It can be difficult to know when a skincare product should start showing results, and visible results from using skincare products vary and depend on multiple factors. One of the most common mistakes a consumer can make is expecting to see results right away. Sometimes you will see results right away, sometimes you won’t. Below are a good set of guidelines to keep in mind when setting expectations from your skincare routine.
The purpose of a cleanser is pretty simple, therefore, results are mostly seen right away. Your skin may be dirty or you’re washing away your makeup for the evening—you see that immediately. Other visible results expected from cleansers, such as treating acne, may take anywhere from 2-4 weeks to see real improvements.
Toners are generally step 2 in a skincare regimen and have a few key roles to play. Not only does a high quality, effective toner act as an additional cleansing step to remove deep down dirt, makeup and debris from the pores, it also lays the foundation and preps the skin for serums to be applied, allowing for full penetration to deeper layers of the skin. A great toner also balances the pH and brings skin back to neutral and decreases the appearance of large pores and can also help the skin have better texture. Never use a toner that contains alcohol, however, as alcohol is counterintuitive in skincare, as it not only exacerbates acne, it also dries the skin causing it to look less hydrated and more aged. Toner results can be seen immediately in relation to smaller pores; however, acne related issues and better skin texture may take 2-4 weeks (or longer) to see improvements.
Serums are the darlings of the skincare world now and can produce a wide range of benefits for the skin. Some of these benefits include lightening of dark spots, minimizing acne and acne scarring, restoring brightness to dull skin, improving skin texture and reducing the appearance of large pores, not to mention the appearance of fine lines, crow’s feet and wrinkles. A serious, effective skincare serum can be very powerful and make real changes and improvements to the skin due to their capability of going deeper into the skin’s layers. Even still, it can take about a month or longer to start showing these impactful results, so hang in there and apply your favorite serum(s) daily if you want to be truly dazzled by them.
Think of a great moisturizer as your shield of armor in your skincare regimen. You wouldn’t build a barn without painting the outside to protect it, and neither should you skip this step at the end of your daily routine. Not only does your moisturizer protect your skin as a whole, it also protects the barrier function and supplies hydration to the skin. This is not only super important in the winter months, but also in the summer when UV rays and salt or chlorine water can severely dry out the skin and disrupt the microbiome on the skin’s surface. So, don’t skip out on this very important step all year long.
Exfoliating is so important and here’s why. Imagine trying to paint your nails over top of chipped nail polish already sitting on top of your nails. That’s pretty much the idea of what’s happening when you try to apply serums and moisturizer to skin that hasn’t been exfoliated recently. There are two ways to exfoliate the skin—one is by chemical means which uses peels and acids to remove the glue-like substance that forms in between skin cells, and the other is by physical means—using safe granular powders, brushes, soft loofahs or even lasers to rid the skin’s surface of pesky dead skin cells and sebum. For some, exfoliating is a must every other day, and for others it may be weekly, or every 4-6 weeks if you’re using chemicals or lasers to exfoliate. Whichever means you choose, it needs to be something you make time for as needed. Exfoliating is a step not only necessary for your other products to work more effectively, but one that is also seen and felt immediately. This one step can add immediate glow and better skin texture to the surface, so don’t skip it!
Retinol or Alpha Hydroxy Acids
While some may see immediate results with these types of advanced products, the types of issues they address are complex and reach far into the dermis of the skin (the lowest layers), which may mean waiting it out for weeks or even months. But with daily use, and proper protection using sunscreen during the daytime, you can actually begin to see fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, acne, and other skin disorders fade or even disappear over time. Consistency and using these products exactly as directed is key!
Because ingredients such as Retinol and Alpha Hydroxy Acids can cause temporary dryness when beginning their use, always be sure to use moisturizer and sunscreen daily.
Acne is a multi-faceted problem and can stem from several different factors, some of which are improper or lack of regular cleansing, touching the face with dirty hands and cell phones, lack of a healthy diet that’s rich in fruits, veggies and lean meats consuming less processed, sugary, junk foods and other common factors such as hormones and immune system disorders. Knowing what is causing your acne can take investigation on your part or even medical testing to show what’s happening inside your body. With that said, skincare products are only going to address issues that are arising from those external forces such as environment, diet, and personal hygiene practices, and can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months to completely clear up, so make sure you’re always diligent and consistent with your acne products if you want to see true progress. If skincare products are not helping, consider seeing a medical professional or a naturopathic doctor to find out if it’s something internal.
Skin is complex and has a multitude of reasons as to why it may not be up to par with your standards. That’s why finding a brand that you trust, that uses high quality ingredients instead of dirty, toxic ingredients is so important to your skin’s overall health. Stay focused and consistent with a great routine, and always remember to eat a healthy diet, drink lots of purified water and indulge in skincare rituals that will bring your skin back to its glory and good health. Here’s to better skin ahead!