The 10 Buzziest Skincare Ingredients of 2020, According to Google

You would've thought spending more time at home and less time out and about in 2020 would have led to a more relaxed attitude about our physical appearance. Instead, with more time spent FaceTiming with friends and on Zoom calls for work and study, our collective thirst for clear, luminous skin has never been more real.

With a shift in the beauty industry away from makeup and towards skincare, and the idea of beauty being synonymous with optimal health from the inside out becoming more popular, skincare has become the alpha and omega.

In 2020, there are some skincare ingredients that have caused more buzz than others—from the familiar (vitamin C) to the less familiar (Niacinamide—actually just a form of vitamin B). The data proves it: a recent report from Cult Beauty revealed exactly which skincare ingredients have been most googled this year in the UK.

As you continue the search for your next skincare saviour, read on for the ten buzziest skincare ingredients of 2020, according to Google.

1. Vitamin C

The number one most googled skincare ingredient is one you've probably tried yourself. As per Cult Beauty, vitamin C was searched 1.2 million times, up 204% from 2019.

So why is vitamin C the ingredient on everyone's lips? It's believed to be an anti-aging, protective ingredient that helps to smooth skin and up the glow factor. For anyone struggling with uneven skin tone, acne scars, or the fine lines that come naturally with aging, vitamin C could be helpful.

You'll likely find vitamin C in serums and creams, but it's of course present in plenty of plant-based foods and has been a popular household remedy for the common cold for centuries. Fun fact: vitamin C is not produced naturally by the human body, but we need it to survive. Get it where you can!

2. Retinol

Searches for retinol doubled since 2019, with people curious to know what exactly the ingredient does for skin. Retinol comes from vitamin A and supports cell production in the skin. It also helps to produce collagen, which you'll know is vital to smooth, plump, youthful-appearing skin.

3. Castor oil

This vitamin E-rich skincare ingredient is believed to replenish skin and strengthen hair. It's all about collagen—the more collagen our skin and hair has, the healthier it is.

Those dealing with skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis will likely already be familiar with castor oil, as well as other multi-purpose oils you keep in the pantry (coconut oil, argan oil). Historical research has shown that castor oil was used in ancient Egypt to treat ailments and even to stimulate labour in pregnant women.

4. Hyaluronic acid

You've probably heard Eva Longoria talk about hyaluronic acid in TV commercials, but if you aren't among the millions of people who have googled the ingredient to find out exactly what it is, keep reading.

Hyaluronic acid is the most searched for acid ingredient according to Cult Beauty's data, and it's all to do with its ability to retain moisture in the skin. The skin needs moisture  and without it will become dry and less elastic, causing wrinkles and dullness. In skincare, hyaluronic acid targets the appearance of wrinkles and helps to prevent new ones from forming.

5. Squalane

Affordable skincare brand The Ordinary did well in 2020 due to their Squalane Cleanser, which Cult Beauty says accounted for over 22,000 squalane-related searches alone.

What is it? Squalane is intended to balance oil production and regulate moisture, keeping skin clear and healthy. It also contains antioxidants, which help to fight against free radicals that can speed up the aging process.

6. Salicylic acid

Another ingredient prominent in The Ordinary's skincare range, salicylic acid aims to unclog pores and help to purify the skin. It goes deep into pores and can even reduce sebum secretion—which is the stuff that makes skin oily—as well as reduce inflammation.

7. Benzoyl peroxide

If you've experienced serious acne at any point in your life, you may already be familiar with benzoyl peroxide. It has long been the top choice for skincare products that target acne, as it targets the bacteria in pores that causes breakouts.

It also works to remove sebum (the stuff that makes skin oily and shiny) and dead skin cells, which are often the culprit behind breakouts. As benzoyl peroxide works to remove oil, it can also cause dryness, which is why products that contain the ingredient are best used in concert with a hydrating cream or serum.

8. Witch hazel

One of the oldest skincare ingredients, witch hazel is a tried and trusted way to target inflammation and infection. Its anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties make it a go-to all-rounder, great for reducing signs of aging, treating acne, relieving puffy eyes and reducing redness caused by breakouts.

9. Niacinamide

One of two major forms of vitamin B3, niacinamide is found in skincare solutions that target acne, rosacea, uneven pigmentation and wrinkles. It's on the rise, with 181% more searches than 2019, and it's a popular choice for anyone wanting to protect skin from environmental damage.

Niacinamide also helps to stimulate collagen production, as well as hyaluronic acid production, and improves hydration—which, as we've learnt, is the key to having a youthful glow.

10. Ceramides

The tenth most searched skincare ingredient on Cult Beauty's list is another anti-aging saviour. Ceramides have become a popular ingredient in big-brand anti-aging creams, but many people are still unsure what exactly they are. We'll tell you: ceramides are fat molecules called lipids that help the skin retain moisture, providing long term relief of dryness and decreased skin sensitivity.

While our bodies produce ceramides naturally, age and sun damage can reduce their effectiveness and even deplete them, causing dryness, wrinkles, irritation and redness. In skincare products, ceramides aim to reinforce the skin's barrier and increase hydration.The goal? Plump, firm, smooth skin as fresh as the day you were born.

Enjoyed this? Ask a Dietitian: What Are the Best Foods for Healthy Skin?

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