The exciting and fun thing about beauty treatments and skin care methods is how they are constantly changing. Experts and researchers are unearthing new ways to fight the signs of aging (yay!) , battle the ravages of environmental damage and help us to have smooth, radiant skin. Living in Asia has exposed me to some of them, but, boy, was I surprised with some of these new trends.

Let’s take a look at three of the hottest trends in youth-preserving facial skin care treatments, featuring some rather surprising ingredients!




  1. Activated Charcoal

I thought charcoal was used just for barbecuing, but when used in skin care products, including face masks and creams, activated charcoal draws chemicals, dirt, toxins and other micro-particles to the surface of the skin. While the charcoal is not absorbed or metabolized by your body, activated charcoal powder is proven to absorb thousands of times its own mass in harmful substances.

“One of the central factors that has been proven beyond any doubt to cause premature skin aging is overexposure to UV radiation. However, other potential contributors to this process can include smog, pollution, cigarette smoke as well as other particulates in the air,” says Dr. Zoe Draelos, M.D., consulting professor of dermatology at Duke University School of Medicine.

Throughout the day, toxins like oil and dirt clog your pores, making them appear bigger. Activated charcoal binds to and helps remove the dirt from your pores, leaving your face feeling fresh. NOTE: I always use a gentle exfoliating scrub to clear away dead skin cells before I use any of my facial masks.

Experts say that the theory of activated charcoal acting as a magnet to attract and absorb oil and dirt is correct. “When dirt and oil in your pores come in contact with the carbon, they stick to it and then get washed away when you rinse,” explains cosmetic chemist Ni’Kita Wilson.

Like most things in life, you need to be careful not to overuse products with charcoal in them. There have been reports of activated charcoal causing mild constipation (yikes!).



  1. Probiotic Skin Care

Up until now I have only eaten yogurt for the probiotics for a healthy gut and because it tastes so good. But new studies have shown that a connection exists between bacteria in the gut and skin conditions, specifically the benefits of probiotics for protecting the skin against photoaging. In a previous article, I outlined the youth-preserving benefits of fermented foods, including probiotics, but a growing body of evidence now points to the value of topical probiotics for treating everything from acne to wrinkles and aging skin.

Essentially, probiotics are about restoring balance; using ‘good’ bacteria to cancel out the not-so-great bacteria which build up as a result of dirt and pollutants in the air. These ‘bad’ bacteria block pores and cause acne breakouts, but by allowing beneficial bacteria to colonize the skin, you’ll be reducing irritation and inflammation. The Journal of Cosmetic Science found that a solution containing 5 percent lactobacillus – commonly found in yogurt – was effective at treating acne.

Further studies are being carried out on the skin care benefits of bacteria, including lactobacillus and bifidobacterium, and you can expect the market to be inundated with more brands featuring probiotic ingredients in their products. “Brands already have us rethinking traditional cleansing and skincare regimes, and we expect this category to snowball in 2017 as product innovation continues,” says Chrissy Hilton-Gee, senior beauty researcher at trendstop.com.


  1. Snail Secretions

If you can’t handle the thought of eating escargot, I am not sure how you will feel about this one. But try not to let this one gross you out.  The use of snails as part of a skin care routine is not new – ancient Greeks were using crushed up snails in ointments to heal skin thousands of years ago. Even my Chilean-French beautician Gloria Salinas told me today that slugs have been used in skincare in her country for hundreds of years. You can thank recent Korean beauty trends for the re-emergence of snail skin care, and thankfully for us (and the snails) modern methods no longer involve crushing the snails. You may also be pleased to learn skin care products featuring snail slime don’t smell disgusting, and they look and feel like regular, non-snail-based products.

The demand for snail slime is growing, with Italy being seen as a key player in the market, producing 44,000 tons of snails every year. “In the last ten months alone, we’ve seen a 46 percent increase in snail slime, due to demand from the cosmetics industry,” says Simone Sampo, the president of Italy’s National Heliciculture Association. FYI, no snails are harmed in this process and are even fed a plant-based diet!

The technical term for the beneficial element of snail slime is mucin, and it’s this heavily glycosylated protein that is the key to its popularity. “Much in the way that their mucin protects their delicate little snail feet from environmental hazards such as rough surfaces, bacteria and UV-rays and keeps them moist in dry conditions, many of the nutrients in snail mucin can also be absorbed by our skin for similar effects,” says the team at MISSHA, a beauty and skin care company based in Korea. “Regular use of snail mucin has been shown to fade acne scars and hyperpigmentation, moisturize and firm skin, clear complexion, and minimize pores.” Now the French have another reason to love escargot.