Editor's Spotlight

Trend Watch: the new face of acne care

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images \ (sefa ozel)
© Getty Images \ (sefa ozel)
Pimples, spots, blemishes. Regardless of what it’s called, acne happens. And it happens often; “95% of adults will experience acne at some point in their lives, according to recent data shared with Cosmetics Design. Now, a new generation of personal care brands are selling shame-free acne treatments and skin care products that acknowledge this reality.

As the beauty industry stretches to be more inclusive (with the help of indie entrepreneurs and progressive young consumers) what mainstream beauty looks like, who can achieve it, and which brands are well-positioned to gain and hold market share in any given category is changing too.

Niche brands like Squish Beauty, Blume, and Starface are changing the way acne is seen and treated. Brands like these are creating new products and new marketing strategies; and in doing so are giving acne care a whole new look.

Flower Power Acne Patches from Squish Beauty

At the start of August, Charli Howard launched Squish Beauty. The new brand’s hero product are it’s flower shaped acne patches, which sell for $14 (that’s a pack of 20 patches, along with a branded pouch and postcard). The brand is also selling a SquishKit, something like a beauty box that comes with the patches, cherry eye masks, a lip gloss, a hair tie, and the pouch and postcard.

The Flower Power Acne Patches are a combination of the acne treatment patches that are meant to be invisible or skin colored and the gems and glitters that are commonly part of a festival look (think Coachella). They make treating a skin concern into a decorative moment. It’s a product that changes the conversation about acne as well as the appearance and stigma of this skin concern.  

“From day one,” ​Howard told the press, “I wanted to use role models with real skin in my brand images - girls with acne, girls with scars, girls with cellulite - but who have voices and great personalities. All bodies are un-retouched, raw and real.”

Blume is advertising acne care by showing acne

The indie personal care brand Blume is also helping change the way acne is seen and treated. Blume recently launched an ad campaign called Celebrate Skin to sell skin care, including the brand’s Meltdown Oil for acne prone skin; and the campaign notably features people with acne. The photos aren’t of people looking embarrassed, upset, or aggressively trying to rid themselves of pimples in front of a bathroom mirror. They are, rather, images of women looking peaceful and stylish, women who also happen to have acne.

The brand’s campaign is not only catching the attention of consumers but of media around the world. Beauty Independent covered the campaign as did the online edition of Stylist UK; a sign that this sort marketing has the potential to resonate worldwide.

Blume was among the many independent beauty brands exhibiting at this year’s IBE NY event. You can read a bit more about Blume in this Cosmetics Design article​ about the event.

Hydro-Star pimple patches from Starface

Just last week, Starface launched with a single product: star-shaped pimple patches called Hydro-Star. Julie Schott and Brian Bordainick are the founders of Starface; and what they’ve created is a patch-style blemish treatment product meant to make acne care fun and a bit flashy rather than something that needs to be shameful and hidden.

Hydro-Stars, as the brand’s press materials describe them are “hydrocolloid pimple patches that absorb fluid, keep out bacteria, speed up recovery--and offer endless opportunities to turn your face into a constellation, if you so choose.” ​And a pack of 32 stars are selling on the brand’s own ecommerce site for $22.



Deanna Utroske, CosmeticsDesign.com Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.

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