Skin and mood: Looking into the emotional wellbeing of consumers with sensitive skin

By Amanda Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

The emotional element of skin sensitivity presents opportunities for beauty and personal care companies to develop products that also improve mental wellbeing.
The emotional element of skin sensitivity presents opportunities for beauty and personal care companies to develop products that also improve mental wellbeing.
The emotional element of skin sensitivity presents opportunities for beauty and personal care companies to develop products that also improve mental wellbeing.

“Today, it’s all about health and wellness. Urban consumers especially are not just looking for physical wellbeing, they are very aware of their mental wellbeing too,” ​said Sharon Kwek, senior innovation and insights analyst, Mintel beauty and personal care.

She added: “With this attention and behaviour shift towards mental wellbeing, we see the opportunity in the beauty industry as a whole. You cannot miss out on this particular space.”

Mind over matter?

According to the British Skin Foundation, 70% of British people have visible skin conditions or scars that directly affect their confidence.

Kwek believes this provides an opportunity for beauty brands and companies to take an emotional approach to skin sensitivity.

“Traditionally, when we look at sensitive skin products, they have simple claims that relate to things like itchiness or dry skin. But it seems that consumers are looking for more than that now.”

She highlighted that this linked to the increasingly linked relationship between beauty and wellness.

“Emotions can play a very big role in skin sensitivity. We use beauty products, more often than not, because it makes us happy. Consumers want function and the emotional aspect included in tackling specific skin problems, to trigger emotional positivity.”

Kwek added that this is an opportunity for dermatological brands to differentiate themselves.

“There are many consumers with sensitive skin that look to dermatological brands because of the knowledge they have and the ingredients they use. But at the end of the day, ingredients are something that all brands are calling out. With their knowledge in skin care, all the more dermatological brands can approach emotional wellbeing from a dermatological perspective.”

Your body is an ecosystem

Additionally, consumers are beginning to understand that their bodies are a “complete ecosystem”.

“In the future, the beauty industry will have to tap into emotions as a way to maintain the overall body ecosystem. Brands and companies will need to explore beyond functionality and use emotional wellbeing to communicate with consumers.”

Kwek believes this will lead the beauty industry to look into neuroscience for answers.

“The brain is the most powerful tool we have and we will see the partnering of the skin and the brain in the future. Already, psychodermatology is starting to gain interest in particular. It started out in the medical space but it is now playing out in the beauty industry.”

Psychodermatology, Kwek elaborated, is the treatment of skin disorders using psychological and psychiatric techniques to “improve mood in a holistic way that will translate onto the skin facade”.

Disciple is a London-based natural skincare company for stressed-out skin, created by psychotherapist, Charlotte Ferguson.

Ferguson has seen first-hand how anxiety and stress can cause inflammatory skin issues such as adult-acne and eczema.

“Disciple skin care does not just work on the skin surface, because of its adaptogen-rich formulation, it actually allows your body to balance out your mental stress, improving your emotional wellbeing,”​ said Kwek.

Reconsidering fragrances

While most sensitive skin products tend to position themselves as ‘fragrance-free’, Kwek believes companies should reconsider the function of fragrances in a sensitive skin product.

“Fragrances are one of those that fall into the ‘free-from’ category. But today, many clean labels are using natural extracts to talk about fragrance. When we talk about emotions, fragrances play a very active, functional role in projecting and invoking positivity,”​ she said.

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