loader image
We use cookies to improve your experience. To accept cookies continue browsing, or view our cookies policy to find out more.
This year the global skincare market is estimated to be worth $134.5 billion and it is predicted to of grown to $180.3 billion by 2024. There has been a shift in consumer demand from older consumers to a younger consumer base who want to fend off the signs of ageing and achieve the “perfect skin goals” that are constantly plastered all over social media. We no longer want products that simply smell great and make us feel pampered, we want results.
With the ever-increasing surge in ‘scientific’ skincare, it can feel impossible to know where to even begin but to start, let’s explain what some of the skincare jargon actually means.

Clinically Proven:

This is what we want right? This product has undergone rigorous clinical testing and they’ve found that it works and does everything it promises? Sadly not. What it does mean is that the manufacturer has gathered a (usually very small) group of people to test the products and after a (usually short) period of time, asks them to report their findings. Sometimes they’re even paid to do so which could potentially suggest some bias. Unless the manufacturers are proudly displaying that they have scientific clinical evidence which robust studies to support their claims, usually that’s as “Clinically Proven” as most products get.


This term is can cause huge confusion as the term natural often means different things to different people. Sourced from plants? Contains nothing man-made? Preservative-free? In the UK there is no regulation over what deems skincare ‘Natural’, but the rule of thumb is that it contains 5% or more of the ingredients are found in nature. This stretches to ‘Organic’ too, another unregulated term that suggests that the majority of its ingredients were grown without any added artificial chemicals but nothing more specific than that.

Free From Chemicals:

Technically this is impossible. EVERYTHING is made up of chemicals whether they are naturally occurring or synthetic. This may be alluding to skincare that doesn’t contain preservatives.. but do we necessarily want skincare that doesn’t contain preservatives? It’s important that your skincare is as effective the day it runs out as it was the day you opened it, as long as you’re using it within a reasonable time frame. I think most of us would slightly begrudge it “going off” in a couple of days.


Skincare is less likely to cause a reaction. Always be careful if you suffer from skin allergies as there is no way to guarantee that a product will not cause a reaction.

Active Ingredients:

If a product contains active ingredients, it is biologically active and biologically able to affect the skin. Usually, the active ingredient will be listed with a percentage. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the higher the percentage the stronger the product, as it all depends on the pH levels in the acids. The lower the pH, the more active the product although this is likely to cause some irritation. Examples of active ingredients include glycolic acid, retinol and vitamin C.


A combination of ‘cosmetic’ and pharmaceutical. A cosmeceutical is a product that claims to have medical benefits yet there is no legislation to ensure they actually do. The benefit of cosmeceuticals is that they are usually only available through medical practitioners who have been trained to know which products to use for which skin types/complaints.

Admittedly this all sounds fairly pessimistic, but when women in the UK are shelling out an average of £482.51 on skincare a year, it’s important that we’re not just paying for the clever marketing that causes us to buy the products rather than results.

Our Recommendations:

Smaller Budget: The Ordinary

This no-nonsense skincare brand is tackling the skincare industry head-on. They quote using science, technology and honesty to deliver top quality products at a very reasonable price (serums start from £5). Whilst available from multiple retailers, it can be hard to track down certain products as they fly off the shelves. Another plus point, The Ordinary are completely against animal testing but this does mean that none of their products are available in China as animal testing is necessary for sales regulation there.

Bigger Budget: Neostrata

A brand that was developed by a dermatologist and has a heavily documented commitment to science. When Neostrata says it is ‘Clinically Proven’ they have the evidence to prove it through vigorous clinical studies. They’re so proud of their results that all of the research papers are published on their website, which is very rare. Neostrata has its own patented amino acid derivative Aminofil® which shows its dedication to skincare and anti-ageing. It is available through medical practitioners (we stock this in the clinic) and they have a wide range of products to tackle all different skin conditions. Neostrata is also against animal testing and won’t source ingredients from anyone who does.

Get expert skin advice

It can be a minefield and for anyone with problematic skin, it’s always worth having a skin analysis/consultation with a reputable clinic. At Rebecca Taylor Aesthetics we offer free, no-obligation consultations and draw up skincare plans with all of our patients. No one regrets taking care of their skin, but it’s easy to feel disheartened when products don’t do as they promised or work at all. If in doubt, do your research, read reviews and ask someone in the know.