The exception? Sunscreen. “This should never fall below an SPF 30 and you must reapply often,” she adds. The amount of sunscreen you apply matters, too, as New York City board-certified dermatologist Marisa Garshick previously explained to Allure. “For the face, it is recommended to apply a nickel-sized dollop — the equivalent of two finger lengths, which is also equivalent to half a teaspoon, to the face and neck combined,” she advises.
Does skin-care microdosing work?
Let’s take a step back for a second. Do these lower doses actually deliver results? “A little is definitely better than not using skin-care actives at all,” Gohara clarifies.
Joshua Zeichner, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, seconds this and stresses that although higher strengths of retinol give rise to little more than a tingle for some, others simply can’t tolerate it. “Microdosing can be applied to any skin type,” he explains. “But it’s most useful for those who suffer from sensitivity or have a darker skin tone, which is prone to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, because lower concentrations can help keep the skin barrier strong.”
It’s a similar story with vitamin C. “Unfortunately, all of these fantastic actives can be irritating — vitamin C, the goddess of skin care, is no exception,” Gohara explains, adding that concentrations of around 20 percent can heighten your risk of skin irritation. “[I recommend using] closer to 10 percent.” Dr. Barbara Sturm’s The Good C Vitamin C Serum weighs in at a 5 percent concentration, making it a perfect product for microdosing actives. If you’re trying to cut back on new purchases, though, Gohara says you can also “cut the vitamin C with your favorite cream; this way, you pack the power without the punch.”
When it comes to exfoliating acids, Gohara only recommends higher strengths if your skin is congested. Otherwise, start small when prying away dead cells. Philosophy’s Microdelivery Resurfacing Solution is gentle enough for daily use, thanks to 4 percent AHAs and skin-soothing cica. “Not everyone can tolerate more than eight percent of AHAs,” explains King. “So cutting the dose in half is a safer route, especially for sensitive skin.”
Keep in mind, too, that ingredients work best when applied consistently. “Using a product your skin can tolerate every day rather than stopping and starting is the key to a successful outcome,” says Zeichner.
Skin-care boosters can also be beneficial
Microdosing also offers a middle-of-the-road solution for those who occasionally want to switch things up a gear with a mini treatment. Skin-care boosters zero in on specific concerns such as hydration, brightening, and firming. Kind of like a HIIT class, these single-dose daily ampoules are designed to be used for a short amount of time to reset the skin – while still keeping the barrier happy.
Zeichner and Gohara both stress that there’s nothing wrong with periodically pulsing or “microboosting” certain ingredients. “Some may speed up the production of collagen and elastin,” says Gohara. Packed with collagen-boosting peptides, the seven-day 111Skin The Firming Concentrate targets lax skin with almost drone-like precision.
Is microdosing the future of skin care? It’s a smart move if you have finicky skin or have never used active skin-care ingredients before. But there is one caveat. “You may have to adjust your expectations,” warns Gohara, who says that, while microdosing is effective, it may not noticeably minimize fine lines or even out skin tone to the same degree as a full dose.
Still, with pollution and product overload causing a rise in sensitive skin issues, perhaps slow and steady really does win the race.
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