Is Single Ingredient Skincare Enough?

Recently with skincare taking the first row, new trends are taking over and we have all our eyes this time on single ingredient skincare.

Modern skincare might appear to be intimidating to many individuals with all the new formulations. But what’s taking the market on prowl recently are single skincare ingredients, which are peaking at the all-time high between, literally every skincare enthusiast. These pure power players can sometimes prove to be potent remedies.

Our skincare regimen might be all about the boasting of a handful of multiple ingredients but with components like retinol, niacinamide taking over the beauty standards, people are getting inclined towards single ingredient skincare products. Some of them need  moisturising or hydrating agents along with them, to benefit us in a perfect way. While others work single handedly great, when applied directly on the skin.

And to know it all, from their hows – to their abouts, we got on board with certified experts to muster everything, like A to Z of single ingredient skincare products. From the right way of layering to how to use them, here’s a guide for you on single ingredient skincare.

Expert Panel

  • Smita Baishakhia, Cosmetologist And Head Of Product Development, MyGlamm
  • Dr Niketa Sonavane, Celebrity Dermatologist And Founder Of Mumbai Based Ambrosia Aesthetics

What Is Single Ingredient Skincare?

“Single ingredient skincare in which there is just one active ingredient that is doing the main role. It does not mean that the formula contains just one ingredient. It means there is one main active one that is being used. Such skincare products usually has a high concentration,” Smita Baishakhia

Emphasising on the fact that single ingredients may be more helpful in improving the skin, Dr Sonavane explains, “Depending on what the ingredient is, it may improve one or more aspects of your skin health. The advantage of such products is that the ingredient list is minimal and clean, so you know exactly what’s going on as well as in your skin.”

Is Single Ingredient Skincare Better?

“Single ingredient products are ideal for you if you are newly starting off on a skincare journey,” states Dr Sonavane

For skincare enthusiasts, single ingredient products might be a great pick for layering products.

“If you are a pro at skin care, then products with a single active ingredient may allow you to create a very customized skin care routine. You may want to layer products with specific ingredients that work best for your skin problems,” she adds

While on the other hand, cosmetologist Smita Baishakhia believes that the skin type and skin concern plays an important role here.

” It cannot be generalised. The consumer can use multiple single active products. Handpicking the products based on skin concerns and actives, and then layering them accordingly can prove to be beneficial,” she says.

How To Pick And Use Single Ingredient Products? 

Identifying the skin type and your skin concern can help you in kickstarting a great skincare regimen.

“Always layer with a moisturising ingredient and finish off with a sunscreen in the day time. Multi-tasking ingredients such as AHA, retinol, niacinamide, vitamin C are what you can begin with. Pick one of these and continue using it for at least a month to see the positive effects,” explains Dr Sonavane.

Explaining the formulation of actives, Smita Baishakhia, says, “Actives like AHA, BHA and vitamin C are acidic and get absorbed immediately. These are thinner and should be applied first to the skin. HA and retinol are of high pH and are thicker, and should be applied later in the skincare regime. Moreover, skin concerns should be kept in mind.”

She further adds, “When it comes to acne and acne marks- first treat acne and then acne marks. The single active products can be used as day and night products individually. Day products should always be followed by a sunscreen.

Pros And Cons Of Single Ingredient Skincare Products.


1. They have fast action and quicker results as the products are potent and have high efficacy. 

2. Risk of sensitivity to skin is much lower. 


1. The chances of skin reactions are also very high if you happen to combine two extremely active ingredients such as retinol and AHA.

2. Some active ingredients such as retinol and niacinamide may not work well if used alone. Retinol needs to be combined with moisturizing and hydrating ingredients and niacinamide needs a mild exfoliator to make it work well. 

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Kritika Sehgal

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