Skincare trends: Flooding, cycling, mushrooms and ice ball routines are on the rise

UAE experts identify the ingredients, non-invasive treatments and daily rituals taking this year by storm

The use of ice balls and globes is on the rise among skincare enthusiasts. Getty Images
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Proof that the world of beauty never stops innovating, 2023 has already brought with it an array of new treatments, ingredients and routines with which to plump, hydrate and treat the skin.

TikTok is awash with products influencers are enjoying, and with awards season in full swing, new Hollywood trends are focused on achieving natural smoothing in place of fillers.

From the skin-plumping injectable Profhilo to the rejuvenating properties of Tremella mushroom, we sort the skin flooding from the skin cycling …

The main ingredients to look out for

Retinol and hyaluronic acid have been beauty buzzwords for the past few years. While they’re still considered vital skincare components, this year, there are a host of new ingredients to look for when buying new products.

“Tremella mushrooms will have a skincare moment in 2023 thanks to their healing, moisturising and rejuvenating properties,” says Sarah Battikha, founder of Dubai dermatology clinic Frame by Sarah Battikha. “A natural alternative to the ever-popular hyaluronic acid, this ingredient provides a massive amount of skin hydration and can be found in a range of cleaners, serums and moisturisers.”

Spirithoula Koukoufikis, senior medical aesthetician at Skinfluencer London, says: “Growth factors is the next big wave." Also known as cytokines, growth factors are naturally occurring proteins produced in various skin cells including human, animal and plant cells.

"There are products set to launch in March, which will revolutionise the industry," adds Koukoufikis. "These serums include growth factors, and they promise to rejuvenate and heal the skin, as well as improve the integrity of the skin and its barrier function. It is vital, however, that the growth factors are pharmaceutical-grade so that they have been formulated correctly and can affect real change in the skin.”

Chebula is another ingredient dermatologists are touting as one to look out for, with actress and director Olivia Wilde speaking about it on Instagram. “It is a fruit native to South Asia,” says Battikha. “The fruit extract and dried berries have been used for centuries in ayurvedic medicine and the ingredient is now making a strong name for itself across the beauty industry. It is super-hydrating and works to improve lines and wrinkles.”

New skincare tools and routines


Korang tahu tak benefit ais dekat skin tu banyak gila tau! Salah satu rahsia i kecikkan pori besar & eyebag hehe 😍 & bila skin tengah breakout mmg best gilaaa buat skin icing ni, skin jadi fresh macam pakai sheetmask ✨

♬ original sound - <3

The Korean skincare routine that has dominated the beauty industry for the past few years continues to win fans, but this year introduces a host of new methods.

“The use of tools has grown in recent years and, thanks to TikTok, ice balls are enjoying a moment,” says Edwige Gandin, a beautician at Pastels Salon Dubai. “They boost circulation and are really effective at increasing serum absorption at night.”

Amid inflation and the increasing cost of living, many influencers are paring back their beauty buys, focusing on quality, not quantity.

“Skinimalism — the stripped-back approach to skincare routines will continue to gain in popularity in 2023,” says Battikha. “Less is more is our recommended routine with three to four staple steps that are results-driven and allow your skin to thrive.”

Koukoufikis adds: “Rather than having 10 steps, which can be counter-productive as it can impair the barrier function, routines will focus on hydration using serums and anti-ageing products comprising vitamin A derivatives that do not cause negative side effects such as peeling and redness."

Skin flooding vs skin cycling

Two moisturising methods have emerged as effective ways to achieve maximum skin hydration: skin flooding and skin cycling.

“The skin flooding technique layers serums with the aim of optimally hydrating the skin,” says Dr Fadi Haddad, cosmetic dermatologist at Dr Kayle Aesthetic Clinic Dubai. “You start by applying serums that are humectants such as those with hyaluronic acid and finish the process with a heavier product such as a lotion or cream, which will trap the moisture into your skin.

“Skin flooding will grow in popularity and it is especially good in hotter climates such as the Middle East because it relies on less heavy formulations that do not clog the skin.”

Social media is awash with skin flooding, with model Hailey Bieber sharing on her YouTube channel: “My standard when I go to bed at night is that if I’m not getting into bed looking like a glazed doughnut, then I’m not doing the right thing. Find yourself a moisturiser that helps you look like a glazed doughnut at the end of the day.”

Alternatively, skin cycling is about switching up routines to focus on achieving different effects each day.

“Classic skin cycling is where, rather than applying the same products every day, products are applied with rest days and you alternate your active ingredients,” says Battikha. “By using products strategically with a less-is-more approach, the skin has time to repair itself and avoids irritation and inflammation that can occur by layering product on top of product.

“To level up to advanced skin cycling, you are personalising your skin cycling routine one step further. If your skin can tolerate retinoids and acids more frequently than twice a week, you can reduce your recovery nights and add in another retinol night instead.”

Non-surgical treatments

“There is an increasing demand for treatments that are non-invasive, rather than injectable treatments,” says Dr Inaam Faiq, an aesthetic anti-ageing dermatologist at CosmeSurge Hospital, Dubai. “This year, most people will be looking towards preventative treatments that improve the quality of their skin like radio frequency, infrared and laser. These treatments stimulate collagen production, which helps tighten the skin and reduce fine lines.”

According to Koukoufikis, fillers are out this year, to be replaced by a more natural approach to plumping skin.

“There have been a number of reports recently that have shown that fillers stay in your skin for up to 10 years,” she says. “This has caused an increase in demand for platelet-rich plasma and energy-based devices that lift and tighten the skin, as these are more natural solutions in the fight against ageing.”

Another treatment that's rapidly growing in popularity is Profhilo, an injectable that contains one of the highest concentrations of hyaluronic acid available. Injected just underneath the surface of the skin, it is considered non-invasive and disperses quickly, reacting with existing tissue to boost hydration.

"I personally consider this treatment to be a 'boosted-facial'," says Battikha. "Over time, it will also stimulate collagen and elastin, which will improve skin tone, hydration and the appearance of fine lines. The effects take three to five days to show and results last for up to six months, remodelling the skin to give it a plumper, smoother and firmer appearance."

What the experts are using

Edwige Gandin, a beautician at Pastels Salon Dubai, says: “I love the iS Clinical products. The Pro-Heal Serum has ascorbic acid, which is a potent antioxidant that also improves the appearance of blemish-prone skin. iS Clinical Active Serum is a powerful botanical serum that leaves the skin moist and smooth. The iS Clinical Cleansing Complex thoroughly cleans the surface and pores of the skin without stripping essential natural oils to leave skin soft and smooth.”

Faiq opts for the Filorga NCEF-Night Mask. "It contains 50 ingredients which work to hydrate the skin, increase its glow, and improve its tonicity.”

Battikha, meanwhile, says her go-to daily must-have is Augustinus Bader The Cream "for intense hydration and nourishment. Skinceuticals Phloretin CF is a multi-ingredient product that is a firm staple in my daily skincare routine. And Augustinus Bader The Eye Cream diminishes visible signs of ageing, damage and stress, and is super gentle around the eye area.”

Updated: February 15, 2023, 12:50 PM