pandemic skin trends

Did the pandemic age us?

From working from home to being limited to one hour outdoors each day, there’s no doubt that the pandemic turned our worlds upside down. But given that it’s shaken up our everyday routines, what effect has it had on our day-to-day skin concerns?

To find out, we’ve looked at what common skincare terms people are searching for the most, and how this has changed over the course of the pandemic.

  • Searches for ‘ageing skin’ increased 145% in 2021, while ‘wrinkles’ rose by 65%
  • ‘Sun damaged skin’ saw an 89% uplift from 2020 to 2021 as people spent more time outside
  • Mandatory mask wearing may have triggered an incredible 209% rise for ‘face acne’ over the same period
  • While ‘red skin’ fell by 48%, searches for rosacea – the condition characterised by red, flushed skin – increased by 98%
  • Searches for ‘dull skin’ have risen by 226%, while ‘dry skin’ rose by 80%
  • Collagen-boosting products have been particularly popular in 2021, with searches for ‘collagen’ increasing by 211%

What’s trending in the world of skincare?

skin trends chart data

Ageing skin: has lockdown aged us?

Signs of ageing - such as wrinkles, age spots and a decrease in skin elasticity - can be exacerbated by a sedentary lifestyle, lack of sleep and stress. Sound familiar?

Many of us experienced all three during lockdown, so it’s no wonder this translated to our online browsing habits. We found a significant increase in searches for ‘ageing skin’ (145%) and ‘wrinkles’ (65%) in 2021.

While ageing is a natural (not to mention privileged) process, the stress of the pandemic may have caused us to experience its effects on our skin earlier than expected - and seeing our faces in daily Zoom calls has most likely made us all the more aware of it.

Woman with clean skin

Your skin loses some of its essential nutrients and fatty acids as you age, causing dryness, wrinkles and dullness. Look out for skincare for ageing skin containing skin-plumping antioxidants, collagen-boosting omegas and hydrating Hyaluronic Acid. These nourishing ingredients help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and rejuvenate skin for a plump, healthy appearance.

Uncovering ‘maskne’

Wearing a mask regularly was one of many adjustments we all had to make. While the fashion world took no time in making it the latest accessory, face coverings seemed to quickly trigger flare-ups of face acne around the nose, mouth and chin – dubbed ‘maskne’.

In fact, searches for ‘face acne’ jumped by 209% from 2020 to 2021. But how can a face covering give you spots? Wearing a mask for long periods creates a warm, humid environment, which traps moisture and sebum, blocking pores and causing blemishes if your skincare routine doesn’t adjust - especially as stress is known to increase oil production.

Pai Rosehip Oil cleanser Pai cream cleanser

Reduce the risk of face acne flare-ups by avoiding heavy make-up, double cleansing your skin daily and using clean masks. You can also choose products that are mattifying to help reduce oil production if you’re noticing more spots on your face.

The rise of sun-damaged skin concerns

We all spent much of the first lockdown wishing we could enjoy the great outdoors more. Thankfully, once the restrictions were lifted many of us were able to spend time safely socialising outdoors and soaking up the sun.

While this has been a welcome step towards normal life, all that sun exposure can have a serious impact on our skin. Trends show we’ve been searching for products to soothe sun-damaged skin 89% more year on year – suggesting that in all the excitement many of us forgot our sunscreen.

Wearing a high SPF sunscreen daily will reduce the risk of sun-damaged skin. Applying after sun can also help to cool, soothe and moisturise burnt, sun-damaged skin, promoting healing and repair.

Redness vs rosacea

Often appearing hand-in-hand with sensitivities, redness across the cheeks and forehead is an incredibly common concern. While it’s largely genetic, red skin can be worsened by stress – something a great deal of people were feeling during the pandemic.

woman with skin redness

Despite its prevalence, there were fewer searches for ‘red skin’ in 2021, dropping by 48% - almost half. However, searches for the skin condition characterised by red skin – ‘rosacea’ – rose by almost 98%. This suggests that people have become more tuned in to their skin concerns and the conditions that could be causing them.

If you’re worried about sensitive skin or redness, use gentle products designed specifically for rosacea. These will be packed with anti-inflammatories to help soothe and calm. Rosehip Oil is particularly beneficial for tackling redness, as it’s known to help speed up healing and repair, while Ceramides help to strengthen the skin’s all-important barrier.

Did lockdown cause dull skin?

Lack of sunlight can cause dull skin, and given that we’ve spent a large portion of our time indoors, it comes as little surprise that searches for ‘dull skin’ increased by 227% - while searches for ‘dry skin’ jumped by 80% year on year.

Though sunscreen is of course a must when enjoying the sun, catching some rays can boost cell regeneration and collagen production as it delivers vital vitamin D. This, in turn, can reduce signs of ageing, plump the skin and boost hydration - something we’ve all been missing.

If your skin is looking lacklustre, it may be a side effect of lockdown, when getting a glimpse of daylight was a rarity. Glowing, dewy skin can feel out of reach for those dealing with dullness, but there are a multitude of products to give you that boost of hydration.

If your main concern is dry or dull skin, incorporate a nourishing serum into your everyday routine. Ensure that it’s specifically formulated for dry skin, looking out for naturally softening ingredients such as Jojoba Oil.

woman with healthy skin

Thriving after lockdown

Lockdown dramatically changed the way we live, but who would have guessed the impact it would have on our skin concerns? Now we’re trying to return to a sense of normality, it’s time to make sure your skin can thrive as much as you do post-lockdown.

Unsure where to start? Collagen is essential to retain youthful, bouncy skin, and collagen-boosting products are becoming increasingly popular; searches increased by a whopping 211% between 2020 and 2021. While reducing stress levels and wearing SPF will help slow the breakdown of your skin’s natural collagen supplies, massaging in a daily facial oil packed with Ceramides and Omegas 3, 6 and 9 will help to reinforce your skin’s natural barrier - giving it that healthy, plumped-up look for a perkier complexion.

For more tailored tips, an online skincare consultation can help you identify your specific concerns and find the skincare that works for you - making sure you can step into the rest of 2021 with confidence.

Source: Google Keyword Planner. Raw search volumes between 2019, 2020 and 2021 calculated as percentage to show annual search change.


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Concentrated actives that are kind to skin with no compromise on performance. Blend with your Pai moisturiser or serum, oil, SPF, body decide!

Concentrated actives that are kind to skin with no compromise on performance. Blend with your Pai moisturiser or serum, oil, SPF, body decide!

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