Can Your Skincare Stop Working Over Time? |

Can Your Skincare Stop Working Over Time?

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We’re all eager to try the next best thing on the beauty shelves, and it’s not just down novelty. With 55% of British women switching their face cream after just a few months due to a lack of results, could it be that we’re reaching a skincare ‘plateau’? We grilled the experts for the answers…

How long does it take to see results from a new product?

Whether it’s a toner or supercharged face cream, it’s unlikely you’ll see results from a product overnight. As London-based A-list facialist Teresa Tarmey explains, “You didn’t suddenly wake up with sun damage and wrinkles, so don’t expect to be able to radically diminish them overnight, either. There are products that can have dramatic overnight results (especially an AHA or BHA exfoliant), but for the most part, it takes time for a product to really make a difference. Continued use is necessary to maintain results so consistency is key.”

So how often should we switch up our skincare routine?

This is where it gets interesting. While skincare experts agree it can take up to a month to see results from a product, our skin also responds well to rotating ingredients – a bit like carb cycling if macro counting is your thing. While consistency is vital, the experts also agree that our skin can build up a resistance to certain ingredients (especially around the two-month period if your product contains very active ingredients like retinol), giving us the impression that our skincare has stopped working.

Can our skincare actually stop working?

“Absolutely,” explains Tarmey, “Ingredients such as retinol – an anti-ageing vitamin A derivative – produce impressive results and cause less negative side effects over time, but the skin can develop an immunity to such ingredients. The trick to keeping your products working is to adopt a rota effect, alternating between a few firm favourites or a few products from the same range.”

On a Similar Note

But what if a certain product really isn’t doing the trick anymore?

Take a step back and examine your skin. US-based facialist Tom Woodhouse offers an alternative theory, suggesting the fault may lie with our own expectations. “Often, you’ll see a lot of improvement over the first three months with a product, and then when you’ve achieved the maximum benefit from the products, your skin goes into more of a maintenance mode. What you’re missing is the excitement or novelty of those early results.” In short, if your skin is looking better – a more refined texture, clearer pores and finer lines – then your product has done its job, so consider upping the ante with a more potent version or incorporating a booster. Seek out a stronger retinol serum or book in for a peel. Something as simple as drinking more water and getting more sleep could boost results, too.

Are there certain milestones when we should consider switching up our skincare?

Yes. Our skin, like our bodies, is constantly changing and develops different needs as we age, perhaps explaining why the cleanser you were using in your mid-20s no longer does the trick five years later. Once you hit your 30s, bear in mind that collagen production decreases by 1% every year and if you decide to start a family, remember that pregnancy comes with its own skincare requirements, too, from breakouts to stretch marks, increased sensitivity, dilated capillaries and brown patches (called melasma) from the oestrogen boost. These are times when a product may well and truly lose its magic touch.

Any top tips to keep our favourite product performing at its best?

If you’re smitten with your existing skin cream but want to avoid the plateau effect, try giving your skin a short holiday. Use your normal anti-ageing cream for around four to five months, then step things up with a retinol-based product for around two to three months and finally follow up with a more nurturing and replenishing cream before going back to the start. If all else fails, try Avon’s hot-off-the-press Anew Reversalist Infinite Effects Night Treatment Cream, the brand’s first foray into ‘rotational technology’ (it contains two separate formulas, designed to be used for seven days each, with year-long clinical trials proving the benefits continue to develop over time) as well as Lancôme’s Visionnaire Crescendo Progressive Night Peel, £60. 

The bottom line?

Much like how our bodies adapt to a certain gym routine after a few weeks, our skin is no different. For continued results from your skincare, keep tricking your skin, rotating your products and upping the strength of your serums and creams alike.

Visionnaire Crescendo Progressive Night Peel, £54 | Lancôme

Revitalift Laser Renew Day Cream, £6.99 | L’Oreal

Anew Reversalist Infinite Effects Night Treatment Cream, £25 (was £28) | Avon

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