There’s nothing quite as disappointing as launching yourself into a new skincare regime, only for it not to yield the results you were expecting. But that’s not to say you should abandon it – the key to results is consistency. Think of your skincare regime like your workout regime – you wouldn’t go to the gym once a week and expect to get fit, and you also wouldn’t go five times a week and expect results straight away. It’s the same with your skin. You can’t double cleanse and apply retinol once a week and hope that will get you the results you want. You need to give your skin regular, daily attention, and you need to put in the work over time before you start to see improvements.

How soon will it work?

Some products do produce an instant effect. Take hydrating serums, for instance, which are absorbed into your skin and fill the outer layers with moisture, giving an immediate plumping effect. Moisturisers and serums containing light-reflecting particles will make skin look instantly more radiant, but that’s because they’re bouncing the light back from the skin’s surface. And exfoliating acids gently resurface the skin, giving rapid results -improving radiance often by the following day. But the real effects of skincare come with consistent use, which is a much slower process.

It takes weeks for new skin cells, which are formed deep down in the dermis, the lower layers of the skin. To work their way to the surface. In young skin, this process takes four weeks, but cell turnover slows down as you get older, so it will take more like six weeks if you’re in your fifties. But the pace at which you see change can also vary between ingredients, and retinoids (vitamin A) can take between three and six months before you start seeing a visible improvement in your skin. Many products that claim to change your skin by stimulating the growth of collagen or smoothing its texture will need time to work their magic for their ingredients to take effect and slowly transform your skin. So don’t dismiss a product just because you’re not seeing a difference after a week or two. Instead, use your products consistently for three to four months before deciding whether they are right for you.

Other things to consider

Don’t keep changing your skincare products

The key to getting the best out of your skincare – particularly out of products that are making promises to change your skin – is to take it seriously and use it like medicine. Don’t dip in and out of products, establish a skincare regime and persevere with it.

Be wary of skin ‘purging’

If you notice increased breakouts when you start using new products, your skin may be ‘purging’. This is quite common and is often the result of a product turning over your skin cells quickly and bringing oil and debris to the surface. Allow your skin to acclimatise, and it should eventually settle down, giving you the full results of the product.

Don’t go overboard

If you’re in a rush to see results, you may be tempted to slather on active ingredients in the hope that you will see changes quicker, but, in actual fact, this can do more harm than good.

Overusing ingredients like salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or retinol can dry out your skin, causing irritation and flaking. When this happens, the skin may also become red, inflamed, dry, and even break out in its reactive state. Just use products as advised consistently, and the results will come.

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