Rewind a few years, and skincare trends were basically made-up names for the same end result. There was glass skin, dolphin skin, jello skin, glazed donut skin—all of which essentially mean the same thing: A healthy, well-balanced, even-toned complexion. But in 2023, consumers are smarter, better educated on the basics, and demanding more from beauty products, treatments, and so-called “trends” across the aesthetics space. As such, brands and professionals have followed suit. Products have to be multitasking at a minimum and in-office treatments are taking a 360, holistic approach that factor in mental state, metabolism, and diet.
Getting on board with serums that pack in vitamins, peptides, antioxidants, and acids is an easy way to stay at the top of your skincare game—a quick purchase and you’re good to go. But you’re likely going to want to read up on other buzzy treatments, such as buccal fat removal or microcurrent-slash-radiofrequency devices, before jumping in the (board-certified) doctor’s chair. To help guide you on your journey, and break down what you can expect to see over the next 12 months, top dermatologists and aestheticians are breaking down the biggest skincare trends for 2023.
Buccal Fat Removal
The most talked about trend this year isn’t necessarily the “best.” In fact, you should proceed with an abundance of caution when it comes to buccal fat removal—the results are permanent, and, according to a few pros, don’t age too well. “As many of us know by now, buccal fat removal is a surgical procedure that removes the naturally-occuring fat between the cheekbones and jaw bones of the face, with the goal of accentuating one’s cheekbones and facial structure, and minimizing an appearance of roundness or fullness,” says Dr. Dendy Engelman, MD, FACMS, FAAD, board certified cosmetic dermatologist and Mohs surgeon at Shafer Clinic in New York City. “For patients with full or fat lower cheeks, buccal fat pad reduction can help contour the lower face, instantly making the patient look more structured and defined,” adds Dr. David Shafer, MD, FACS Double Board Certified New York City Plastic Surgeon.
The caveat? Reducing fat in this area is permanent, and therefore might not be the best idea for you or your face shape. “Here’s my stance on it: As we age, we naturally lose fat in our face and our faces become smaller. Removing your buccal fat pad is irreversible and although it makes your jawline look slimmer now, it does not age well,” says board-certified dermatologist and founder of PillowTalkDerm Dr. Shereene Idriss. Sure, it can make you look more sculpted and defined in the short run, but it can end up aging your appearance years down the line. As always, consult with your board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon for personalized advice.
If you’re on BeautyTok, you’ve heard of skin cycling, a term coined by board-certified dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe. It’s not a new product (although she does have a great skincare line) or in-office treatment, but rather a recipe that tells you when to apply your products. “It’s a skincare approach that involves applying products intermittently in a four-day cycle, leaving out some products on ‘rest days,’” says Dr. Engelman. “Skin cycling encourages people to apply products strategically instead of piling them on top of each other, and is designed to yield significant results while preventing irritated skin by giving the skin time to recover from more active ingredients and exfoliants.” It’s ideal for those who run on the sensitive side or those who can’t seem to get in a rhythm with their regiment.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of living with a stress pimple, this next one won’t come as a shocker: Stress impacts skin health. Now, brands are finally getting on board with that logic. “I have noticed an increased interest in the skin to mind relationship, otherwise called psychodermatology,” notes Dr. Engelman. “This looks at how our mental health can directly affect our skin. I have seen psychodermatology emerging in the way we understand the relationship between mind and skin, and also being incorporated into skincare brands’ product lines.” A handful companies, such as Lilfox, are leaning into aromatherapy as a way to destress during skincare. Others, like Dr. Brandt, are using active ingredients like caffeine to fight the effects of stress on the skin.
There was a period of time where single ingredient products were taking over. “We saw products with niacinamide, peptides, or ceramides in the name, as it was the key ingredient, or sometimes only ingredient, in the formula. It was beneficial for ingredient education; understanding the purpose of ingredients and what they do for your skin,” says Dr. Idriss. “However, overtime our skincare routines became a million steps long as we were trying to include every ingredient possible to target our main skin concerns.” Now, those simplistic (albeit still beneficial) products are taking a backseat in favor of multi-tasking, multi-ingredient blends that address a multitude of skin issues in a streamlined fashion. This is in part the ethos behind Dr. Idriss’ own line, PillowtalkDerm. “I wanted a simplified, yet effective routine to target my main skin issue. Across the three products, they include an arsenal of pigment fighting ingredients including: kojic acid, alpha arbutin, licorice root, tranexamic acid, diglucosyl gallic acid, niacinamide, and vitamin c in the form of tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate.”
Dr. Idriss’ multi-tasking line, along with innovations from brands ranging from Lyma and Orpheus to Environ and BioEffect, has resulted in parred back routines across the board. “After years of being told that a 10+ step regimen was best, consumers are realizing that a more pared down approach can be more effective and is better suited for most skin types,” points out celebrity facialist Fabricio Ormnde. “Consumers are more interested in multitasking skincare that is backed by science. With advancements in skin care technologies it is possible to have an extremely effective routine with fewer steps. I believe in an approach that is progressive rather than aggressive as it delivers better, long lasting results without damaging the skin.”
Environ Vita-Peptide C-Quence Serum 1
“This features three forms of skin friendly retinoids, peptides, vitamin C and is loaded with antioxidants. It will address collagen stimulation, brightening, reduce pigmentation, wrinkles, and provide support against environmental stressors.”
BioEffect EGF Power Serum
“This new product combines two plant based growth factors—Barley EGF (Epidermal Growth Factor) and Barley KGF (Keratinocyte Growth Factor)—which target fine lines and wrinkles, hydration and elasticity, as well as NAG (N-Acetyl Glucosamine), which addresses photo-induced hyperpigmentation.
Orpheus Resurrection Bio-Shield Cream
“For daytime, I recommend Orpheus Resurrection Bio-Shield Cream, a lightweight yet restorative moisturizer that hydrates and protects against external assailants, including UV and blue light. “
Glo Skin Beauty Bio-Renew EGF Cream
“For night, I recommend Bio-Renew EGF Cream, which I created with Glo Skin Beauty, to repair, nourish and reduce signs of aging with vegan EGF, a phyto-retinol blend, and bio-recovery peptides.”
Once upon a time, a doctor would take a syringe of Juvederm and use it to plump up any area that needed a little extra love. But the industry has come a long way and doctors are now taking a 360, personalized approach on the filler front, which is in large part thanks to innovation in the space. “Outside of the US, there are over 400 hyaluronic acid fillers,” points out board-certified dermatologist Dr. Elizabeth Houshmand. “These fillers are often unique and used for specific areas of the face, for example tear troughs and jawline. In the US, we are seeing these products coming over. It’s about customization, rather than using a multipurpose syringe for all areas of the face.” Every filler has specific properties, such as viscosity and durability, that make them appropriate, or not appropriate, for certain areas of the skin.
One specific filler you can expect to hear a lot about this year is something called Volux. “Juvederm Volux is the newest FDA approved dermal filler and the first hyaluronic acid based filler FDA approved for jawline augmentation,” explains Dr. Shafer. “Good candidates are those looking to enhance their jawline and add structure to their lower face.” He explains that Volux, along with Voluma, will likely take over when it comes to building structure, while OG fillers like Juvederm Ultra and Vollure will be the go-to for smoothing the skin.
Face and body contouring procedures aren’t new per se, but there are new technologies in the space that prioritize speed and downtime. “Surgical treatments are as popular as ever and combined with new plasma technology, we are able to achieve even better results with liposuction and body contouring,” says Dr. Shafer. For example, there’s a new plasma innovation called Renuvion that you’re going to be hearing more and more about. “It’s a new energy based treatment that can be applied externally or more commonly internally during a liposuction procedure to enhance skin tightness. This is good for patients who are not quite ready for a full on facelift, but want to push the envelope in terms of skin tightening technology.” The minimally invasive procedure is typically used to sculpt the jawline or neck and takes a grand total of one hour.
EmSculpt, specifically EmSculpt Neo, is also experiencing an uptick. “Patients love that the combination of radio frequency and high-intensity focused electromagnetic energy visibly slim and tone the body in 30-minute sessions,” says Dr. Dendy. “It saves them time and energy, with incredible results.”
Combination Therapy Treatments
“Combining technologies and aesthetic modalities in a single treatment is something I’ve always believed in,” says Ormonde. “I currently combine radiofrequency with microcurrent and LED light therapy to address skin tightening, muscle tone, and collagen stimulation in a single treatment.” The multi-tool approach lends itself to more dramatic results. “Clients leave looking more lifted and sculpted and the results improve over the course of a few weeks.”
Board-certified dermatologist at Russak Dermatology in New York City Dr. Amanda Doyle also recommends multi-modality treatments, specifically microneedling with radiofrequency, for patients looking to even out tone and texture. “The radiofrequency heats the tissue for skin tightening and the microneedling component improves skin texture, scarring and fine lines and wrinkles,” says Dr. Doyle. “It can be done on the face or most areas of the body to improve texture and crepey skin.”
Skincare is no longer just about the physical skincare. Doctors and companies are looking at the whole picture and taking an inside-out approach. For Dr. Shafer and his team, that means looking at a patient’s metabolic function with a fine tooth comb. “The importance of metabolism cannot be overstated. The metabolic approach to anti aging and rejuvenation is the hottest topic of the year. Patients need a consultation, blood work, and body analysis and then a customized treatment focused on anti-aging, sexual health, weight loss, or overall wellbeing,” he explains. While this will look different for everyone, maximizing metabolic function can have an impact on hair growth, skin plumpness, and overall health.
In a similar vein, you can also expect to see a spike in supplements. “An effective skincare routine that addresses your specific needs is essential, but the addition of skin-specific oral supplements can amplify the results,” says Ormonde, who has a background in integrated nutrition. “I am always recommending a full body wellness approach to skincare by supplying skin with beneficial vitamins and nutrients from within.” That said, you want to ensure you’re using supplements that are vetted and proven to be safe, such as Pure-Encapsulations, Metagenics and Premier Research Lab.
According to Dr. Houshmand, we’ll see a rise in something called Mesotherapy, which is already being widely used in France, Japan, and Korea. This year, she says we can expect a specific product (it’s still hush-hush) to make its way to stateside. So, what is Mesotherapy, exactly? “It’s a technique used to rejuvenate the skin by means of a transdermal injection of a multivitamin solution and natural plant extracts that are thought to improve the signs of skin aging,” she explains. The most interesting part about it, is that Mesotherapy is extremely customizable—it just depends on what type of solution your doctor injects into the skin or scalp. “There are many different actives injected depending on what issue is being treated, so it can be used for fat reduction, pigment, hair loss, wrinkles, or pore size. It’s very specific to the goal.”
Chock it up to Covid hair loss or the fact that the beauty community is simply more open talking about the topic, but it’s impossible to deny that there is a massive hike in products and brands focusing and restoring hair growth. Want me to name a few? Michiru, K18, Olaplex, Vegamour, Revitalsh—I can go on. But people don’t want to start and stop their hair restoration at home, they’re going the extra mile. “More and more of my patients are coming in for early interventions for hair thinning, hair loss, and overall hair growth,” says Dr. Houshmand. “I am seeing less use of extensions and wigs. Both men and women want to prevent their own hair loss and optimize growth.”
Thankfully, the options are plentiful. In addition to topicals like Minoxidil and Rogaine, people can get PRP (platelet rich plasma) injections or AnteAGE hair restoration, which is comparable to a super-charged version of PRP that leverages growth factors. There are also trials underway for Exosomes. “These are different from PRP and different from stem cells,” says Dr. Houshmand. “Exosomes are nanoparticles that have protein, DNA, and RNA from the originating cells and have a powerful role in regenerative medicine by facilitating healing and repair processes. When applied or injected to patients experiencing early signs of alopecia and hair loss, exosomes can stimulate the hair follicles, prevent further hair loss and stimulate hair regrowth as long as the hair follicle is present.” There’s still research to be done and Exosomes are not FDA approved (yet), but it’s a treatment to keep in mind.
Softer Looking Lips
You do you, but it’s worth saying that overfilled lips are on their way out. “The very large lip look without definition is gone. Patients have been dissolving their filler to start with a clean slate and want more definition, not necessarily volume,” says Dr. Houshmand. “Lip flips are quite popular as are lighter fillers with properties that give the lip a very hydrated look. 2023 in general is the year of enhancing natural features and lips are part of this aesthetic.”
This isn’t necessarily a trend—it’s more like a grand awakening that’s here to stay. “The age of over-exfoliation is finally over and the pendulum has swung. People are becoming aware of the importance of maintaining your skin barrier,” points out Dr. Idriss. “Hence, moisturizing trends like slugging, moisture sandwiches, and skin flooding are taking over SkinTok. A healthy skin barrier is the goal for every skin type, but especially dehydrated and dry skin.”
This doesn’t mean you should toss all of your exfoliators to the side. Just focus on hydration. “This involves applying skincare to give the skin an ultra-hydrated, dewy, smooth appearance akin to a glazed donut,” says Dr. Doyle. Not sure where to start? Check out our favorite moisturizers and hydrating serums.
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