The 5 trending skincare ingredients you need to know about for 2021

New year, new you with these trending skincare ingredients.

trending skincare ingredients
(Image credit: Getty Images/JGI/Jamie Grill)

Stressed skin plus time on our hands has meant a surge in trending skincare ingredients in 2020. Fast forward to the year ahead, and brands will be be building on this skincare real estate. With that in mind, these are the ingredients we predict need to be on your radar... 

1. Copper peptides

For an ingredient that improves the production of collagen and elastin in the skin, copper peptides get very few column inches. In the best serums, copper peptides work as antioxidants and are also thought to stimulate collagen and elastin production, which can help to soften the appearance of fine lines and improve skin firmness. This multi-tasking ingredient already takes centre stage in The Ordinary 'Buffet' + Copper Peptides 1%.

2. Succinic Acid

Move over glycolic and lactobionic acid - there's a new acid in town and those of us suffering with breakouts will be snapping at its heels. Succinic acid is the buzziest ingredient for 2021 - hardly surprising considering its plethora of skin benefits. First and foremost, it's a gentle exfoliator that helps to unclog dead skin cells from pores. Second, it has antimicrobial properties and lastly, its antioxidant properties make it a serious contender for defending against pollution and UV rays. Keep an eye out for The Inkey List’s Succinic Acid Blemish Treatment, which launches in January (join the Cult Beauty waitlist here). But for now, switch to Elemis’ Pro-Collagen Energising Marine Cleanser as the first step in your routine.

3. Cica

News just out - Dr Jart+ is relaunching in the UK in the new year so expect the brand's bestselling Cicapair Tiger Grass range to get some serious hype. Powered by cica,  a K-beauty ingredient, this leafy green herb has been used in Asia for centuries to to treat wounds (even tigers have got in on the act by rubbing their wounds against the plant).  Being packed full of amino acids, beta-carotene, fatty acids, and vitamins A and C means cica gives skin both an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory boost, as well as stimulating collagen production. You can also find this ingredient in Dior's Cica Recover Balm Face & Body

4. Probiotics

Rewind a few years and the idea of applying probiotics to the face sounded like something only Gwyneth Paltrow and her fellow Goopers would do. But now that we know stressful situations can damage the healthy ecosystem of our microbiome (the skin's surface),  2021 will see more brands harnessing probiotics to thwart irritation by keeping the skin's pH low. In the mean time, Lancome's Advanced Genifique Youth Activating Concentrate is a solid option as it contains what Magali Moreau, principal scientist for Lancome at L'Oreal's Advanced Research Centre, describes as "broken-down peptides and sugar from the cell walls to feed the bacteria you already have on your skin, helping them to stay balanced." 

5. Blue light protection

A marathon Netflix session can result in pigmentation - bad news if you were one of the 60% of people who have spent lockdown glued to your screens for six hours or more, according to Unilever. Turns out, the blue high energy visible (HEV) light emitted by your laptop, phone or tablet can create free radicals and oxidative stress, which results in brown patches on the skin.  Increasingly blue-light-thwarting niacinamide has been popping up everywhere. Expect even cleverer technology to amplify its power alongside more wearable SPFs to ward off HEV.  Skinceuticals Advanced Brightening UV Defense SPF 50 is the current trailblazer.

Fiona Embleton is a beauty writer who is now Acting Beauty Editor at Stylist. She is obsessed with Isabel Marant and cats.