Glass Skin, Mochi Skin & Beauty Trends to Watch in 2021

Ep 16: Glass Skin, Mochi Skin and Beauty Forecast for 2021

Chelsea: Hi guys, welcome to Dermatologist Talks: Science of Beauty. Today, we’re going to talk about part two of the Asian beauty trends that have dominated the skincare and beauty world, and what our predictions will be on the trends for 2021. Before that let’s do a throwback. In 2017 Glass skin first emerged as a K-beauty trend with celebs sporting exceptionally smooth, glowy radiant skin. The clear, poreless, translucent complexion was linked to the transparency of glass! Mochi skin from the world of Japanese beauty, on the other hand, dominated 2020 – which apparently – is all about bouncy, plump and supple skin.

What are some of the asian beauty trends we’ll expect to see in 2021?

Dr. TWL: I do think that glass skin and mochi skin, which were very popular last year and this year, are trends that are here to stay. Because, individuals are always wanting a smooth pore-less appearance of the skin. I do feel that is one of the commonest concerns that men and women have now. Especially in Singapore’s climate, where we are more prone to acne and greasy skin. In the past, I feel that dermatologists would have found it hard to really put on this label that it’s related to climate. But now we understand more about the influence of the skin microbiome, on various skin diseases, and especially on acne.

For example, we have known for a long time that propionibacterium acnes is the causative organism in individuals who suffer from acne. Furthermore, people who have acne also have secondary bacterial infections. Fungal acne is usually inappropriately described by lay persons. It really refers to an acne-like eruption that is caused by the yeast Malassezia. It causes pityrosporum folliculitis, which is inflammation of the hair follicle. That can look very much like acne, especially in individuals who have breakouts over the hairline, and the forehead area. All these directly relate to the variety and the predominant microorganisms on one’s skin. So, there is the healthy skin flora that makes up an ideal skin microbiome. 

Maskne and maskne treatment

Next, we have maskne because of the unprecedented COVID pandemic this year. With widespread mask-wearing we’ve certainly seen the effects of microbiome dysbiosis. Especially when it’s under an occlusive environment such as wearing a face mask. We’re also starting to reflect on the effect of environmental factors. For example, with Singapore being very humid and having elevated temperatures as opposed to temperate climates, that will affect the growth of microorganisms on your skin. So if you are acne prone, then these factors will certainly make a difference.  

Can you tell us what the difference between mochi skin and glass skin is? 

Moving on, one of the trends we’ve seen a lot is the glass and mochi skin phenomenon. Let me share a little bit more about the differences between glass skin and mochi skin. I think that five years ago, if you asked me whether this was just a fad, I probably would have said that it was a fad, as it wasn’t a very realistic goal. However, because of our increased knowledge of cosmeceuticals mainly from the study of the Korean cosmeceutical industry,

We have realised that there are a lot of molecules that can assist in creating this sort of complexion. The difference between glass and mochi skin is that mochi skin is supposedly more matte, while glass skin gives a dewy and glowy appearance. 

Nonetheless, I feel that something that is inherent in both glass and mochi skin. This is in both, the skin barrier is very healthy. So, if you are looking at a trend from the perspective of something which is not sustainable, then I feel that there are many things to address in this kind of labelling of the different types of skin that you can have. However if you’re viewing it as a reflection of true dermatological principles – in this case, we’re talking about the barrier function being very healthy and hence giving rise to this sort of appearance of skin. Then it’s more than a trend, and is sort of a skincare awakening or revelation.

What are some tips to achieve glass or mochi skin?

Molecules that can help you achieve a glass skin appearance, would be hydrating molecules. There can also be incorporation into CC creams and foundations. Hyaluronic acid, we’re familiar with that. Beyond that, I have been using polyglutamic acid based mist and serums in my skincare formulations. I think these work very well in our tropical climate. The science behind this is essentially that polyglutamic acid is a large molecule. It actually holds 5x more water than hyaluronic acid. By virtue of the fact that the molecule sits on the skin, it’s a humectant, resulting in transepidermal water loss. This can result in the improved appearance of your skin pores. 

The SilkPeel Home Medi-facial Kit utiliizes polyglutamic acid based solutions with potent antioxidants delivered via vacuum microdermabrasion that helps to achieve a translucent appearance of the skin, reducing the appearance of pores,

For mochi skin, there is an element of a mattifying effect on the skin with the use of sebum regulators. For example, we have been using zinc in a textile cosmeceutical in our Zincool mask under the biomaterials arm. Topical zinc has been used as an anti inflammatory agent for the adjunct treatment of acne. In addition, also for his ability to regulate sebum. All of that in total can interfere with the physiological functions of the skin. It can also give rise to a certain appearance that is desirable.

For me, I think it’s not idealistic. But the key thing with science is that you really need to keep an open mind.  Asian developed cosmeceutical ingredients have seen a huge jump in the quality, and in the quantity that are being discovered. This is with evidence from different research institutes as well. Something which I would have said no to five years ago, I would change my mind to right now because I’ve seen it. 

Traditional cosmeceutical ingredients for Asian skin

A lot of the Western dermatologists practicing in Europe and US are still relying on traditional cosmeceuticals like retinols, retinoids, or hydroquinone, the alpha-hydroxy acids, salicylic acids. They may be a lot more skeptical. Also because of the accelerated photoaging process in certain skin types like phototypes 1 and 2. Something that we’ve seen increasingly that is possible in Asian skin is a dewy, glowing complexion. The use of a right cosmeceutical skincare routine can achieve this. Additionally, from the use of correctly formulated foundations and CC creams with these hydrating molecules.

Furthermore, there is an increasing body of evidence which points towards these active ingredients. Especially botanicals with antioxidant properties. These are what are popularly marketed as anti-pollution skin care. The evidence behind the skin exposome as a large contributor in aging is very relevant in anti-aging skincare. All these can directly increase the radiance of the skin, and iindirectly because of the reduction in free radical damage. 

Retinols and retinoids

It’s also more than what we had traditionally advocated in using retinoids and retinols. These are synthetic molecules with a lot of irritation. Myself, I was not able to tolerate retinoids after I went into my 30s whereas, I was able to use it at the highest concentration for a good 10 years before that. Retinols and retinoids are not going to give you mochi skin or glass skin, but they can give you retinoid dermatitis. 

In fact, we have a term to describe somebody who has been on a retinoid and we can easily recognise it –  and that’s what we call retinoid faces. So, I feel that in science and with COVID-19 this year coming up. All of us are sort of compelled to get off our high horses. I feel that it is important to keep an open mind and where science points us to a possible beneficial effect, I think we should definitely entertain that.

What are some beauty products you will definitely be keeping in 2021?

Moving on to key beauty products I’m definitely keeping in 2021. I think it relates to what we’ve discussed so far. I feel that because the skin microbiome is such a relevant topic now because of maskne. Interventions that can assist in maskne will be something that is a keeper. Botanical, anti inflammatory active ingredients are far more appropriate for the treatment of maskne than benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, tea tree oil, or retinoids, which have traditionally been used and prescribed for acne. Topical antibiotics can cause bacterial resistance. For anyone who was struggling with at least moderate to severe acne, they know that after using a topical antibiotic for a while, it stops working. So I think that would be the first must-have active ingredient in your beauty product. 

The 360 Conscious Mask Bar is a gender neutral self-care concept centred on a universal compact Home Mask Bar System, with hyperpersonalised cosmeceutical essence vials delivered on a 3-monthly subscription basis right to your home.

Now, the second thing I feel is that textile cosmeceuticals are a must-have too. Obviously that’s a niche – we are probably one of the few companies in the world that are working on that actively. The Zincool mask and the CUIONS copper nanoparticle technology essentially relate to metallic nanoparticles that are incorporated in textiles. These continue to be released when they are in contact with your skin. This has beneficial anti-inflammatory effects on skin besides its ability to kill bacteria on contact. So it’s not antibacterial – and a lot of things can claim to be antibacterial – but bactericidal. Since we’re talking about microbiome dysbiosis, something which can function as an antibiotic to kill the bacteria, I think that will be very relevant. 

The importance of brand research

Polyglutamic acid, as opposed to just using hyaluronic acid or your ceramide moisturisers. I feel polyglutamic acid is something that will gain much more attention. Of course, there is a reason why it hasn’t been as popular as hyaluronic acid, and that’s because of the cost of the ingredient itself. However, for my work in cosmeceutical research, I’ve always found that the pay off for these more expensive, active ingredients is worth it.

I also feel that it is something that women have to understand. If there is a brand or product that is touting a cosmeceutical that is dirt cheap, it’s very unlikely to be of the same quality as a cosmeceutical product that works with scientists and dermatologists to assess the clinical benefits of the active ingredient. I feel that it’s important for women to understand that with efficacy you need research, testing and you also need quality active ingredients. So, it’s important to do your brand research. All that would be my best tips for 2021.

Ep 16: Glass Skin, Mochi Skin and Beauty Forecast for 2021
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