How Long Does It Take for Skincare to Work?

How Long Does It Take for Skincare to Work
Even if you nail the order of your morning skincare routine perfectly, it won’t necessarily make a difference if the products aren’t well suited to your skin or you don’t give them enough time to work. So how do you know if you need to be patient, or if it’s time to swap your serum for a more effective product that will actually make a difference in your skin? Read on to discover how quickly you can expect to see results from 11 different skincare products, plus six practical tips to help you choose skincare that will work for you.

How Long Does It Take for Skincare to Work?

How long it takes a skin product to work depends on a number of factors, including the kind of product, your skin type, your skin concerns, how consistently you use the product, and how strong the concentration of ingredients is. That being said, there are some general guidelines to keep in mind in terms of how quickly each kind of product tends to work. Here’s how quickly you can expect to start seeing results with 11 different types of skincare products:

Cleansers: Immediately to four weeks

When trying out a new facial cleanser, your skin should immediately feel clean and refreshed as soon as you rinse it away. You should also see improvements in your complexion the longer that you use the cleanser, which typically peak and then level out around four weeks. If you are using the right cleanser for your skin, you should notice less dullness and clogged pores and a smoother complexion overall if it’s working for you.

Exfoliators: Immediately to four weeks

Exfoliators are an extremely gratifying skin care product to use, because they will make your skin feel instantly smoother as soon as you use it. You should immediately notice a reduction in flakiness and peeling and a smoother and more even complexion the first time you use it. These effects will continue to compound the longer that you use the exfoliate, and you should notice a big improvement in your skin within about four weeks as long as you use it consistently

Moisturizers: Immediately to two weeks

Moisturizers are another skincare product that will instantly improve your skin. You should immediately notice that your skin feels less dry and more nourished as soon as you apply the moisturizer for the first time. As you continue to use the skin tightening cream over the next couple weeks, your skin should look plumper and glow more as your moisturizer balances out your natural oil production. Watch out for overly greasy skin or clogged pores, which is a sign that the moisturizer you are using is too thick for your skin type.

skincare results how quickly see results

Hydrating Serums: Immediately

A hydrating serum like our Ultra Hydrating Serum will go to work instantly, soothing, dryness, and helping your skin to a pair more plump. If you struggle with chronically dry and dehydrated skin, you should also continue to see improvements the longer you continue to use the hydrating serum.

Retinol: Two to six months

While you can get amazing results with retinol, it does take patience: It can take anywhere from two to six months to start seeing improvements in your complexion. Gentler derivatives such as retinoids and lower complexion concentrations will take longer to see results than a stronger retinol product with a higher concentration. You will see the fastest results with prescription-strength retinol, but that can be less accessible and also sometimes too irritating to people’s skin. A product such as Lancer Skincare’s Advanced Retinol Treatment can help you get effective results without the adjustment period.

Vitamin C: One to two months

Vitamin C supports a smoother and brighter complexion, and it can help to fade dark spots when used consistently over time. You should see additional old initial brightening effects from vitamin C within the first one to two months. However, it can take longer for vitamin C to lighten dark spots, especially if you aren’t using it in conjunction with a retinol or other dark spot treatments. For best results, apply vitamin C in the morning so that the antioxidants will protect your skin from free radical damage during the day.

Face Masks: Immediately

The whole point of these masks is for them to instantly improve your skin with just a few minutes of application, so you should see results instantly if the facemask is working for your skin. The effects of the face mask will depend on what type it is, such as hydrating and calming or exfoliating and brightening. The results of a face mask are usually more temporary and less noticeable than skin care that you consistently use for weeks or months, but they can be a fun addition to your skincare routine, and a great way to give your skin an immediate boost.

Eye Creams: One to two months

Eye creams are formulated with a lower percentage of actives so they don’t harm the delicate skin around the eyes, which means that they take longer to work than some products that you might apply to other areas of your face. You should start to see preliminary results within one to two months of using an eye cream, and the effects will continue to grow longer than you use it. Consistency is key for eye cream, especially and you need to be applying it at least once a day every day to see results, so stick with it as long as it’s not irritating your eyes!

Sunscreen: Immediately

Sunscreen goes to work immediately upon application, protecting your skin from both visible and invisible sun damage. You should also notice a decrease in inflammation and redness, with regular use of sunscreen. Sunscreen application can also help to prevent the formation of hyperpigmentation and lighten existing dark spots, but this can take several months to see results.

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Acne Treatments: One day to three months

There are many different types of acne products, and they all take different amounts of time to work. Spot treatments are the fastest acting, and you should see results within 12 to 24 hours of application. Other products, such as benzoyl peroxide washes and salicylic acid serums, will take longer to see results, up to three months. 

You might experience a purge phase when trying out new acne treatments, where you get more breakouts for a short amount of time as your skin gets adjusted to the new products. That’s why you need to give them up to three months so you can see if it improves your complexion after the purge phase or if your skin continues to break out.

Dark Spot Treatments: One to three months

Dark spot treatments also take more time to work, usually between one to three months for initial results. However, you will likely need to keep using them for multiple months in order to fully lighten any hyperpigmentation and dark spots. Over-the-counter dark spot treatments will take longer than prescription strength ones. You can also get in-office treatments from a professional dermatologist such as Dr. Harold Lancer, if you need to lighten your dark spots quickly.

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How to Choose Skincare Products that Work for You

If you feel like every single skincare product you’ve tried doesn’t work for your skin, then it’s possible that you don’t know how to choose skincare products that are well suited to your skin type and that will address your skincare concerns. Here are six practical tips to follow to help yourself choose skincare products that will work for you:

Know your skin type

Know your skin type.

Knowing your skin type is essential to choosing skin care products that work for you. That’s why Lancer Skincare offers several different 3-step skincare routines tailored to the main skin types: normal combination skin, dry and dehydrated skin, and oily congested skin. Products that are meant for oily skin may be too stripping for dry skin, while products that are meant for dry skin may cause clogged pores and breakouts in those with oily congested skin. 

If some of your products aren’t working for your skin, then check the labels to see if they are meant for your skin type. And if you haven’t tested yourself to figure out what your skin type is, then you should definitely do that too!

Prioritize your skin concerns.

In addition to your skin type, you may have additional skin concerns, such as fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and dark spots, acne breakouts and clogged pores, or a dull complexion with uneven skin tone. Once you identify your main skin concerns, you can choose serums, face masks, and other products that address them. To avoid overloading your face, you might want to choose just a couple skincare concerns at a time to focus on. 

For example, you might want to focus on clearing up your acne first, and then once you don’t have as many active blemishes you can start to work on fading scarring and hyperpigmentation next.

Assess your current products

Assess your current products.

Instead of rushing out to buy new products, take some time to do an audit of your current skincare collection and determine why each product is or isn’t working for your skin. This will help you to identify patterns, such as if one particular ingredient tends to irritate your skin or simply isn’t effective for your particular skin care concerns. This is also a great opportunity to get rid of any expired products that have been open too long, so you can start fresh with new products.

Update your routine seasonally.

Your skin care needs change with the weather; for instance, most people tend to be more oily in the summer and more dry in the winter regardless of what their underlying skin type is. That’s why you should update your skin care routine at least twice a year, so once every six months. Some people like to update their skin care four times a year, once for every season: spring, summer, fall, and winter. By updating your skin care routine alongside the weather, you ensure that you’re using the right products at the right time instead of slapping on a super-heavy moisturizer on the hottest days of summer.

Check in on your skin.

Having regular check-in with your skin is key to making sure that old products are continuing to work and new products are as effective as they claim to be. Doing some kind of skincare check-in once a month or so is a good goal to aim for and it will remind you to be conscious about the skincare choices that you are making. You may want to set a reminder for yourself on the first or last day of the month to assess your current skincare routine and check on any new products you have introduced in the past four weeks.

Keep a skincare journal.

If you tend to use a lot of skincare products and rotate them out frequently, it can be tough to keep track of which ones did and didn’t work for your skin. That’s why we recommend keeping some kind of skincare journal or log where you keep track of what products you are using and your impressions of them. 

It can also help to take photos periodically so you can see if the products are working, sort of like your own before and after photos. This is especially important when using active treatments such as retinol, vitamin C, acne treatments, and dark spot removers. Be sure to take the photos in the same place with the same lighting so you can accurately track your progress over time.

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Ready to upgrade your skincare routine with products that actually work? Grab a skincare set to sample some of Lancer Skincare’s top sellers, or grab some full-size advanced treatments to start seeing a difference sooner. All of our products ship free within the United States and come with a 30-day money-back guarantee so that you can buy with confidence!

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