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UK women may be buying more skincare than ever ( Mintel  reports that you spent £1.15 billion on facial skincare in 2017, with sales set to rise by 15 per cent in the next five years) , but one of the key influencers that you believe affects your skin health is free and fundamental: good old fashioned beauty sleep. For 62 per cent of you, it’s considered to have the largest impact on the appearance of your skin, rising to 67 per cent for women aged 55 and over. Getting enough shuteye is deemed to be more important than diet (54 per cent of British women think that food affects how your skin looks), while 46 per cent of you think that how much water you drink plays the most significant role in maintaining healthy skin.

Mintel’s survey of the skincare habits of 1008 UK women aged 16 and above makes for fascinating reading for skincare fanatics and speaks of the trends, attitudes and concerns that prevail in Britain currently- here’s your roundup of what’s hot and what's not in the skincare sector.

Cleansers are big business

The double cleansing  message is getting through loud and clear: 92 per cent of UK women are currently using a facial cleanser. Which makes me wonder that the other 8 per cent are up to (shower gel? *shudders*). You love a simple face wash the most- it’s the cleanser of choice for 55 per cent of women, while  micellar water  has also seen a popularity surge: 19 per cent of you used it last year, while 27 per cent of you have added it to your routine this year. Bar cleanser  use has risen slightly from 24 per cent in 2017 to 27 per cent in 2018, and despite the evil eco-credentials, not to mention the fact that they don’t actually do the job too well, face wipes remain the second most popular cleansing choice, with 54 per cent of you using them regularly. Mintel analysts predict that this stat will drop once government policies to eliminate single use plastic based products come into force. If you can’t resist a wipe, choose one of these  biodegradable facial cleansing wipes  instead.

Traditional skincare steps are still sought after

Forget the essences , techie serums and ampoules - British women are content to stick with a day cream and a night cream, thanks very much. Day creams are the most popular skincare product after cleansers, with usage increasing in the past year from 59 per cent to 66 per cent, while night cream use has stepped up by around ten per cent.

You reckon that the sun is the biggest factor in premature ageing

72 per cent of you perceive UV rays to pose the most profound external risk to the appearance of your skin, above pollution  (41 per cent) and cold weather  (39 per cent). No risk of the latter causing you too much trouble at the moment, but there’s a certain irony in your great skin fear…

You’re in the dark about SPF

A whopping 40 per cent of you don’t know what level of sun protection to use on any given day, and just under half of you actually wear skincare products containing SPF daily. 39 per cent of you use a specific SPF, while 13 per cent of you use a moisturiser or makeup containing SPF . Mintel Associate Director of Beauty & Personal Care Roshida Khanom thinks that brands and tech could step it up to improve rates of SPF usage in the UK:

“Whilst sun exposure is considered the biggest external factor impacting the appearance of skin, usage of SPF on the face is relatively low. This suggests that despite knowing about the impact of sun exposure, many women are choosing not to protect themselves. Confusion in the sector could be a reason, presenting an opportunity  for brands to do more to help women understand how best to use sun protection on a daily basis. Young women, who are more likely to use different types of sun protection products on their face, may benefit from advice on how to layer their sun protection. Apps that recommend products to add to facial skincare routines on particular days, for example, could help clear up confusion.”

You’re wary of aircon

Despite many of us clamouring for air conditioning units in offices and public spaces up and down the land this summer, one in five women notice that it has a negative effect on their skin. That said, 31 per cent of you worry about the impact of hot weather on your skin. A happy medium seems to be your skin health sweet spot.

Dust is distressing

At least it is for the 11 per cent of you who suspect that dust is making your skin look more blah than beaming.

Blue light doesn’t bother you

Despite an increasing body of research indicating that the blue light  that’s emitted from electronic devices such as smartphones, computer screens and tablets ( HEVL light ) could cause pigmentation, inflammation and markers of premature ageing such as fine lines and wrinkles, only 5 per cent of British women are concerned about its impact. Mintel predicts that growing public awareness of the impact of HEVL light on our overall health may alter our perceptions, but for now many of us maintain that the appearance and health of our skin is most closely tied to our genes- 24 per cent think that our genetics determine the wellbeing of our skin. Time will tell, but putting a limit on screen time could serve to benefit our skin as well as our state of mind and sleep patterns- and we know how important you deem sleep to be…

Is blue light making us age faster?

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