The UK’s most searched-for skin care ingredients this year

By Becky Bargh 10-Dec-2021

Skin-intellectuals want to know exactly what’s in their skin care products – but what is the ingredient most popular garnering the most interest?

Salicylic acid is the top most-searched for ingredient among UK consumers

The UK’s most searched-for skin care ingredients in 2021 have been compiled in a new report.

Voucher business WeThrift has revealed that salicylic acid is the gold standard beauty ingredient among beauty enthusiasts with the most searches – averaging at 72,000 every month.

As one of the beauty’s industry’s leading antibacterial agents due to its ability to promote exfoliation, salicylic acid has been adopted for dozens of beauty skus across all skin care realms.

Institut Esthederm, Typology, ZitSticka and The Ordinary are just a few of the beauty brands to use the ingredient in their formulas.

Second to the acne-busting ingredient is a hydrating favourite: hyaluronic acid.

Averaging some 64,000 searches every month, the clear substance is a compound that is naturally produced by the skin.

With its main function to retain water it’s an ideal ingredient to use for skin that needs a boost of hydration.



Niacinamide took third place in the race to become the UK’s most searched-for skin care ingredient.

One of two major forms of vitamin B3, the cosmetics formula has been in dermatologists’ repertoires for decades, but has dramatically grown in popularity among skin care formulators.

Skin+Me, Facetheory, The Inkey List and Glossier are among the brands to adopt the compound in its formulas.

Skin-intellectuals have given rise to beauty brands revealing more about their ingredients lists

“The skin care industry has flourished over the past year, due to limits on in-person beauty services, mask-wearing requirements and greater online access to expert advice,” said WeThrift’s Trend Specialist, Nick Drewe.

“In fact, in 2020, skin care products accounted for 42% of the cosmetic market.

“Skin care sales proved resilient during the lockdown, as consumers priorities shifted and a life in at-home treatments became a very definite trend.”

He also said that it was “no surprise” that salicylic acid was crowned the top trending ingredient in the UK.

“Its [a] potent product for targeting acne, especially for blackheads and whiteheads. Its properties help to dissolve skin debris that clogs pores and acts as an anti-inflammatory that reduces redness and swelling in the face.”

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Read the top 10 skin care ingredients among skin care searches in the UK below.


  1. Salicylic acid – monthly search volume 72,000
  2. Hyaluronic acid – 64,000
  3. Niacinamide – 56,000
  4. Collagen – 55,000
  5. Retinol – 49,000
  6. Benzoyl peroxide – 42,000
  7. Tranexamic acid – 41,000
  8. Azelaic acid – 31,000
  9. Tea tree oil – 26,000
  10. Witch hazel – 24,000

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