Scientific skincare is blowing traditional cosmetic skincare out of the water

The Scientific Skincare Consumer and Market 2015-2025

Science confers credibility on skincare formulations.

Large unserved markets present opportunity to roll out scientific brands.

Dissatisfaction with legacy cosmetic concepts explains shift to scientific skincare.

June 2015

The emergence of scientific skincare as a new category illustrates a fundamental change in consumer beauty behaviour. Scientific skincare products will transform the entire market for the simple reason that skincare category dominates beauty sales.

Scientific skincare is highly medicalized. It uses new product formulations (such as dermal fillers) and new technologies (such as IPL) to deliver immediate and sustainable outcomes to the buyer.

Back in 2006 we first identified widespread demand for more effective solutions for the most common facial and skincare problems. Beauty marketing experts worldwide explained to us that women in areas as far apart as the US, Europe and China had radically new – heightened - expectations of skincare treatments and products. Consumers, dissatisfied with traditional cosmetic creams and their efficacy, were migrating to scientific skincare.

Legacy cosmetic concept brands did not spot this development because it occurred under their radar. Scientific skincare originated in the world of science and medicine far from beauty. In addition, it was pioneered by what were then innovative and niche players in the professional beauty channel - beauty spas and medspas. Many retail and mass market brands were simply looking the other way.

However, we appreciated the significance and potential impact of what we described as the “Botox Effect' ( our 2008 report) on longterm sales of skincare. This is because Diagonal Reports has been interviewing beauty marketing experts to identify changes in consumer behaviour and product demand ever since the company was founded in 1998. For more than a decade now we have been tracking just how innovation in medicalised beauty and scientific skincare is transforming the entire facial and body care market.

Sales of scientific skincare are increasing exponentially because they unlock a large unserved market. The numbers of women and men concerned by blemishes and signs of ageing can be counted in their millions and are growing (our anti-ageing skincare project). This development is democratising skincare – bringing treatments and products, previously the monopoly of professionals, within the reach of everyone. Affordability is boosting sales as competitively priced and simpler brands are being rolled out. These skincare brands are marketed as science - not beauty - allowing them to benefit from the credibility of science.

Is this a sustainable beauty trend? Yes. It is now unstoppable. Scientific skincare is scaleable and provides a unique opportunity for product formulators to roll out brands in new geographical areas and market segments. High growth rates in this category underscore the challenge facing traditional skincare products.

The scientific skincare market is fully explained in our Global Skincare: Consumer Behaviour/Regimes and Market Report 2015. Contact for details