You must have heard that microdosing is a routine of reducing your intake of drugs to a small amount to minimise its side effects while reaping its benefits slowly. Did you know a similar concept can also be used for your skincare routine? We don’t need to convince you when it comes to using retinol or glycolic acid on your skin since they are the holy grail of actives. However, an overdose of such potent ingredients on the skin can harm the skin’s barrier and change the skin type, at times from bad to worse, especially if you’ve just started using actives. Experts believe that skincare microdosing can help avoid this situation. To learn more about this intriguing new skincare trend, we did our research and here is what we know.
What Is ‘Skincare Microdosing’?
The actives have multiple skin benefits, but they can irritate the skin if overdosed. Skincare microdosing is using low concentrations of active ingredients on the skin to increase its tolerance towards it. Small amounts of actives help your skin get used to the product without freaking it out. Including a low concentration of actives also reduces the risk of adverse effects if you have sensitive skin. “In order to achieve healthier skin, it is wiser to use a lower strength that is comfortable and be consistent with the routine rather than using a higher strength that disrupts the skin barrier,” says Dr Niketa Sonavane, Celebrity Dermatologist and founder of Ambrosia Aesthetics in Mumbai.
Ingredients That Can And Can’t Be Used For Skincare Microdosing
Using less product is not the goal but using a product with lower concentration is. Not all ingredients can be used for microdosing as they have different effects on the skin. Sunscreen (or products with SPF) doesn’t come under microdosing. Low concentrations will not protect the skin from UV rays and other environmental aggressors. Most actives can be used to microdose; the following are the actives to consider if you want to try the trend:
Vitamin C is known for its skin-brightening benefits and is one of the best anti-ageing ingredients because it promotes collagen production. A concentration of 5-10% of vitamin C can be used to start with to keep the skin hydrated and bright. It also minimises the appearance of dark circles and hyperpigmentation.
Many say that retinol is the trickiest ingredient for the skin to get used to, but it also gives the best benefits. It is a type of retinoid made from vitamin A that boosts skin elasticity and minimises the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. 0.25 to 0.5 % is the ideal concentration for microdosing.
AHAs are organic acids that exfoliate the skin over time and help in the reduction of dark spots and improve skin texture. They also prevent the shedding of skin cells in the pores that cause blockage. 5% of AHA can treat acne when used for microdosing.
This helps to reduce blemishes, blackheads and enlarged pores. It also improves hydration and contains ingredients such as antioxidants to help repair and help prevent signs of ageing. It is naturally anti-inflammatory, which makes it much kinder on the skin. The recommended amount for BHA, for skincare microdosing, is 1%.
“Other less harmful or less irritating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, zinc or vitamin E can also be incorporated in microdosing formats for easier usage and less contamination for the patients,” says Dr Sravya C Tipirneni, Consultant Dermatologist and Cosmetologist at Manipal Hospital, Bangalore.
Benefits Of Skincare Microdosing
“Those with honey and chocolate skin tones may benefit even more from microdosing. Because people with darker skin are more prone to hyperpigmentation with the use of strong actives,” says Dr Niketa. She further explains that the lower concentrations will keep the skin from becoming inflamed which, if unchecked, can lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Skincare microdosing also enables you to analyse what is happening to the skin during the process and monitor the results better. Additionally, microdosing encourages a sustainable skincare routine by reducing the need for multiple products. It is crucial to not introduce all possible ingredients together; instead, take a slower approach by introducing one active at a time.