These Are the 10 Most Googled Skincare Ingredients This Year


The internet provides us with a seemingly unlimited amount of information. And with way more time on our hands this year — hello, lockdown — we have turned to the interwebs.

Skincare has also played a major role in many of our lives this year. Remember when everyone on your Instagram feed was doing sheet masks during iso? What a time.

With this in mind, online beauty retailer Cult Beauty has combed the internet to find out what your skincare-related searches have looked like in 2020. While these results are specific to the United Kingdom, it is still an interesting look at trends in skincare ingredients. Somewhat unsurprisingly though is the continued interest in actives.

The top 10 are as follows…

#1 Vitamin C

Vitty C takes the top spot according to Cult Beauty’s Google data, with “What does vitamin C do for your skin?” coming in as the most Googled question. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that helps to visibly reduce the signs of premature ageing and leaves your skin looking firmer and glowy.

It’s also great at building the barrier function of the skin as it increases ceramide production. According to facialist and skin therapist, Melissa Young, vitamin C serums are best applied to the skin in the morning.

“I always tell my clients to think of C in conjunction with coffee,” Young told TheLatch—. “The best time to apply vitamin C to the skin is first thing in the morning as the L-ascorbic acid works to neutralise the free radical damage we face daily.”

#2 Retinol

In second place was retinol — a product loved by many. Retinol is derived from vitamin A and is a wonder for the skin. Studies have shown that retinol encourages cellular turnover and stimulates collagen in the skin to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and pigmentation.

It can also be used in the treatment of acne and an improve your skin tone, leaving you with a youthful glow. So, it makes sense that there is so much interest in retinol.

#3 Castor Oil

Castor oil is often lauded for its ability to encourage hair growth but Google data shows that the most common search was “Is castor oil good for the skin?” The answer is a definitive yes. Castor oil is great for the skin and it contains antioxidants that fight free radicals in your body.

Free radicals are responsible for accelerating the ageing process, so slathering your skin in the oil helps to slow this down. It also has antibacterial properties which is great for acne and can help reduce inflammation around zits.

#4 Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is by far the most popular acid according to the search data. The clear, gooey substance is actually produced by your body and can be found in your skin, eyes and connective tissue. But, as we age, we produce less.

When applied topically to your skin, hyaluronic acid increases hydration levels and can reduce the appearance of wrinkles while also leaving the skin looking smoother. It’s also great for treating redness and dermatitis.

#5 Squalane

Squalane has seemed to gain popularity fairly recently thanks to brands like The Ordinary and Biossance that use squalane as a starring ingredient. According to Cult Beauty, “What does squalane do?” was the fifth most Googled question.

Much like hyaluronic acid, your body naturally produces squalene (with an “e”) but the amount reduces as you age. So, using products that contain harvested squalane (with an “a”) can have great benefits for your skin.

Squalane boosts hydration in your skin while also helping to balance oil production. The antioxidants found in squalane also fight skin damage and free radicals, which helps slow the ageing process down. According to Healthline, regular use of squalane products can also boost your collagen production, which helps to make your skin firmer.

#6 Salicylic Acid

Have you ever wondered “What is Salicylic acid?” Well, it’s a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that is commonly used in the treatment of acne. Salicylic acid works by dissolving the dead skin cells in your pores to clear acne and blackheads and according to Healthline, can also prevent future breakouts.

Salicylic acid also helps to reduce sebum production and in turn, reduces inflammation. You can access salicylic acid in over-the-counter products or in prescription-strength formulas depending on your need.

#7 Benzoyl Peroxide

Coming in at number seven is benzoyl peroxide and many people were wondering what it actually does. Benzoyl peroxide is a common ingredient in acne treatment products as it kills acne-causing bacteria in your pores.

It works particularly well for inflammatory acne — those pesky red pimples that contain pustules — rather than whiteheads and blackheads. Benzoyl peroxide can sometimes lead to dryness, so keep that it mind when using a product that contains this ingredient.

#8 Witch Hazel

According to the data, lots of people have Googled the following question: “What is witch hazel good for?” Witch hazel is actually a plant that has been used medicinally for many years. When used in skincare products, witch hazel soothes inflammation and sensitive skin and can also be helpful in fighting acne thanks to the anti-viral qualities.

#9 Niacinamide

If you haven’t yet heard of niacinamide, be prepared to now see it everywhere! Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 and is considered an essential nutrient. When it’s used topically in skincare products, it can help protect your skin’s ceramide barrier, which in turn helps retain moisture.

It’s also great for reducing redness and blotchiness and according to Healthline, can help ease skin conditions like acne and eczema. For those with oily skin, it can also help to regulate the amount of oil your skin produces. The Ordinary recently launched a Niacinamide Powder that can be easily incorporated into your skincare routine.

#10 Ceramides

Coming in at number 10 is ceramides — another ingredient linked to anti-ageing products. Ceramides are naturally found in skin cells and make up roughly 50% of the outer layer of your skin, says Healthline.

While your body naturally produces ceramides, things like age and sun damage can reduce the effectiveness and in the long run, this can weaken your skin barrier, according to Cult Beauty. This results in dry and rough skin as well as wrinkles and redness.

Products that contain ceramides work to reinforce your skin’s barrier in order to protect it from environmental aggressors. It also boosts your hydration levels, which makes skin look and feel firmer and plumper.

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