Beauty

The 10 Skin Care Trends Everyone Will Be Buzzing About In 2022

The new year’s beauty mantra is “less is more.”

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Expert predictions of the biggest skin care trends of 2022 to watch out for.
Getty Images/Sergey Mironov

As the year comes to an end, so too will the use of harsh and drying skin care products and treatments. According to the dermatologists, beauty industry experts, and estheticians Bustle spoke with, the skin care trends of 2022 will follow a “less is more” approach, with people embracing gentler ingredients and fewer products in their routines. This also entails opting to repair and nourish the all-important skin barrier. Think: less potent exfoliating acids, more Vaseline (then finding your complexion’s happy medium).

While smart at-home skin care regimens aren’t going anywhere, 2022 also welcomes a slow return to the spa and dermatologist’s office, where chemical peels and microneedling will shift into new territories (including parts of the body). You’ll also see a boom in SPF products with added blue light protection, as well as the “skinification” of hair care — since your scalp deserves some TLC, too. Read on for 10 skin care trends you can expect to see everywhere in the new year.

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1

A Focus On Phytoestrogens

Beauty insiders are predicting a rising focus on the connection between estrogen and the skin. Like collagen, your estrogen levels decline as you age, which has an effect on your skin’s appearance — namely, its elasticity and strength. And that’s why Deborah Kilgore, director of skin care knowledge at Paula’s Choice, sees a boom in topical phytoestrogens in the anti-aging category. “As conversations continue about estrogen decline and how it impacts skin and consumers better understand the benefit of phytoestrogens in their skin care routine, we expect to see additional product offerings,” she tells Bustle.

These forms of estrogen are plant-based and work to boost your skin’s natural repair system, Kilgore explains. Some of the phytoestrogens you’ll find in beauty formulas include black cohosh, flax seed oil, bakuchiol, and resveratrol. “They calm sensitivities and act as free radical scavenger antioxidants, and are a great option for all skin types experiencing signs of estrogen decline,” she explains, pointing to thinning of the skin, dryness, and a crepe-like texture as examples. The Paula’s Choice Clinical 0.3% Retinol + 2% Bakuchiol Treatment is a way to shop the trend on the shelves, as well as the LaMaria Phytoestrogen-Infused Face Moisturizer and Korres Santorini Grape Velvet Skin Drink.

2

New Hyperpigmentation Heroes

When it comes to treating dark spots, expect the spotlight to shift to two buzzy actives for the skin-brightening job: tranexamic acid and cysteamine. Bryan Barron, Paula’s Choice director of skin care research, says these two ingredients are some of the most “exciting” topicals being used to combat hyperpigmentation.

Tranexamic acid is a water-soluble synthetic ingredient that comes from an amino acid called lysine. “It works on skin by interrupting an enzyme known as plasmin, whose presence increases when skin is exposed to UV light,” Barron tells Bustle. When applied topically in concentrations between 2% and 5%, you get a gradual fade of discoloration and dark spots, he says. Cysteamine on the other hand is a potent antioxidant that you can only get from your derm or a physician (in the U.S., you’ll see it as a Cyspera cream, Barron says). “Cysteamine is an exciting ingredient since it works on several key factors contributing to stubborn hyperpigmentation,” he explains.

To experience the dark spot-reducing effects for yourself, Barron suggests looking for tranexamic acid in fragrance-free skin care formulas that also contain skin-soothing ingredients like allantoin, soy, and burdock root, as these will help prevent any irritation. Example products include the Skin Laundry Tranexamic Acid Serum, Versed Out Of Sight Dark Spot Gel, and Glow Recipe Guava Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum.

3

ATP-Stimulating Skin Care

This skin care trend is about to get pretty science-y, so bear with me: Mitochondrial ATPadenosine triphosphate — is the energy within your skin cells, which your skin needs in order to properly function. “Our ATP drives many processes in cell synthesis, and assists with collagen and elastin production, reduction of fine lines and wrinkles, elimination of pigmentation and uneven skin tone, cell regeneration, and more,” says Dr. Ava Shamban, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist based in Beverly Hills. And she sees a rise in skin care that supports this ATP skin cell energy.

“When we incorporate products, ingredients, and blends of actives at the time when we’re most bioavailable within our natural circadian rhythm, we’re increasing our ability to convert the energy to increase ATP levels and therefore maximize the function in the skin,” explains Shamban. This means: Look for ATP boosters in your skin care and add them to your routine during optimal times. She says applying topical formulas that contain vitamins C and D in the a.m. can encourage skin cell growth and repair, and retinoids do the same at nighttime. “Cystine-rich plant botanicals are also super ATP boosters, like hibiscus sabdariffa,” she adds. You can also find products marketed as actual ATP boosters: the 111Skin Cryo ATP Sports Booster, for instance, Babor Doctor Babor Cleanformance Revival Cream Rich, and RéVive Masque de Radiance Brightening Moisture Mask.

4

Facial Massage Tools

At-home skin care treatments have been popular for a couple of years now, and they’re a trend that experts predict will only increase from here. “More and more clients are experimenting with at-home, handheld devices like the [Ranavat] Kansa wand and facial rollers,” Shiri Sarfati, licensed esthetician, tells Bustle. She notes that people have become savvier about the benefits of facial massage, so they’re continually turning to these beauty tools to upgrade their skin care routines. “Facial massage increases the circulation in the skin and helps provide a sculpted look in a natural way,” she says of the practice.

Dr. Janet Allenby, D.O., board-certified dermatologist and RealSelf advisory board member, agrees, adding that the gua sha facial tool and quartz rollers have specifically skyrocketed in demand. “They’re being used to reduce puffiness,” she says, adding that they’re especially beneficial for this when they’re chilled. In 2022, expect these rollers to have more bells and whistles — think vibration technology (to strengthen and smooth the skin) and even LED light (to help stimulate collagen) — like Plum Beauty’s Rose Quartz Vibrating Facial Massager and Skin Gym’s Beauty Lifter Vibrating T-Bar.

5

Milder Chemical Peels

Chemical peels will remain a skin care staple, both at home and in derm offices and spas. But Dr. Renée Moran, D.O., owner of Dr. Renée Moran Medical Aesthetics and founder of RM Skincare, believes less severe versions will also see a boost in popularity, helping keep the skin’s barrier intact while still providing exfoliation. “We think the PRX-T33 peel will become much more popular in the U.S. in 2022,” she tells Bustle. “This peel only targets the dermis [second layer] of your skin and leaves the epidermis [top layer] alone, so your protective layer stays intact.” This type of “non-peel peel” can be used on any part of the body, and there is effectively no downtime, she explains.

For more gentle at-home options, look to those that also include hydrating and nourishing ingredients to balance the exfoliation, like glycerin, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid. Examples include the Alpha-H Beauty Sleep Power Peel — which combines retinol and glycolic acid with shea butter and glycerin — and the Biossance Squalane + Glycolic Renewal Mask, a formula that contains multiple alpha-hydroxy acids plus squalane and calming licorice root.

6

Waterless Skin Care

Beauty buffs have increasingly been prioritizing products that are more ‘green-conscious,’ according to Allenby, who believes the eco-friendly cosmetic movement will continue to blossom well into the next year — hence a boom in waterless beauty.

“By taking out the main ingredient in most skin care products, which is water, clients are able to get concentrated products that they then mix with water at home,” says Sarfati. “This trend is eco-friendly as it also reduces shipping weights and allows you to get more from your products for longer, as there is no need to replenish products monthly.” She points to products like waterless shampoo (bars and powders), face masks, cleansers, and toothpaste. New must-haves in the category include the Boscia 0.6% Pro-Retinol Repair + Renew Waterless Advanced Treatment, Everist Body Wash Concentrate, and Kate Mcleod Face Stone.

7

Blue Light Protection

SPF will remain of utmost importance, as it should — but in 2022, sun care formulas will come with a bonus benefit: blue light protection. “Our greatest exposure to blue light is from the sun, but people are spending more time in front of screens and digital devices which can also emit blue light,” Dr. Marisa Garshick, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist, tells Bustle. “There is continued interest in how blue light impacts the skin, which studies show may contribute to signs of aging such as hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles.”

That’s why dermatologists predict a rise in products that shield you from this exposure. And these formulas are a combo of your standard SPF actives and antioxidants. “Protecting the skin against blue light can be in the form of sunscreen use, as some sunscreens will also provide blue light protection such as Colorescience Sunforgettable,” says Garshick.

Blue light protection is due to make its debut in products beyond traditional sunscreens in the new year, too. “We are seeing an uptick in lightweight multitasking products,” says Dr. Dendy Engelman, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist, specifically citing Glo Skin Beauty’s tinted SPF moisturizers, which are infused with vitamin C and blue light defense. “This SPF can act as your foundation, giving a hint of color,” she says of the product.

8

Skin Barrier Repair

This next year is all about skin rehabilitation. “As we have all experienced the effects of mask wearing and what it has done to our skin barrier, there is an increased interest for taking care of ours,” Garshick tells Bustle. “This may be as simple as moisturizing, using key ingredients such as ceramides which work to support the skin barrier, and using products that provide a protective shield — such as Vaseline Healing Jelly Ointment — to help retain moisture and minimize irritation.”

Sarfati echoes the sentiment, adding that even skin care savants are scaling back on over-exfoliation, realizing they’ve damaged their complexions. “We are seeing more and more clients that are in need of barrier repair and hydration than ever before,” she explains. “Products that address this need will continue to be on the rise — look for products with hyaluronic acid, peptides, and seaweed to help heal a compromised skin barrier.” Think: the Epi.Logic Master Plan Collagen Renew Growth Factor Serum (which contains epidermal growth factor and peptides), Cocokind Barrier Ceramide Serum, and Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Multi-Recovery Complex Serum (spiked with hyaluronic acid, probiotics, and chamomile extract).

9

A “Less Is More’” Approach

In line with supporting the skin barrier, experts are seeing peeled-back routines. “Clients are coming in more inflamed and irritated with thinning skin due to their overly aggressive routines of layering actives like vitamin C, retinol, and glycolic acid,” Sarfati tells Bustle.They have been doing way too much, and it’s definitely taking a toll on their skin.”

Kristina Kitsos, R.N., aesthetic injector and skin care specialist, has noticed the same, predicting that people will use fewer products overall and perfect a more minimal beauty regimen. Her take? Use only the bare necessities — i.e. a cleanser, serum, moisturizer, and SPF — and pick formulas based on your skin’s particular needs. This is where the importance of gentle ingredients comes in, such as bakuchiol, which Allenby recommends as a milder alternative to retinol if your skin’s on the sensitive side.

10

The “Skinification” of Hair

Historically, the skin has gotten all the TLC, leaving scalps and hair under-appreciated and under-treated. But Dr. Azadeh Shirazi, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist believes that this will change come 2022 when you’ll see more of the “skinification” of hair. “We’re seeing more sophisticated formulas used in hair care that have traditionally been used in skin care, such as hyaluronic acid and squalane,” Shirazi Bustle. “Squalane, for example, is being used in hair care products to reduce frizz, add shine, and protect, as is hyaluronic acid.” Just look at the JVN Complete Pre-Wash Scalp & Hair Treatment Oil (a blend of squalane and botanical extracts), Bread Beauty Supply Scalp Serum (which uses chemical exfoliants, broccoli root extract, and glycerin to nourish the scalp), and GoopGlow Restore + Shine Hair Treatment (which contains vitamin C and seabuckthorn oil to strengthen your strands).

Treatments that you’re familiar with using for the skin will soon be utilized for hair health, too. “In 2022, we’re going to see more microneedling applied to not only the face, but also the scalp to stimulate hair growth, and enhance the penetration of ingredients,” she adds. See the BeautyBio Rejuvenating Scalp and Hair Therapy Set as an example of a device that can level up your hair care game.

Studies referenced:

Ciganovic, P. (2019). Glycerolic Licorice Extracts as Active Cosmeceutical Ingredients: Extraction Optimization, Chemical Characterization, and Biological Activity. Antioxidants. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6826613/

Farshi, S. (2018). Efficacy of cysteamine cream in the treatment of epidermal melasma, evaluating by Dermacatch as a new measurement method: a randomized double blind placebo controlled study. J Dermatolog Treat. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28678558/

Holzer, A. (2004). Role of extracellular adenosine triphosphate in human skin. J Cutan Med Surg. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15129319/

Kim, Y.S. (2016). Repeated Microneedle Stimulation Induces Enhanced Hair Growth in a Murine Model. Annals of Dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5064188/

Liu, T. (2020). Recent advances in the anti‐aging effects of phytoestrogens on collagen, water content, and oxidative stress. Phytother Res. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7078862/

Miyaji, A. (2018). Short- and long-term effects of using a facial massage roller on facial skin blood flow and vascular reactivity. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2018.09.009

Rzepecki, A. (2019). Estrogen-deficient skin: The role of topical therapy. Int J Womens Dermatol. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6451761/

Shah, M.G. (2001). Estrogen and skin. An overview. Am J Clin Dermatol. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11705091/

Souza, I. (2021). New topical tranexamic acid derivative for the improvement of hyperpigmentation and inflammation in the sun-damaged skin. J Cosmet Dermatol. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32588531/

Experts:

Dr. Janet Allenby, D.O., board-certified dermatologist and RealSelf advisory board member

Dr. Renée Moran, D.O., owner of Dr. Renée Moran Medical Aesthetics and founder of RM Skincare

Dr. Marisa Garshick, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist

Dr. Dendy Engelman, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist

Dr. Azadeh Shirazi, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist

Shiri Sarfati, licensed esthetician

Kristina Kitsos, R.N., aesthetic injector and skin care specialist

Deborah Kilgore, director of skin care knowledge at Paula’s Choice

Bryan Barron, Paula’s Choice director of skin care research

Dr. Ava Shamban, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist based in Beverly Hills

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