Skin

6 Key Skincare Trends Of 2024 That Will Transform Your Regimen Forever

From supercharged actives to neurocosmetics and an LED device for every facial feature – CASSIE STEER lifts the lid on the buzziest skincare innovations raising the beauty bar in 2024

Beauty

After a meteoric rise in popularity, skincare has emerged as the overachiever of the beauty world, and our appetite for the most innovative ingredients and transformative formulas sees no signs of abating. So, what’s new for this year? Whether you’re a diligent 10-step-routine devotee or subscribe to a more minimalist approach, these are the six skincare trends that will get you glowing for good.

Neurocosmetics

According to trend forecaster WGSN, we are currently entering an age of ‘emotional beauty’, where the mind-skin connection is at the forefront of skin health, hailing a new chapter of wellness where mental wellbeing and physical appearance are interconnected. What that means for our skincare is a focus on products designed to positively stimulate our senses.

“Called neurocosmetics, these products tap into this skin-mind connection and can improve not only skin stress and function, but also our overall mood,” says consultant dermatologist Dr. Alexis Granite. Think ingredients that deliver a warming sensation when massaged into skin, or tap into cryotherapy with face icing, a skin-tightening hack favoured by the A-list.

“Our skin holds many tiny little nerve endings that help us process sensations of touch, temperature, pressure and pain to help regulate not only our skin function, but also our whole body,” explains Dr. Granite. “All these neural pathways are linked and are connected to the brain, making up part of our nervous system. Aromatherapy-based products, for example, can have direct effects on the skin, as well as enhancing our mood through fragrance.

“Meanwhile, some neurocosmetics can activate endorphin receptors within the skin, improving skin metabolism but also transmitting messages to similar receptors throughout the body, including within the brain and immune system.”

Amplified actives

Faced with an onslaught of ever-evolving, buzzy ingredients, it can be easy to overlook the skincare stalwarts; the ones we’ve become so au fait with, they roll off the tongue (that’s ‘hya-lur-onic acid’). But these tried-and-tested skin heroes continue to be derm favorites for good reason – and thanks to some state-of-the-art science, we’re now seeing a levelling up of the classics with new delivery systems and innovative iterations.

There is a greater emphasis on enhancing the effectiveness of actives with new ways to improve the stability and permeation, whether that’s through microneedling and micro-vibration treatments in-clinic, or formulas that boost the effectiveness of our skincare at home.

Take hyaluronic acid – the hydrator beloved by skin experts. “Hyaluronic acid is such an important, multitasking ingredient that I call it the ‘white T-shirt’ of a skincare regimen,” says Dr. Barbara Sturm. “The science of hyaluronic acid has been widely clinically studied, and it has been shown to boost skin-barrier function, to act as a penetrating agent transporting other small-molecule active ingredients deeper into skin, to boost collagen production and promote healing.

“The key is choosing a formula containing a high concentration of blended low-, medium- and high-molecular-weight hyaluronic acid that deeply hydrates your skin, both superficially and at deeper skin layers.”

Targeted tech

As the worlds of beauty and tech collide, at-home gadgets have upgraded our skincare regimes almost overnight, having made their way from the clinic and into our homes. LED, or light therapy, continues to hog the beauty limelight. Using various wavelengths of light to address myriad skin concerns, from acne to fine lines, at-home versions of LED technology have traditionally focused on the entire face, but the latest slew of state-of-the-art skin perfectors are taking a more targeted approach.

Cue dedicated tools designed to tackle the areas often neglected by both skincare and tech, such as the eyes (we love MZ Skin’s LightMax MiniPro Eyeconic LED Eye Patches), lips (Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare’s DRx Spectralite LipWare Pro works in just three minutes) and neck, which also happen to be the areas that tend to show the first signs of aging.

Barrier boosters

Skin-barrier repair continues to go from strength to strength as the re-evaluation of the ‘no pain, no gain’ adage we’re seeing in the fitness and recovery world filters down to beauty. Adopting a more gentle approach to our skin and practicing skin kindness in place of punishing regimes has seen a renewed focus on hydration and preserving the precious skin barrier, with ingredients such as ceramides and hyaluronic acid assuming starring roles, thanks to their universal appeal.

“We all potentially suffer with skin-barrier issues due to seasonal changes, stress, and environmental exposures such as UV radiation and pollution,” says Dr. Granite, who emphasizes that a healthy barrier equals healthy skin. “I see so many patients who also like to cycle between a variety of products, and occasionally this can cause sensitivity and irritation, so barrier-repair products work well in these cases, too. There are so many textures available, including very light options for hydration, which boost skin glow and sit well under makeup, so prepare to see more of these options this year.”

At-home exosomes

If exosomes sound like something you’d find aboard the Starship Enterprise, it’s probably because these buzzy micro-messengers have been hailed as a new frontier in beauty. Originally studied for their therapeutic potential in regenerative medicine, exosomes have found their way into aesthetic clinics and, more recently, on to our bathroom shelves.

“I’ve been researching exosomes for more than 20 years,” says Dr. Barbara Sturm, who describes them as “membrane-bound spheres found within cells that contain a complex variety of ingredients, including proteins, lipids and genomic DNA”. According to Dr. Sturm, they are key mediators in cell-to-cell communication and have been shown to play pivotal roles in reducing inflammation and encouraging skin regeneration for a healthy, youthful-looking complexion.

While the use of human-derived exosomes in products is controversial (and illegal in many countries), Dr. Barbara Sturm uses lab-synthesized versions in her excellent Exoso-Metic Face and Eye Serums to deliver powerful anti-inflammatory and rejuvenating results. “As we age, the concentration of circulating exosomes declines and our skin structure becomes disordered and ‘untidy’, resulting in unevenness and wrinkles. Replacing exosomes is not only an effective anti-aging treatment, it’s the future of skincare.”

Regenerative treatments

Our fascination with the longevity movement and the latest ways we can ‘cheat’ time is a trend set to continue well into 2024 and beyond. From a wellness perspective, the NAD+ IV infusions (NAD+ is a coenzyme that effectively recharges our cells’ batteries) found at medical spas such as Lanserhof and through the London-based mobile-health concierge service Optimise Health have propelled pro-aging into the wellness stratosphere.

When it comes to skin aging and ‘tweakments’, skin health is the goal rather than a particular aesthetic to aspire to. Treatments that focus on the body’s regenerative abilities to repair and rejuvenate itself are taking over from more invasive options. Take Sofwave, for instance, a new technology that draws on ultrasound to stimulate new collagen; or EmFace, which uses high-intensity focused electro-magnetic (HIFES) facial-muscle stimulation to lift and rejuvenate.

“Patients continue to embrace a softer, more natural look,” says Dr. Granite. “It’s more about accepting the changes that come with age and making small, subtle tweaks to boost confidence, rather than chasing every line or wrinkle. For instance, skin boosters Profhilo, Ameela and Volite [used to hydrate, not ‘fill’ skin] continue to be very popular, as they improve the look and quality of the skin without changing the shape of the face or contours. Moxi, a gentle laser for more radiant, smoother skin, resonates with my patients, and exosomes are definitely a popular treatment this year.”

For pre- and post-treatment care, integrated skincare is equally important – using high-quality, science-based skincare products really can visibly boost your results.

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