from sun exposure is able to induce a potent and long-lasting hyperpigmentation in dark-skinned individuals.” So it’s important to keep your skin protected by using SPF 30+ every single day and reapplying every 2 hours, especially when you’re outdoors. Using tinted sunscreens with iron oxides and taking additional sun protection measures like wearing long sleeves and hats can help protect your skin from blue light emitted by the sun.
An up-and-coming skincare ingredient are adaptogens. Adaptogens are herbs that have been taken internally for over 5000 years. They have been used in Eastern medicine and Ayurveda for centuries. Some examples of adaptogens are ashwagandha, reishi mushroom, goji berry, and Indian gooseberry.
Many brands claim that adaptogens can help calm and soothe the skin and prevent premature signs of aging or fatigue. While there are some studies that suggest that taking adaptogens internally can help target signs of fatigue, there is minimal evidence about applying them topically. Adaptogens do seem like an interesting ingredient, but more studies are needed to truly determine its effectiveness in skincare.
Another emerging skincare trend is microbiome-friendly skincare products. Your skin microbiome is an ecosystem of bacteria on the skin’s surface that helps to protect you against harmful pathogens. It’s important to keep your skin microbiome balanced to keep your skin healthy and happy. Harsh products and environmental aggressors (like pollution) can damage the microbiome, which leaves your skin barrier weak and prone to infection. However, do you really need specific products to keep your skin microbiome healthy?
Some brands say that their products help to repair the skin microbiome with vitamins, nutrients, and essential fatty acids. While it is important to keep your skin microbiome balanced, you don’t need products specifically marketed as “microbiome-friendly”. Being gentle with your skin and incorporating ingredients like niacinamide and ceramides will help keep your skin barrier strong. Overall, “microbiome-friendly” skincare is more of a marketing term. It’s very likely that the products you’re currently using are already helping to keep your skin microbiome balanced.
One of the biggest skincare trends of 2021 has been skincare minimalism, otherwise known as “skinimalism”. Skinimalism is essentially just keeping your skincare routine minimal. It usually consists of a shorter routine with simple products, like a basic cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen. This trend is a huge contrast to the 10-step Korean skincare routines that were popularized in the 2010s.
Our dermatologists definitely love skinimalism, especially when using prescription treatments. Using a basic skincare routine can help minimize the risk of potential sensitivity or irritation. Complex routines with lots of steps can do more harm than good. Our derms recommend keeping your routine simple and introducing products one at a time to avoid irritating your skin. If your skin is sensitive or sensitized, this is especially important.
Overall, there are a lot of skincare trends out there in the industry. While some of them might be a little gimmicky, there are some that might be worth checking out. At Apostrophe, we believe in science-backed, evidence-based skincare. Don’t forget to do your research before following the newest skincare trend!
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