The Biggest — & Most Fascinating — Skin Trends Coming In 2018

Photographed by Megan Madden.
You might not want to say it in a corporate job interview or list it on your Hinge profile, but we're of the belief that "skin care" fully qualifies as a very important hobby. After all, skin is your largest organ and your first line of protection against everything the earth might decide to throw your way on any given day — why shouldn't it get a big chunk of attention?
Of course, you already know the basics — retinol, vitamin C, and SPF are crucial blah blah blah — so make 2018 the year you go deep. Learn what your ingredients are really doing, tend to your microbiome, consider stem cell treatments, and you just might come out the other side with your best skin ever.
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Ahead, five product and procedural trends that the pros are excited about this year — and that'll put your complexion ahead of the curve.
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If there are people in your friend group with skin (and an inclination to make it better), you probably know just how buzzy microneedling and so-called vampire facials are at the moment — everyone's curious whether they live up to the hype and are worth the money. (But if you need numbers: Pinterest's 2018 trend predictions report a whopping 345% increase in saves for "derma roller" over the past year.) And yet, we're only just starting to see what these techniques can do.

Plastic surgeon Matthew Schulman, MD, says combining the two — microneedling and PRP — is one of the fastest-growing non-invasive procedures, as there is virtually no downtime. In addition to the face, it's also being used on the scalp as a solution for thinning and receding hair. He and dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, both predict something more novel in the future, too: microneedling patches. "They're being developed to deliver the flu vaccine and it is just a matter of time (although it may be years) before they target aging skin," says Dr. Zeichner, who explains that the patch will be made up of slowly dissolving microneedles impregnated with the active ingredient, designed to deliver it deeper than anything you could put on topically.
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If you want glowing angel baby skin, it may be worth getting over your aversion to smearing afterbirth on your face, as some of the most potent products and treatments coming out tout placental tissue and umbilical stem cells as the star ingredient. Why? "Stem cells have infinite growth and potential, and for this reason, stem cell-derived growth factors are used in skin-care products that target aging skin. These growth factors are messengers that encourage cells to grow and divide, so they help recharge old or lazy skin cells," says Dr. Zeichner.

You can go the topical route — MZ Skin, a new line by oculoplastic surgeon Maryam Zamani, MD, uses sheep placenta; Novo Solutions MD employs purified human umbilical cord cells; and, of course, plenty of serums on the market contain plant-derived stem cells designed to mimic human placenta — but those on the cutting-edge of dermatology and plastic surgery are finding human stem cells to be most effective when injected.

Plastic surgeon Rian Maercks, MD, uses amniotic tissue (sourced from women who sign a consent form authorizing the donation of their discarded umbilical cords and placenta) as a filler option in non-invasive facelift procedures he performs. "It can lead to improved skin appearance and generation of new healthy vascular tissue, for a long-lasting result that is actually the patient's own tissue. Using these natural human components gives a natural result in every sense of the word," he says.

Plastic surgeon Stephen Greenberg, MD, uses adult tissue stem cells for facial rejuvenation fat transfers, relocating them to areas on the face that show volume loss, agrees. "They provide a very soft, natural result that is often more permanent than dermal fillers," he says.
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Healthy immune systems produce antibodies when they detect the presence of antigens, which can be bacteria, viruses, toxins, and foreign proteins. If all goes according to plan, the antibody gets directed to the particular antigen, neutralizes it without damaging surrounding healthy cells, and you don't get sick.

Antibodies have long been used in medical research and application, usually extracted from the blood of rabbits (which is costly and far from cruelty-free), but now the skin-care world is starting to look at how to use the technology to treat conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and acne, according to Dr. Greenberg. "They allow for delivery of actives to the skin in ways not done before," adds Dr. Zeichner, who predicts they'll be used to reverse signs of aging in the future.

One new brand that's leading the charge is Adsorb Beauty, a skin-care line out of Japan that uses antibodies humanely extracted from the egg yolk of ostriches, which have one of the strongest immune systems of any living animal. The antibodies work by targeting ceramidase, an enzyme that disrupts your body's natural ceramide production and causes moisture retention levels to drop, so skin stays plump and hydrated.
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Yes, it sounds like something you'd call the IT department for, and the explanation of what the microbiome is (the natural colonization of bacteria that's found on the skin, according to dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, MD) doesn't make it any sexier, but paying attention to yours could be the difference between a clear, healthy complexion and breakouts, dryness, and irritation.

Microbes, bacteria, fungi, viruses, and itsy-bitsy, microscopic mites live on your skin — that's a fact of life. And while that might make you want to scratch your face off, don't, because the goal is not to destroy the “bad” bacteria — like P. acnes and S. aureus (which are associated with acne and atopic eczema, respectively) — and replace them with “good” bacteria. Rather, it's bacterial diversity, and a healthy balance of all the microbes — even the ones with a bad reputation.

Brands are making it easy to care for your microbiome by developing skin-care lines that specifically address the sensitive composition of it and don't strip your skin of the microbes it actually needs. La Roche-Posay's Toleriane line, for example, incorporates prebiotics as “food for bacteria,” based on the brand's research of bacterial diversity. Dermalogica is also working with bioactives that support the microbiome while targeting stress and environmental factors.
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Topical alternatives to injectable dermal fillers are saturating the market and will continue to get more effective in the coming years as the demand for non-invasive solutions increases, especially among millennials. On shelves now, look for Dior's new Capture Youth Plump Filler Age-Delay Plumping Serum, which combines hyaluronic acid molecules of different weights to target moisture levels on the surface and deeper into skin layers, and Demarche Labs' Fullfill Hyaluronic Acid Topical Wrinkle Filler, a highly effective line-smoothing serum that comes recommended by multiple derms.

In not-quite-topical-but-hardly-invasive news, experts are excited about innovations like Juvéderm Volite, a skin-conditioning hyaluronic acid gel which works on the surface level to improve hydration, uneven texture, and elasticity. According to Dr. Greenberg, a typical treatment involves about 100 tiny injections (this isn't your deep, cheekbone-lifting filler) and lasts for nine months. Currently, it's only available in Europe, but some predict it'll be hitting the U.S. soon.
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