Note that “skin care” and skincare” are two related words with different meanings and different uses depending on the context. However, because they sound and seem similar to one another, it is easy to mix them up or confuse their usage.
Skin Care or Skincare: What is the Difference? Which One is Correct?
Numerous day-to-day speakers and modern writers would argue that the difference between “skin care” and “skincare” is similar to the difference between the words “health care” and “healthcare.”
The two-word form describes the act of taking care of the skin. An example would read: “Martha is very particular when it comes to her skin care.” Meanwhile, the supposed one-word counterpart represents an adjectival form of “skin care.” Examples include “skincare line,” “skincare routine,” and “skincare brand.”
However, traditionalists would argue that the word “skin care” is the original and proper spelling while “skincare” is a more recent lexical invention akin to the emergence of words such as “website” to replace “web site” and “homepage” that replaced “home page.”
Dictionaries also add to the confusion. For example, the Cambridge Dictionary only has an entry for the one-word form and none for the two-word form. It notes that the word is a noun, and it refers to things used by an individual to keep his or her skin healthy and attractive.
The Collins English Dictionary has an entry for both words. It considers the two interchangeable and defines it as a noun that represents the act of cleansing and attending to the needs of the skin to keep it clean, healthy, and moisturized, among others.
Usage in Commerce, Media, and the Academe: Which One to Use?
Companies in the cosmetics and personal care industry, including manufactures and related service providers, would often use the one-word form. However, there are still some companies that use the two-word form. The same is true in different mediums of mass communication.
In the realm of academe, the two-word form appears more often than its one-word counterpart. Examples include the peer-reviewed and open access journals “Dermatology Research and Skin Care” and “Journal of Dermatology and Skin Care.”
There are still a few number of authors or researchers of journal articles who used the word “skincare” in their headlines or titles, as well as in the main body of their texts. However, the two-word form seems to be more common.
Nonetheless, there is no established rule and consensus as regards the difference between the two. It seems the two-word form is the more formal and traditional while its one-word counterpart seems more common when used as an adjectival word.
FURTHER READINGS AND REFERENCES