“In the future, we will see the ‘skin-care-ification’ of all beauty categories extend to bath and body,” says Jenni Middleton, director of beauty at WGSN, a trend-forecasting firm. “Customers will treat the skin on their bodies in the same way that they treat their faces.”
Believe it or not, the rising interest in body care can be attributed, at least in part, to the “all leggings all the time” lifestyle that started during the lockdown and has shown no sign of slowing down. “We’re ingraining athleisure wear and physical activity into our everyday lives like never before…and wearing more tight, technical fabrics that trap bacteria, dead skin, and fungus against our skin and create friction causes more people to experience body skin concerns like acne and ingrown hair like never before,” says Annie Kreighbaum, co-founder of Soft Services, a body-care brand that launched 2021. According to Spate, a consumer data organization that analyzes beauty trends, searches for “butt acne” are up 10.1 percent since last year, and searches for “keratosis pilaris” (another skin condition exacerbated by tight clothing) and “keratosis pilaris treatments” are up 4.3 percent and 28.6 percent, respectively, over the same time period.
Pandemic-induced stress has also played a role in the rise of body-related skin concerns, says Caroline Robinson, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in Chicago. “We know that a lot of skin conditions are not necessarily caused by stress, but they can be exacerbated or flare-up in a stressful environment,” she says. “So we’re seeing a lot of body acne, seborrheic dermatitis, and dry skin… and people are really struggling to control it with the same products that they have in the past.”
These factors, coupled with the rise in education surrounding skin care in general, have paved the way for body care to boom. “With social media, skin-care education is evolving at a very accelerated pace,” says Alicia Yoon, founder of skin-care brand Peach & Lily. “People are now realizing that skin is their largest organ, and that it extends beyond their faces.” With that in mind, the past year has seen an influx of new body products meant to address specific issues that have historically been seen as afterthoughts. “Because the conversation is evolving, people have all of a sudden realized that there are solutions for things on their bodies—like razor bumps, body acne, and keratosis pilaris—that they had previously thought there was no hope for,” says Yoon. Peach and Lilly launched its first body product, a keratosis pilaris-fighting “Bump Boss” body scrub, in August, and it sold out within 24 hours.
This is only one of many examples of facial care brands expanding their offerings into body care with ultra-targeted products. In February, K-beauty brand Boscia launched an acne-fighting enzyme body wash and a skin-firming serum. In August, Drunk Elephant released a body lotion infused with its fan-favorite alpha hydroxy acid formula, which works to exfoliate skin and fend off body breakouts. In September, Zitsticka, a brand that’s known for its acne patches, launched a body acne duo that comes complete with a niacinamide-infused cleanser that treats existing breakouts and an all-over exfoliant that blocks future ones. And in October, Hero Cosmetics brought its acne-fighting formulas into an entire body-care regimen that includes an exfoliating body wash, a clarifying toner, a purifying lotion, and a scrub. Next year, the brand is exploring opportunities to add additional products to its body-focused offerings.
Looking ahead, expect to see brands addressing even more issues with their body-care offerings. Soft Services is currently developing a retinol product meant to fight signs of aging on the body, which is expected to launch next year. In February, Dove will release its Body Love Cleanser Collection, which has six products that target concerns like acne, dullness, and signs of aging. Pharell Williams’ brand, Humanrace, entered the body-care category in November 2021 with two soaps, and plans to expand its body-care offerings into an “extensive line” in the future. And though Peach and Lily has no new body-care launches set in stone for next year, Yoon confirms that the brand is “continuing to look into products that meet other body issues we feel are underserved.”
In 2022, there will no longer be a need to simply accept the skin concerns happening below the neck—there will finally be products out there specifically designed to treat them. “The ‘all-over facial’ will change the narrative on issues such as body acne and hyperpigmentation, ushering in a new generation of treatments and products,” says Middleton. “Bath and body will become an extension of skin-care routines as consumers look to protect their skin from head-to-toe.”
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