year in review

7 Buzzy Skin-Care Trends From 2023 That Are Worth the Hype

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Retailers

Skin care has had a year. And there is no shortage of dermatologists, estheticians, plastic surgeons, and TikTok girls with no medical background ready to dole out advice for your face.

All the people who rubbed jalapeño peppers on their lips to plump them can tell you that not all advice you find online is good advice. But there were some great new “trends” that helped improve our skin. So lucky for you, we’re here to tell you what was worth the hype this year, below.

1. The year of ceramides

After the exfoliation craze of last year, when we all zealously scrubbed and peeled our complexions in search of glowing skin, many of us were left with inflamed, irritated, and generally unhappy skin barriers (the outermost layer of dead skin cells and the top of your epidermis). That’s why 2023 was all about soothing and repairing the skin barrier so it could continue to seal in moisture and protect against potential irritants. To do this, look for products that contain moisture-attracting humectants, like hyaluronic acid or sodium hyaluronate, along with soothing and softening emollients, like shea butter or jojoba oil, and plenty of protective ceramides. If your skin is especially dry, you live in an area with low humidity, or your radiator is currently sucking all the moisture out of your body, topping off your skin-care routine with an occlusive product can help seal in hydration and calm an irritated barrier.

Repair your skin barrier while you sleep with this potent blend of skin hydrators, including urea, shea butter, hyaluronic acid, and sunflower wax.

A blend of plumping fatty acids and moisturizing ceramides help soothe parched skin for all-day hydration, while leaving you with a healthy, dewy glow.

For a lightweight repairing option, apply this peptide-rich toner before your moisturizer to boost skin hydration and nourish your moisture barrier.

2. The year of all those silly light masks

Skin care has become increasingly high-tech since stepping out of the doctor’s office and into the hands of eager beauty fans in 2023. LED therapy, infrared light, blue light, microcurrent, galvanic current — the options to lift, firm, and minimize fine lines with fancy at-home tools are endless. Lucky for us, clinical trials are now fairly par for the course when it comes to skin-care devices, which is a must in order to weed out the devices that are actually going to deliver the results you want from those that are simply a poor investment. Keep in mind that no innovative tool is worthwhile unless you’re willing to use it consistently (or as often as suggested). So before you commit and click “add to cart,” be realistic about your schedule and skin-care habits.

The tool that sparked a thousand TikTok tutorials (2.7 million views and counting), this pint-size wand utilizes red-light therapy, facial massage, therapeutic warmth, and galvanic current to fight facial puffiness and fine lines.


Promising to repair cells from the deepest layers of your skin, this powerful (and admittedly pricey) laser device utilizes epigenetic technology to prevent various signs of aging and leave you with healthier, younger-looking skin.

To sculpt, firm, and lift your complexion, it’s hard to beat this popular microcurrent device, which has been on the market for nearly 20 years and continues to amass fans worldwide. This year, the brand launched a smaller version, so you can stay snatched on the go.

3. The year we pared down our routines

Whether it’s product fatigue, the overly saturated market, or a concern about excess waste, people are looking to streamline their skin-care routines and cut out unnecessary steps. The days of 12-step regimens seem to be left behind us (although if that’s still your vibe, more power to you). And formulas that address multiple skin concerns are stepping up to fill the gap. Skin-care minimalism is way more approachable and straightforward — it touts less superfluous products, fewer harsh active ingredients, and an emphasis on efficiency to help your skin perform its vital functions at the highest level without all the extra fluff. Less is more in 2023, so consider this the ideal time to cleanse your beauty cabinet and eliminate everything except the essentials.

A quality face wash is still a must, so look to this formula to remove makeup and cleanse your complexion in one step without overly stripping or drying the skin. It utilizes hydrating ingredients like panthenol and glycerin for a soothed, supple finish.

No need for a million and one serums in your skincare lineup — this formula utilizes 17 actives to target redness, hydration, and barrier function for glowing skin.

Sunscreen is nonnegotiable if you want to protect your skin and prevent signs of premature aging. And this mineral formula contains niacinamide to help even out skin tone while also moisturizing dry skin.

4. The year we focused on our neck

Your décolletage matters. Skin is the body’s largest organ and treating its various needs from moisture to tone and texture has entered the chat in 2023. Rather than using formulas that are designed only for your face, or skipping a body-care routine altogether, brands have made figuring out a head-to-toe routine exceptionally easy. As a bonus, and given the larger packaging for most body-care products, many emerging brands are prioritizing reusable or refillable packaging. And some are even available on a subscription basis, so you never have to exit the shower and find that your favorite body lotion has finally run out.

Retinol remains a dermatologist-beloved ingredient for a reason. Now, the skin-smoothing and dark-spot-banishing benefits are available for the rest of your body with this 0.1 percent encapsulated retinol serum, which also combines peptides, alpha hydroxy acid, and glycerin to soften and hydrate the skin.

If a heavier moisturizer isn’t your thing, but you still want to maintain skin hydration, this serumlike lotion leaves your skin soft, supple, and glowing with zero greasy feel.

Plant-based surfactants gently cleanse your skin without leaving you stripped or dry, while a blend of Australian botanicals offers total body antioxidant protection for fewer dark spots and photoaging.

5. The year we shaved our face

Shaving your face received a major rebrand in 2023, and now there are even more dermaplaning tools to choose from. Removing your peach fuzz also has added benefits of physical exfoliation, which can eliminate dead skin cells, smooth your complexion, and help your foundation and concealer apply more evenly. Manual single edge blades are ideal if you want to stick within your beauty budget, or you can splurge on a powered device to remove unwanted hair. Either way, it’s never been easier to achieve baby-bottom-smooth skin.

This easy-to-use tool employs a single stainless-steel blade to make removing unwanted hair and dry skin seamless and pain-free. The safety grip also helps to prevent slipping while you glide the tool around your face.

With a custom protective case that fits the tool and replacement blades, this dermaplaning kit is ideal for busy travelers who want to maintain their smooth results on the go.

If you’d rather avoid wielding a sharp blade around your face and neck, this sonic speed-boosted device helps make removing peach fuzz especially safe and easy.

6. The year we became even more science-y

Growth factors continue to excite skin-care professionals from coast to coast. And now dermatologists are buzzing about the potential for exosome therapy to stimulate collagen production (that’s the protein that gives your skin a youthful bounce). Although the nano-size vesicles are likely years away from receiving FDA approval, exosomes have the potential to repair and regenerate skin at a deeper cellular level than we’ve ever seen before. Only time will tell if topical or injectable options are more effective. But for now, human growth factors that are derived from biotechnology remain at the forefront of skin rejuvenation in the anti-aging market. Just be prepared to drop a few hundred dollars to add these next-level products to your lineup.

If you can get your hands on this new exosome, peptide, and growth factor serum, you’re in luck — the formula is quickly selling out as customers rave about increased skin brightness, reduced fine lines, and smoother texture.

From board-certified dermatologist Dr. Chaneve Jeanniton, this potent bioactive serum increases skin firmness and elasticity, boosts hydration levels, and protects against environmental damage.

With clinical results that show impressive lifting and firming benefits, this serum utilizes patent-pending Micro Growth Factor Technology to deliver results in just one week.

7. The year of extreme microneedling

Interest in aesthetic “tweakments” shows no signs of slowing down. Since topical products can only do so much when it comes to achieving brighter, tighter, more youthful-looking skin, beauty fans of all ages are becoming well acquainted with the inside of their dermatologist’s office (or local medispa). Microneedling with radio frequency is one of the more popular options, typically offered in series of three or more sessions spaced several weeks apart. The treatment utilizes clusters of ultrathin needles to puncture the skin up to three millimeters below the surface while simultaneously delivering radio frequency down to the dermis. The goal is to produce microtears and thermal damage in order to stimulate collagen production for plumper, smoother skin. Painful? Yes. But all in the name of beauty, or something like that.

8 Buzzy Skin-Care Trends From 2023 That Are Worth the Hype