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These are the most searched skin care ingredients of 2020 (so far!)

Have you noticed your skin care collection (and knowledge!) grow during 2020? Well, you're not the only one - 2020 seems to be the year of {skin care} and with good reason too. As we've all been spending more time at home, it was pretty inevitable that we'd all try and either kick-start or increase our personal focus on {wellbeing} but with so many many intelligent ingredients to pick from, beauty buzzwords to decode and thousands of Holy Grail products to navigate, it's pretty easy to get overwhelmed and not know where to begin.

So, to help you navigate your way through the weaving skin care maze, we’ve gathered the most Googled skin care ingredients of 2020. Scroll on down to discover all of the good-to-skin benefits of each hero ingredients as well as our personal favourites to add to your very own collection. So, without further ado, drum roll please...


Armed with a long list of skin care ingredients, we used Google data to discover which are being searched for the most within the UK during 2020. But it doesn't stop there, we've also answered the most Googled questions of the year as well as highlighting the benefits you’ll reap from each ingredient too. You can thank us later...


If you’re ahead of the skin care game, you’ve probably already bagged yourself a go-to product packed with vitamin C. With over one million searches this year, that's an increase of 204% from last year, vitamin C is officially this year’s most talked-about skin care ingredient– and it’s easy to see why.

Most Googled Question:"What does vitamin C do for your skin?"

Vitamin C is touted as one of the best ultra-protective, anti-ageing ingredients on the market, as well as being a reliable multi-tasker, it's also the key to maintaining a smooth, even, and glowing complexion. From uneven skin tone and fine lines to acne scars and general dullness, there is a good chance that vitamin C can help you out.

And while you're probably getting vitamin C in your diet, using {serums} and other topical products are the most direct way to reap these skin care benefits.

Our top picks:

We'll also always have time for Biossance's {Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil}, Omorovicza's {Daily Vitamin C} and Drunk Elephant's {C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream}.

Thinking outside the realm or serum's and creams? Why not try OSKIA's {Super-C Smart Nutrient Beauty Capsules} or Versed's {Found the Light Powder With Vitamin C}.


For those looking for the low down on this wonder ingredient head over, we’re about to give you the quick fix. Racking up almost one million searches – that’s double the number of last year – retinol is a must-have if you’re looking for a rejuvenated, radiant glow.

Most Googled question:"What does retinol do to your face?"

Retinol derives from vitamin A and works by increasing the rate of cell turnover in the skin, along with the production of collagen, helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines, pigmentation and even acne. Retonoids stimulate the production of new blood vessels in the skin which improves skin colour, leaving you with a healthy glow. We've also debunked all of those pesky retinol myths {here} too.

Our top picks:

From Indeed Labs {Retinol Reface} and Pixi's {Retinol Tonic} to Jordan Samuel Skin's {Retinol Treatment Oil} and Glow Recipe's {Avocado Retinol Sleeping Mask}, these are just some of our favourite retinol heroes.


Whilst we’ve long been hailing the benefits of coconut oil and argan oil, it looks like castor oil is stepping into the spotlight this year, with over 68,300 beauty lovers checking it out online. With 82% more searches than last year and a peak in interest around uses for eyelashes and eyebrows, castor oil is believed to help speed up hair growth, making it a favourite for homemade serums.

Most Googled Question:"Is castor oil good for the skin?"

Thanks to its versatility, we give castor oil a huge thumbs up! Packed with vitamin E, it’s a must-have ingredient for replenishing skin and helping hair stay healthy by boosting collagen. The natural oil is also well-known for its healing properties against eczema, dermatitis, rosacea, psoriasis, and keratosis pilaris. If that wasn’t enough, back in ancient Egyptian times, the oil was regarded as an immunity-boosting elixir and was thought to have many medicinal properties.

Our top picks:

We're obsessed with Briogeo's {B. Well Castor Oil} for hair and Charlotte Tilbury's {Legendary Brows} for a 2-in-1 make up and good-to-skin mutli-tasker.


Whilst there’s an array of acids on the market to pick from, hyaluronic acid is by far the most popular according to our data from Google. There have been over half a million searches on queries related to the benefits of hyaluronic acid this year, with over 65,000 for serums and moisturisers, which prove to be the most wanted products. Alongside hyaluronic acid, polyglutamic acid is also on the rise with 19,280 searches in 2020 in comparison to 9,280 in 2019 – which tells us this could be one to watch in the next few months. Polyglumatic acid holds up to 10 times more moisture than hyaluronic acid, making it a powerful hydrating ingredient.

Most Googled question: "What are the benefits of hyaluronic acid?"

With an increase of 400% in search volume, it’s pretty clear we all want to reap the benefits of this heavy-hitting ingredient. So, how does it work? Get a detailed lowdown {here}. As hyaluronic acid can hold a high capacity of water, it has the unique ability to retain moisture in the skin. Whilst our bodies already produce it naturally, we produce less and less as we age, meaning our skin can become dryer and lose elasticity, causing us to develop deep-set wrinkles. When applied to the skin, hyaluronic acid can help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and prevent new lines developing, whilst keeping your skin hydrated and healthy.

Our top picks:

EEK, this is a difficult one but we'd recommend Dr. Dennis Sross' {Hyaluronic Marine Dew It All Eye Gel}, Dr. Barbara Sturm's {Hyaluronic Serum}, Sunday Riley's {Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Gel} or Alpha-H's {Hyaluronic 8 Serum with Primalhyal Ultrafiller}.


With a staggering search increase of 138%, squalane is getting a lot of attention this year – with everyone keen to know what it is and where they can get some. The Ordinary’s {Squalane Cleanser} has earned over 22,000 searches alone, making this a power player in the beauty game.

Most Googled Question:"What does squalane do?"

Squalane is great for balancing oil production, providing just enough moisture to keep the skin clear and healthy. The antioxidants found in squalane also fight skin damage and free radicals, which can both accelerate the aging process.

Our top picks:

Apart from The Ordinary's Holy Grail clenaser, we'd recommend Biossance's {100% Squalane Oil} and THE INKEY LIST's {Squalane Oil}.


With over 370,000 Google searches, salicylic acid is storming the skin care market with a huge surge since 2019. There have been 182% more searches than last year! Proving to be a firm favourite, The Ordinary, appeared again in the list of related queries, with over 370,000 skintellectuals searching for their {AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution}.

Most Googled question:"What is Salicylic acid?"

Salicylic acid is a BHA (beta hydroxy acid) designed to {exfoliate} the skin and unclog pores. Once applied, it penetrates pores and dissolves the bonds between surface skin cells, making it a great solution for unwanted blemishes. Alongside this, salicylic acid can also reduces sebum secretion (which is known to make the skin oily and shiny) and reduce inflammation.

Our top picks:

You need to introduce yourself to PAULA'S CHOICE's {Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant}, Sunday Riley's {U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil} and Kate Somerville's {EradiKate Salicylic Acid Blemish Treatment}.


If you’ve ever had to deal with a major breakout, you’re probably familiar with benzoyl peroxide; as it tops the list of choice acne-fighting ingredients with 343,550 Google searches this year. You’ll find it in the majority of the {acne and blemish treatments} we stock, as it’s a great solution to keeping skin clear and healthy.

Most Googled Question:"What does Benzoyl Peroxide do?"

Benzoyl Peroide works to destroy acne-causing bacteria in your pores. It helps to remove sebum and dead skin cells, which can often lead to breakouts. It’s especially good for inflammatory acne that is usually colonised by bacteria, however, it can sometimes lead to dryness, so it’s important to pair with a hydrating moisturiser or serum.

Our top picks:

We highly recommend 10% Azelaic Acid Booster from {PAULA'S CHOICE}.


Witch hazel has been a skin care staple for centuries; and it looks like it’s going to be sitting on our bathroom shelves for years to come, as it’s still one of the UK’s most-loved ingredients. Whilst witch hazel is found in a multitude of products, from gels and ointments to moisturisers and cleansers, our research shows that {toners} are attracting the most interest, with 12,500 searches alone.

Most Googled Question:"What is witch hazel good for?"

What is witch hazel good for? What isn’t witch hazel good for? Offering both medicinal anti-inflammatory and anti-viral qualities, this brilliant botanical can work wonders for the skin and scalp when applied topically. From tightening pores, reducing signs of aging, and fighting acne, to soothing puffy eyes and reducing redness caused by breakouts, witch hazel does a lot more than it says on the tin.

Our top picks:

From Pixi's iconic {Glow Tonic} to Milk Makeup's {Matcha Toner} and IT Cosmetics' multi-tasking 2-in-1 concealer and spot treatment {Bye Bye Breakout}, these are our personal go-to's.


It may be a tricky one to pronounce, but what we all really want to know is, what this up and coming ingredient can do for our skin. Whilst it may not have the most searches overall, niacinamide has seen a huge spike as its popularity has increased – with 181% more queries than 2019. So, what is niacinamide? And how should be incorporate it into our skincare regime?

Most Googled Question:"Is Niacinamide good for acne?"

Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3, which is famous for having soothing and healing properties which are essential for treating breakouts. Extensive research also shows niacinamide works to protect skin from environmental damage and stimulates the skin to produce more collagen and hyaluronic acid. It improves hydration, reduces signs of ageing, diminishes enlarged pores, and significantly lessens skin discolouration.

Our top picks:

The Ordinary's {Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%} and {Omorovicza's} Silver Skin Saviour.


Alongside niacinamide, we’re all casting an eye upon anti-ageing formulas containing ceramides in 2020. Over 204,300 searches were typed into Google since the beginning of the year, with 24,000 looking for a moisturiser or cream containing ceramides. Alongside this, over 12,400 unique searches came from puzzled beauty fans who aren’t quite sure what ceramides are and how they can help us.

Most Googled Question:"What are ceramides?"

If you’re confused about ceramides, we’re about to help you out. Whilst our bodies produce natural ceramides, age and sun damage reduce the effectiveness and can eventually deplete them, which weakens your skin’s barrier. The results are drier, rougher skin, wrinkles, irritation, redness, and visible signs of dehydration. Skin care products containing ceramides will help reinforce your skin’s barrier and increase hydration - giving you plumper, smoother, firmer-feeling skin with fewer visible lines and wrinkles.

Our top picks:

We're obsessed with Drunk Elephant's {Lala Retro Whipped Cream}, Sunday Riley's {ICE Ceramide Moisturising Cream} and Dr. Jart+'s {Ceramidin Cream}.

Now we’ve covered the ingredients with the highest search volume, let’s take a look at those with the biggest spikes - as these could indicate some exciting trends in skin care. Using Google data from January to June 2019 and comparing it to January to June 2020, we’ve explored which ingredients have piqued our interest the most.

With more time at home in the last few months, the rise in searches for products containing clay suggests we’ve been indulging in more self-care and warding off maskne. Notably, Sand & Sky’s {Brilliant Skin Purifying Pink Clay Mask} received over 20,000 searches alone, with an increase of 119% from last year.

Bakuchiol has also seen an impressive increase, as the plant-based alternative to retinol becomes increasingly popular with those in favour of natural skincare products. Alongside this, firm favourites vitamin C and aloe vera have seen the biggest increases, suggesting many of us are looking for a chemical-free glow up.

If you’re looking to add one of these wonder ingredients to your regime, shop our full {skin care range}.

Emmie Thornhill
Emmie Thornhill Writer and expert

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