Skincare trend-busting: Hanacure, probiotics for acne, CBD skincare, and more

The beauty trends that actually work (and some that don’t)

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Curology Team
Mar 12, 2019 · 8 min read

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We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

New skincare trends just keep on coming, blowing up your social media feeds with ads and sponsored posts. Even when you’ve seen those testimonials and pictures of models swearing by a skincare product a zillion times, it can be hard to know for sure if it’s a good idea to put this stuff on your skin. Besides, there are so many trends out there, trying them all can really break the bank! That’s why we decided to investigate which trends actually work — so you don’t have to waste your money and put your precious skin at risk.

Woman with gold mask

Brands can put out (sometimes fake) testimonials all day long, but that doesn’t mean their product is actually good for your skin. There isn’t nearly enough regulation of product claims and important terms like non-comedogenic in the skincare and beauty industry, so as a skincare company founded (and still run) by dermatologists, we’re always investigating the actual safety and efficacy of these trends. Below, we break down 5 top trends in skincare into the good, the bad, and the bogus.

1. Hanacure

You know that viral selfie of Drew Barrymore where her skin look super wrinkly? This face mask looks scary when it dries, but it supposedly leaves skin baby-bum-smooth after it washes off. In case you missed it, it’s exploded all across the internet, from social media to those targeted ads that seem to follow you around everywhere you go online. This K-beauty (Korean) skincare company makes a pretty bold claim: “achieve flawless skin in minutes.”

Man holding stop sign

Are the claims medically sound? Nope.

First of all, that “flawless skin in minutes” thing is precisely the kind of boldfaced claim that makes our licensed medical providers cringe. A mask may change your skin’s appearance immediately after you wash it off, but that doesn’t last. Age-defying ingredients need enough time to absorb into the skin cells in order to really work.

The Hanacure mask does contain antioxidants and moisturizing ingredients that make a short-term difference in the appearance of fine lines and skin texture, but the rest of the claims are unsupported by science.

Not to toot our own horn, but you’d be way better off saving your money for a dermatologist-designed custom skincare formula with active ingredients that are proven to work (*ahem*).

2. CBD skincare

You may have heard of CBD oil, balm, and lotion you apply on your skin to relieve pain or anxiety, but what about CBD to fight acne, fine lines, or wrinkles? Yep, that’s another use of the super-trendy component of the cannabis plant. CBD (short for cannabidiol) is an extract of the hemp or cannabis plant that’s legally available — even in places where cannabis isn’t otherwise legal — because it doesn’t have any psychoactive effect (i.e., doesn’t get you high) and is believed to have various health benefits. It’s rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory effects, both things we know to be beneficial for the skin. The various CBD skincare products available claim to help with skin conditions such as acne and eczema, as well as prevent the signs of aging in the skin; there are even de-puffing eye creams and lip balms made with CBD!

Jimmy Fallon image

Are the claims medically sound? Not sure yet.

There is evidence that shows CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects could help with acne, and that CBD may even help decrease the skin’s oil (sebum) production, but none of this has been proven by scientific studies (yet). There hasn’t yet been a study to support many of the claims about the benefits of CBD in the treatment of acne or in the prevention of aging-related changes to the skin. For now, it’s an interesting concept, and seems safe (albeit expensive) to try. It may take awhile for scientific research to catch up to the trend, so time will tell whether it will prove to be useful for skincare.

Another issue is that CBD is still largely unregulated, so quality can vary. Some argue that the CBD you can get from states where marijuana is legal will be more potent than the federally legal kind made from “industrial hemp,” a variety of the plant bred not to have THC (the part of cannabis that gets you high). For example, if you’re in a legal state and you get CBD oil from a dispensary, it may have small trace amounts of THC; not necessarily enough to make you feel high, but it’s the “purer” form of the plant. Some advocates of the healing powers of CBD argue that the kind extracted from hemp (the legal version that’s bred to not have THC) might be less potent than the kind from the cannabis plant. It’s still an iffy science, because there haven’t been a lot of legal studies, especially of the newer, stronger varieties of cannabis being produced in legal states such as California and Oregon. So we don’t quite know if CBD’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects really help the skin, but any benefits would depend on the quality of the CBD you get.

3. Probiotics for skin

We know probiotics are good for our gut — they’ve been a buzzword ever since kombucha’s bubbly rise to mainstream popularity. What’s good for our bodies is good for our skin, too. Do probiotics help with acne? Yep, studies have shown that gut microbes contribute to acne and skin health. But what about probiotics applied directly to your skin? It’s become a beauty and wellness trend in recent years. The reasoning behind this trend is that bacteria lives on the skin’s surface as well as in the gut, and probiotics introduce more of the “good” bacteria and reduce inflammation. Fun fact: we’re basically walking habitats for a bazillion bacteria. So it’s not too far-fetched an idea, but do probiotics actually do anything when applied to the skin’s surface?

Woman washing face

Are the claims medically sound? Not really.

As far as we know, there haven’t been any studies on the effect of probiotics when applied onto the skin’s surface. So until further research is done, it seems more worthwhile to take your probiotics instead of wear them.

It’s not a bad idea to take probiotics for acne—gut health and acne are definitely connected. Until there’s data to show that probiotics work topically as well, we’re gonna suggest you take them as probiotic supplements instead of slathering them on your face. Probiotic skincare products tend to be more expensive than probiotics you get in pill form, in kombucha drinks, or foods with probiotics such as miso, kimchi, sauerkraut, etc. Yogurt can be a good source of probiotics, but dairy is linked to acne, and some yogurts have a lot of added sugar, too. If you’re reducing dairy and sugar in your diet to clear your skin, there are alternatives to regular yogurt in most grocery stores, such as greek yogurt or coconut milk yogurt. Either way, always opt for an unsweetened yogurt with no added sugar.

4. Vitamin C 🍊

Vitamin C has become a popular ingredient for protecting and repairing the skin, with skincare companies such as Drunk Elephant, SkinCeuticals, and Dr. Dennis Gross having come out with vitamin C serums and masks. We know it’s good for our immune systems, such as to fend off a cold, but what about applied to your skin?

Vitamin C Jimmy Fallon image

Are the claims medically sound? Yes!

Applying vitamin C to the skin helps protect it against the sun’s damaging UV rays, as well as pollution and smoke. It actually reduces the damage caused by prolonged sun exposure, so applying vitamin C as well as sunscreen offers extra protection — and applying it after sun exposure can help, too. Its protective effects can last even after your sunscreen has washed off, because the skin drinks up antioxidants like vitamin C (just like we love to snack on the delicious fruits it comes in). Vitamin C also supports the skin’s collagen production! Overall, it’s an effective addition to age-defying skincare routines. Whether you get your vitamin C orally or topically (or better yet, both), it’s a good thing for your skin and your overall health.

Woman at award show in red dress

5. Custom skincare

Personalized skincare is a growing industry because, unlike mass marketed skincare products, they can be custom designed to meet each person’s specific needs. Just like you, your skin is unique, and it has unique needs! The problem is, it’s hard to know what your skin specifically needs without getting advice from a dermatology provider who knows skin inside and out. The custom skincare trend is all about getting a product that you can trust to work for your skin, without irritating it with unnecessary ingredients, all based on your individual skin type.

Are the claims medically sound? Yes!

The science backs up the idea that how your skin responds to skincare products strongly depends on its individual type, because each individual has specific needs based on their skin type. That’s why Curology exists: to provide convenient, high-quality, customized skincare at affordable prices. All you need is a camera to take selfies with and an internet connection to upload them for your consultation.

Besides yours truly, other companies have gotten on board with the custom skincare trend — but often at a much higher cost, such as Proven’s Personalized Skin Kit ($145), Skin Inc.’s Daily Serum Set ($89.88), and SkinCeuticals’s Custom D.O.S.E. ($195). Also, some customizable skincare companies are using AI technology to assess an individual’s skin and determine what it needs. We’re not about that — your Curology provider is a real, live, licensed medical provider who studies your skin via the selfies you upload and asks all the same questions a derm would ask in-person. Your custom formula is shipped to your door every month for about $20/month. How easy is that?

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Curology is for you

Sign up for a free trial at to get in on the custom skincare trend with a free one-month supply of the life-simplifying Curology set, including a gentle cleanser, light-as-a-cloud (but deeply hydrating) moisturizer, and your own custom formula. Your skin will love you for it. ❤

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