News Special: The Rise of Skincare in Lockdown

By Chloé Gronow / 01 Jul 2020

Aesthetics explores recent statistics on the increased interest in personal care throughout the COVID-19 pandemic

Spring 2020 – how will you remember it? While it has of course been a challenging few months for aesthetic practitioners with clinics closed, the time has allowed many to develop their digital skills with the rise in webinars and online consultations, as well as learning how best to utilise blogs and social media to educate patients on the value of skincare throughout lockdown. And, according to recent statistics from personal care company L’Oréal, which manufactures SkinCeuticals products amongst many others, this will have been worthwhile.

Time for selfcare

In a survey of 600 consumers in the UK, 45% of participants are taking the time to care for their skin, with one in four women and one in two Generation Z and Millennials treating themselves to using face treatment masks and focusing more on skincare.1 L’Oréal also found that social media conversation mentioning #selfcare has risen by 42% since the start of lockdown, while 61% of women are spending more time online, with 45% purchasing skincare online, compared to 30% pre COVID-19.

So why now? Consultant dermatologist Dr Emma Craythorne highlights that with more people staying home, seeing their faces more frequently in mirrors and on video conferencing calls, as well as wearing less makeup, it’s no wonder they’re more conscious of how their skin looks. “This has also likely been prompted by the unbelievable weather we’ve had, meaning more people have had UV exposure which has exacerbated skin conditions such as melasma and rosacea,” she adds, highlighting that this is likely to continue throughout the summer months.

Online education

Statistics from L’Oréal indicate that online discussion of various skincare ingredients have all increased year on year; retinol mentions are up by 74% since last year, hyaluronic acid up 69%, conversations about salicylic acid and vitamin C are up 55% each, vitamin E discussions have increased by 32% and SPF mentions have jumped by 45%.1 Dr Craythorne suggests that while education on suitable skincare has been growing online for some time, it has been pushed forward as a result of lockdown. “It has of course been difficult for people to access their practitioner in person for information, and even simply their friends for their experiences and words of advice,” she says.

As a result, numerous brands and practitioners have taken to social media to share their expertise, through regular methods such as blogs and social media posts, while also utilising new approaches such as Instagram Live sessions. According to Business Insider, the use of Instagram Live – where Instagram users broadcast live to their followers – increased by 70% in March,2 while, according to a Mintel digital marketing analyst, mentions of it on Instagram and Twitter rocketed by 526% between March 8 and March 15.3

With sometimes thousands of consumers tuning into these broadcasts, as well as accessing information through other channels online, Dr Craythorne highlights that some sources of information on skincare may not be evidence-based and can sometimes lack the depth and personalisation that consumers require. She emphasises the importance of practitioners only sharing accurate information online and the value of recommending individual consultations to find the best products and treatments for patients. “While it’s great that people are starting to realise what ingredients work, sometimes online education doesn’t go far enough. As practitioners, it’s our duty to really ensure we recommend the correct products, with the correct ingredients, to be used in the correct way,” she explains.

Keep the momentum

Results from the L’Oréal research also indicate that Google searches for hyaluronic acid serum have grown by a whooping 124%, while research suggests retinol sales have increased by a massive 157% across the UK during lockdown.1 In addition, 49% of global consumers said they are willing to trade price for better quality products or safety assurances.1 So with a clear rise in consumers taking more time to care for their skin and learn about good quality, safe products, there is an opportunity for practitioners to capitalise on skincare sales and better educate patients.

Reflecting on the statistics, Dr Craythorne encourages practitioners to keep the momentum going with evidence-based education that will support patients, whether that’s online or in clinic. Dr Craythone also highlights the need for practitioners to be aware of the changes that may be seen as a result of increased handwashing and mask-use in the post-COVID era. “While wearing masks could be good for lips, they do promote conditions such as acne and perioral dermatitis,” she says, recommending that practitioners talk to patients about how best to protect both their face and hands. “As we move to the new world, it’s important to have these conversations,” she says, concluding, “It’s incredibly important that patients are pointed in the right direction to purchase the best products for their skin concerns, so they’re not wasting their time or money, and are given the right advice on how they should be used. Patients trust our opinion, so it really is our duty to ensure we share evidence-based knowledge.”

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