“As soon as I learnt what microdosing your skincare was, I realised it is something I am already doing,” says Ngoc Bui, a 27-year-old from Pennsylvania. “I tried the 10-step Korean skincare routine when it was a big thing, but it was too time consuming and unsustainable for someone like me who doesn’t need every anti-ageing product out there.” Fed up of wasting expensive BHAs, and retinol creams that were too harsh to use regularly but reached their expiry dates before she could finish them, Bui began buying diluted retinol serums that can be regularly applied in small amounts. “It is more affordable, less harsh, and won’t cause breakouts if I skip a day or two in my routine,” she says.
A recent study commissioned by centre:MK found that the average UK adult spends almost £400 a year on skincare. The rise of microdosing encourages brands to create multi-functional products that dilute retinol concentration through the combination of ingredients and lower percentage products that can be used more frequently. This reflects an encouraging prioritisation of slower and more sustainable consumption across the beauty industry.
Retinol, a derivative of Vitamin A, is the most commonly microdosed skincare product. “Retinoic acid is a treatment for severe skin conditions such as pigmentation or acne, whilst retinol is used more frequently in the skin cosmeceutical world,” explains Chantrey, adding that both serve a similar purpose: “Retinol helps clear out the hair follicle, increase skin cell turnover and regulate oil gland production.” As a result, skin is less congested, helping to reduce breakouts, and looks brighter and clearer. Vitamin A derivatives can also impact skin wrinkles so retinol is often marketed as an anti-ageing product.
“(Microdosing) is more affordable, less harsh, and won’t cause breakouts if I skip a day or two in my routine” – Ngoc Bui
Claudia Kildow, a 23-year-old from Florida, started using retinol after researching how to smooth textured skin. Kildow always microdoses anything new she is introducing into her routine, to reduce the risk of irritation. “After a week of putting a pea-sized amount in my moisturiser at night, I bumped it up gradually,” she says. “Now I’m able to put a full dropper straight onto my skin.”
“Skincare is all about patient compliance,” Chantrey tells Dazed. “Some patients are super motivated and skintellectual – if I give them a complex protocol they stick to it, but for the ones that aren’t as motivated, we microdose.” For Chantrey, the secret to skincare is dedication and regularity: “I would always rather a patient be on a lower dose and use it more frequently than a higher dose that just sits in the cupboard and is never used.” Microdosing helps cement your skincare routine, trading patience for long term results. </…….