The opposite to seeking out skincare with the highest percentage, or concentration, of active ingredients possible, micro-dosing is a skincare term you’re about to hear more about.
It’s a response to the highly active ingredients popular in many products that can incite skin transformation, but also have the potential to leave skin sensitised.
Recognising that formulation is nuanced, dependent on supporting ingredients and every skin reacts differently, here the approach is less-is-more, a slow and steady approach to the benefits of the likes of retinol that improves lines and wrinkles, rough texture and tone without discomfort.
Instead of overdoing it and going straight to potent, high-percentage formulas, deploying a lower percentage and applying regularly or daily, rather than every few days, is the micro-dosing approach that allows even those with sensitive skin to gain the benefits of some popular skin-improving ingredients.
Kiehl’s recent release Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum has gained attention for the approach also gaining traction in other brands.
“We wanted to formulate a retinol product that could be used every day from the start with minimal discomforting effects, while still offering powerful anti-ageing skin benefits,” says Kiehl’s Global Scientific Director, Dr. Nancy Ilaya.
“The formula includes a peptide to further support and sustain the repair benefits of retinol, and ceramides that release vital skin barrier lipids to help build retinol tolerance and prevent dryness. The precise dose of retinol can then be effectively delivered into skin to begin providing benefits without over- accelerating cell turnover or disrupting the skin barrier. “
Microdosing can be done with any ingredient that has the potential to be irritating or cause sensitivity. This can includes retinoids, exfoliating acids like AHAs and vitamin C. While there are specific micro dosing products emerging, the same approach can be taken by looking for a daily cleanser or moisturiser that has beneficial active ingredients, like Dermalogica’s gentle resurfacing Daily Glycolic Cleanser or brightening Biolumin-C Gel Moisturizer.
The trend has also extended to the aesthetics industry, where ‘Baby Botox’, or smaller doses of wrinkle-relaxing injectables at regular intervals is becoming a favoured approach, rather than more intense crease-freezing doses.