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With TikTok revolutionizing how information is spread, it’s no wonder that TikTok skincare rose to prominence — especially during the rise of COVID-19.
As lockdowns became enforced, millions of people turned to social media to cure their prevalent boredom. With nothing but time on their hands, consumers had the schedule and the purchasing power to really generate a huge momentum that impacted the skincare industry.
Quickly becoming one of the most popular sources for young individuals when it comes to product reviews, TikTok proves that one of the most effective marketing tools is still “word of mouth”.
Especially as a large portion of beauty customers already rely on reviews before they make a purchase, the accessibility and entertainment that comes with TikTok skincare content make it all the more appealing to the masses.
In fact, Traackr – an influencer marketing firm – conducted a study that found that during 2020, TikTok users’ engagement with beauty and skincare content increased by over 1,000%.
Additionally, videos on TikTok tagged with “#skincare” have since resulted in more than 80 billion views.
TikTok Skincare’s Impact on Businesses
Thus, what arises is the huge potential for these skincare companies to profit from the mass marketing that TikTok skin care provides.
The Ordinary, CeraVe, and The Inkey List are all some of the most prominent examples that experienced substantial growth and popularity as a result of skincare reviews on the social media platform. So much so, that some even remain on backorder to this day.
TikTok consumer influence is a serious tool. Read more about the TikTok-made-me-buy-it phenomenon here.
However, while such brands have been receiving a great deal of coverage from TikTok, what Nicola Kilne – the co-founder and CEO of Deciem (The Ordinary’s parent company) – points out is just as important in the realm of business.
“I believe honesty has built our fan base,” says Kilne. “Word of mouth is important for us, but this wouldn’t work if we didn’t produce quality products.”
What Kilne shines a light on is that at the end of the day, quality items will always serve as the foundation of success. Marketing only enhances and lifts what’s already there.
A Shift in Education
Asides from the immense profit and marketing that TikTok skin care provides for these companies, what this also signifies is the increasing shift in where the next generation chooses to educate themselves.
TikTok provides the perfect balance of accessibility and schooling. With 62% of the platform’s users between the ages of 10 and 29, TikTok skincare demonstrates a generational shift that says products have to be both affordable and backed by science, especially in the skincare industry.
With access to dermatologists and/or aestheticians varying, having such professionals on the platforms helps to provide information and create a funnel of interest in making safe, informed decisions about one’s skincare.
Here’s a list of popular dermatologists on the platform:
- Muneeb Shah (@dermdoctor)
- Dr. Camille Howard-Verovic (@dermbeautydoc)
- Dr. Joyce Park (@teawithmd)
- Dr. Suchismita Paul (@derm4brownskin)
- Dr. Lindsey Zubritsky (@dermguru)
Read more about the top skincare influencers to work with and follow in this blog.
A Gray Area
With the plethora of information out there, it becomes a great deal trickier to navigate what is actually backed by real science.
Lines are blurred as TikTok’s skin influencers – or “skinfluencers” if you’re up to date on slang – may not be certified and lack formal qualifications to be giving advice on skincare, thus spreading misinformation.
In this regard, it’s important that as these influencers continue to leave reviews about different products, they’re aware of their limitations.
One popular example that arose from the social media platform was skin icing. Used to reduce puffiness and swelling through the process of rubbing ice cubes on one’s face, many videos were quick to only showcase the benefits of the trend.
However, according to the Cleveland Clinic, skin icing must be done in moderation. Failure to do so could result in broken capillaries on your face and actually increase irritation and redness for some individuals.
Part of TikTok’s charm is the entertainment that it provides. The fact is that content creators are not as likely to highlight the caveats when it comes to dealing with complex topics such as skincare.
Content creation, when it’s all said and done, has to be new and exciting in order to catch and maintain an audience’s attention. With the actual information for skincare and the science behind it failing to have novelty and likely already having been shared, the testimonials that are seen on TikTok may emphasize unusual skin “hacks” or “tips” in order to gain likes and follows.
If it goes viral, factual accuracy easily gets pushed aside for the sake of replication and participation in the momentum.
Creators have to exercise creativity. Unfortunately, the audience may lose sight of what is important for skin care as creators come to emphasize trivial things/steps that may not be scientifically proven.
And so confusion and the purchasing of unnecessary products ensues.
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Messy Motivations Caused By Marketing
Given the noticeable impact that social media has on the market, what TikTok skin care also sheds light on is the power that such reviews can have on product development.
Michelle Wong – a content creator and science educator based in Sydney, Australia – states, “Market sentiment definitely overrules science when it comes to brand decisions, and unfortunately, that means that misinformation can lead to products that are worse.”
Wong adds, “The phasing out of parabens due to misinformation has led to an increase in products containing methylisothiazolinone, for example, which causes a lot more irritation and allergic reactions.”
Thus, what’s demonstrated is that TikTok skincare has deeper, long-lasting consequences on the skincare industry than viral products or strange trends. What goes into a product can often be based on marketing reasons, rather than performance reasons.
While TikTok is a great platform for learning about skincare, it’s crucial to remember that everyone has different, unique skin care needs. Hence, seeking personalized professional advice when possible can be the best option – especially before trying new treatments in order to prevent unwanted reactions.
As society moves forward, appreciating TikTok skincare as a foundation for celebrating and acknowledging all the nuances and complexities of skin science is a step toward creating a more inclusive and progressive environment.