Jun 25, 2015

Skin in Sharp Focus


A new report on the global skincare market got our attention this week - partly because we like to keep our fingers on the pulse of markets where good healthcare communication is so important - and partly because, being an almost female team, we're fairly obsessed with skin, in a healthy way! As a PR and medical communications consultancy, we've been privileged to work for some of the most respected aesthetic beauty companies and skincare brands in the world. We always find it refreshing when great research and clinical standards pay off in terms of new product development, and when consumers recognise science and research as real differentiators in a crowded market.

Trust is of course a massive issue in this market. In the post PIP implant world, consumers need to be reassured of the safety and efficacy of their buying decisions. This makes public relations an increasingly important tool.


Dr Christopher Flower, Director-general at the CTPA who was interviewed for the report, points out that skin is a remarkable organ, yet we take it for granted, perhaps because see it all the time; it's inner-workings are less mysterious. Not only is skin the largest of our organs, it also does a very good job at keeps undesirables out (water, heat, cold) and good things in. It is also our 'flexible friend' allowing us to bend and move whilst still retaining its strength and structure. It even maintains its functions well into old age, although its elasticity has waned due to the breakdown of its so-called 'scaffolding' - proteins such as collagen and elastin.

Yet, whilst we may take our skin's functionality for granted, this isn't the case where its appearance is concerned: The way and speed at which someone's skin ages is probably the biggest clue as to how old they are, and as Western society favours youth over age, looking as young as you can for your age is pretty much universally desired. Certainly, this is reflected in the deepening of our pockets as far as skincare and cosmetic procedure spend is concerned.


This blog looks at how this money's being spent rather than why, which we'll leave to psychologists and philosophers, but as an aside, it's interesting to see that while Dove's campaign for real beauty continues to lament the prevalence of poor body image amongst women and girls, Estee Lauder has been turning this focus on its head. The company using neuroscience to prove the positive impact of New Dimension - its biggest product launch since 1982 - had on users. Their experts measured panellists' brain responses and nervous system reactions, and 91 per cent of the study group were found to experience a positive change in attitude after using the serum. Pretty clever marketing...


The UK cosmetics market was worth 8,438 million in 2013 (at retail sales price), one of the top five largest markets in the EU

  • Non-surgical procedures such as Botox and laser treatment account for 85% of the UK cosmetic surgery market, and are expected to continue to grow as older consumers opt for less invasive rejuvenation procedures
  • Social media photo sharing and the 'selfie' are powerful drivers in an image-conscious population. Women account for 91% of cosmetic procedures in the UK. They are also keener than men on the picture-based social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, rather than word-based LinkedIn and Twitter
  • 2014 saw the first fall in the non-NHS (private) market for a decade (7.9%) which some explain was a temporary correction following the post-austerity boom. However, a pick up followed by exponential growth is expected this year (according to Key Note, which uses trade sources and figures from BAAPS


  • At-home topical skincare treatments to boost facial volume and structure
  • Look East for new botanicals - kojic acid, extracts of mulberry, peony, liquorice, bearberry
  • Out Of Africa - moisturising and antioxidant: tamarind seed oil shea butter, argan oil, baobab and moringa oil
  • Fermented ingredients - garlic, ginseng, yeast - for anti-ageing, skin-smoothing
  • Essences - half way between a serum, toner and moisturiser - clear dead cells, refine wrinkles
  • Fizzy skincare - to lift dirt from pores and boost circulation
  • Focus on pollution-busting ingredients


  • Wondering how much sunscreen to use this summer? Most people underestimate, but the general rule is 1 teaspoon for each for: every limb, your face, your front and your back