Published on January 3, 2019

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Photography by Laure Joliet

We are ever curious beings who are always searching for more, and that includes the newest and greatest in skincare. To know the future is to know the secret to perfect skin, right? Well, according to a handful of experts and industry leaders, the future of skincare in 2019 is complex, based both on ancient science and high-tech, futuristic trends like epigenetics and stem cell reactivation.

“I think we are going to see the introduction of new, efficacious ingredients in the natural and clean category that have proven and beneficial effects on the skin,” says Kendra Butler, founder of Alpyn Beauty. “There is so much out there to be discovered. It’s time to really harvest the energy of these plants and put it to work.”

Expect skincare brands to start catering to your period too. A handful of brands have emerged making periods and period-altered skin easier to understand and help. Curious to know what the future of beauty looks like? These are the four skincare trends you’ll see everywhere this year.

Epigenetics

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Courtesy of Aenea

“We are all born with a genetic code that tells us how we are going to age; that code is unique to us and no code is the same,” says Damien Zannetou, founder of epigenetics-based skincare brand Aenea.

While that genetic code is predetermined, a number of lifestyle and environmental factors can have a huge impact on how we’ll age, too—think stress, pollution, radiation from our phones and computer screens, sun damage, and the foods we eat and drink. That’s where epigenetics comes in. It’s the process of altering the DNA sequence without actually changing the DNA itself.

It sounds rather high-tech, and it is, but it’s also a simple concept of targeting aggressors that commonly age skin. Giving skin a boost through epigenetics can improve its appearance and overall strength, by helping skin’s ability to combat environmental aggressors, like pollution and sun exposure, as well as everyday lifestyle choices, like dietary choices. Brands like Sisley, Estée Lauder, and La Prairie have recently launched products harnessing genetic-boosting field, but brands like Aenea were created to enhanced and improved skin solely using genetics.

“Advancements in skincare formulations are certainly moving in the direction of epigenetics, with ingredients such as epigenomyl and neurophroline that are used to enhance natural defense mechanisms against environmental aggressors and other genetic-related issues,” says Zannetou. Expect to see a whole lot more of the word “epigenetics” in 2019, says marketing firm Euromonitor.  

Embrace it by trying:

Aenea The Anti-Pollution Guardian, $265, is designed to strengthen DNA repair mechanisms and increase skin’s natural tolerance to UV light and pollution. Through the key active ingredient, Phytosan K, stem cells can stimulate the natural defense system to provide biological protection. (Fancy talk for smoother, more elastic skin and texture.)

Stem Cells

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Courtesy of Augustinus Bader

A stem cell medical breakthrough was the talk of the (skincare) town last year, and 2019 will only show even more growth within this remarkable field. Stem cells might not immediately make you think of glowing skin, but one man and brand will leave you thinking otherwise.

Professor Augustinus Bader has spent his 30-plus year career in stem cell and regenerative science, aiming to eliminate lifelong suffering of disfiguring burns. This research led him to scar healing possibilities, where he discovered the key to quick recovery is activating and orchestrating the body’s stem cells—aka reawakening dormant stem cells.

The same science that supports burn relief can also support happy, glowing facial skin—reactivating dormant stem cells in the form of wrinkles, acne, and sunspots. Dr. Bader believes skin can repair itself; it just needs a bit of a boost.

“I do think we will see an increased focus on skin health, rather than fillers or camouflage concepts, based upon increased physiological knowledge of the skins intrinsic repair needs,” he says. “I am convinced there is no shortage of stem cells in the skin, and we do not need to add anything. We just need to understand better how the human body works to be able to develop skincare products.”

It’s hard to believe the brand isn’t even a year old yet, as its popularity has been hit a fever pitch, but expect the brand, and the field of stem cell-based skincare, to only grow even bigger in 2019 (the brand name only continues to grow). If skin that repairs itself wasn’t enough of a convincer, 10 percent of profits from every purchase goes directly to the Augustinus Bader Foundation, which brings groundbreaking medical treatment to those who need it most.

Embrace it by trying:

Augustinus Bader The Cream, $265, is a high-tech daily cream that creates an optimal environment for the body’s innate processes of repair and renewal, visibly reducing the signs of aging and damage caused by environmental stressors, leaving skin restored and glowing.

Wildcrafting

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Courtesy of Alpyn

Wildcrafting (also known as foraging) is the practice of harvesting plants from their natural or “wild” habitat. When wildcrafting is done sustainably, generally only the fruit, flowers, or branches are carefully removed and the living plant is left healthy and intact.

What makes this practice so ideal for skincare is that wildcrafted plants have to fight harder for survival, adapting to the elements—and the surrounding environment—on their own. “This creates a more resilient plant,” says Alpyn Beauty’s Butler. “Wildcrafted plants are the Olympians of plants, in my opinion.”

More resilient plants translate to higher levels of secondary metabolites, which helps plants thrive in extreme climates, but it also helps deliver more nutrients into your skin when applied topically.

For Alpyn, its wildcrafted active botanicals are grown in over 6200 feet elevation in the mountains surrounding Jackson Hole, Wyoming, making them more resilient than plants grown in more forgiving circumstances. Those mountain climate extremes—cold, dryness, wind, and sun can moisturize and brighten deeper than other comparable products.

Embrace it by trying:

Alpyn Beauty PlantGenius Survival Serum, $68, is a brightening serum with a wildcrafted complex of wild arnica, chamomile, sage, calendula, and borage. Along with ethically found mica, bearberry leaf, and licorice root extract, the serum gently exfoliates to promote smoother skin and hydrate, while leaving the skin glowing and illuminating.

Period-Focused Skincare

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Courtesy of Knours

Hormones are one of the biggest factors in changing skin, says skincare brand Amareta. Most women can track their periods and hormonal fluctuations based on those stubborn monthly zits that pop up. Rather than standing idly by and dealing with the aftermath, a few brands are building skincare brands around the various phases of monthly cycles.

“Period-focused skincare is big because everyone’s skin is affected by hormones,” says Jeana Chung, VP of marketing and sales for period-focused skincare brand Knours. “We are all about women and helping them feel beautiful and confident every day—no matter what day of the month.”

Each of the nine products in the Knours’ clean-ingredient range is designed to be tailored to various points of a woman’s cycle for maximum efficacy. Its app will track your likely daily hormonal fluctuations and tailor product usage according to the four phases in your cycle and the most visible effects you’re currently experiencing. Any brand that makes your period and symptoms more trackable and attainable gets high marks, but one that then suggests skincare based off of that is really onto something.

Amareta is also focused on making period-altered skin easier, with more of a holistic, organic POV. The indie brand has 11 products dedicated to various stages of moon and hormone cycles and even a section focused on expectant mothers.

Embrace it by trying:

If hormonal acne is your main period-related issue, try Knours Skin Meditation Gel Cream, $36, which cools and hydrates irritated PMS skin. Similarly, Amareta Pure Peace Serum, $52, is an antiseptic serum that soothes and prevents acne and is ideally meant to be used for a few days two weeks before your period.