The Pros And Cons Of Single-Ingredient Skin Care
Is it really enough?
Awareness among shoppers about skincare ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and retinol in formulas has skyrocketed, leading to a lot of emphasis on single-ingredient skincare. Scroll below as we break down what’s what of the trend.
What Is Single-Ingredient Skin Care?
“Single-ingredient skincare is where there’s only one active ingredient in the product. Typically, we see that most skincare compositions have three to five active ingredients,” explains Dr. Chytra Anand, dermatologist and founder of Kosmoderma Clinics.
These formulas lack additional preservatives like phthalate and sulphate and only contain the main potent ingredient in the product. “This makes it more effective and simple instead of layering different products with different ingredients for different concerns,” says Dr. Jamuna Pai, dermatologist and founder of SkinLab.
How To Pick Single Ingredient Products?
Dr. Anand says, “The effectiveness of the single ingredients skincare entirely depends on what you’re trying to treat, so if you’re trying to treat dry skin, then using oil will help you. If you are trying to treat acne-prone skin, using a single ingredient like salicylic acid is recommended.”
It is paramount to use the right product for the right skin type. Dr. Pai says, “Ingredients like shea butter, squalene and virgin olive oil really help in moisturising and combating dry skin. Sensitive skin, on the other hand, would require mild ingredients like marula and coconut oil.”
Dermatologists say understanding your skin type and genetics are imminent. Ask yourself which category you belong to–is it Indian skin or oriental or caucasian skin type? Is your skin type normal, oily, dry or combination? Only by doing this can you choose a suitable ingredient and get the best result for your skin. Various skin conditions require niche active additives.
Oily Skin: Salicylic Acid 5 per cent or benzoyl peroxide lotion
Dry skin: Cold pressed oil like almond oil, castor oil or squalene
Sensitive skin: Rosehip oil or hyaluronic acid
How To Amalgamate It In Our Skin Care Routine?
Single ingredients are hard to stabilise in the lab with other active elements. “Vitamin C serum, especially L ascorbic acid formula, is one of the hardest to stabilise due to pH and photosensitive factors, making it a better stand-alone product. Typically, I advise this be used on clean skin in the daytime before applying sunscreen to help with sun protection,” suggests Dr. Anand.
Based on the kind of product being used, it may be either used first or layered on as the last product. “If one is using a single ingredient serum, it would be best advised to be used first. Likewise, a neutral oil or balm would be best used as the last layer in your skincare routine. All single ingredient products are neutral and keep the pH level of the skin maintained,” explains Dr. Pai.
Is It Better Than Multi-Ingredient Products?
Multi-ingredient products are power-packed with a combination of stabilised active ingredients to deliver results with less effort. Dermatologists recommend a balanced approach while deciding between single or multi-ingredient products.
In single-ingredient products, “The strength of the product may be more potent than a combination product. To use it daily can become quite tedious over time as you will need to use multiple layers of product, and this can become too heavy on your face and lead to clogging of your pores,” warns Dr. Anand.
Dr. Pai concludes, “Since it is meant to help replace usage of multiple products, they are also multipurpose. If chosen and used correctly, they can greatly simplify an otherwise extensive skincare routine.”
Alia Bhatt Photograph: Shaheen Bhatt