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WTF are AHA and BHA?

(Source: Google Trends and Keywords Everywhere)

The Signal: The skincare sensitive community is getting specific. People are educating themselves on topics, including the differences between AHA and BHA — alpha hydroxy acid and beta hydroxy acid. If you’re wondering… they’re similar, but AHA is water soluble and works on the skin’s surface, while BHA is oil-based and penetrates deep into pores.

The searches don’t stop there: other chemicals like hyaluronic acid, retinol, l-cartinine, coq10, niacinamide, benzoyl peroxide, and tretinoin are getting hundreds of thousands of monthly searches, whereas vague terms like “acne cream” only get 40k.

The opportunity: People are becoming increasingly interested in what exactly they’re putting on their mug, with the subreddit r/skincareaddiction growing to over 1m followers and topping its beauty list. The community has been around for years, but saw a sharp increase in growth in 2018 when it began to grow at 1.2k subscribers/day, versus 416 in 2017 and 1-200 in prior years.

(Source: Subredditstats)

There’s more: Beauty brands that use marketing to educate and capitalize on this trend will get ahead. For example, specific brands like The Ordinary (whose slogan is “clinical formulations with integrity”) and Drunk Elephant have gotten consumer attention, with 6.6k searching for “the ordinary hyaluronic acid” and 9.9k for “drunk elephant retinol” each month.