Skincare, by its very nature, is a clinical category. Consumers expect efficacy, which can only be achieved by formulating and testing both ingredients and finished products in a controlled environment. In recent years, however, natural ingredients and a very large focus on wellness have driven the category to astronomical growth. NPD data shows that in the first half of 2019, 70 percent of prestige skincare’s U.S. sales gains were attributed to natural brands. While natural brands continue to be incredibly successful, others are helping to redefine what it means to be clinical.
Clinical brands focus their product lines around their laboratory-tested benefits and ingredients, and typically have roots in the fields of medicine, chemistry, pharmacy, aesthetics, and apothecary. In the past, efficacy was at the heart of these brands, and active ingredients promoting skin transformations was the product focus. But in today’s environment, with consumers voicing concerns over ingredient safety, these brands are blurring the lines between clinical and clean (brands that focus on safe synthetics and naturals).
According to NPD, nearly half of the U.S. prestige skincare market makes use of clinical ingredients, or those that have been created and/or modified in a lab. Superstars such as retinol, collagen, and hyaluronic acid are examples of clinical ingredients commonly found in skincare products. Clinical brands that are making public statements on clean ingredients are growing by a combined +100 percent. These brands create products that forgo harmful synthetics, while maintaining their clinical ethos.
Consumers will always look towards the experts to gather information. Doctor/dermatologist is among the top five information sources reported by U.S. consumers in NPD’s Women’s Facial Skincare Consumer Report 2019. As we navigate through the changes taking place in beauty, and as we continue to define what clean beauty really means, new opportunities will unfold for the industry.