Derm DMs: How Long Does It Take for Skin-Care Products to Work?

November 11, 2020
Samantha Holender
By: Samantha Holender | by L'Oréal
Derm DMs: How Long Does It Take for Skin-Care Products to Work?

In a dream world, you could apply a new skin-care product at night and wake up to a transformed complexion come morning. In reality though, it can take time to see results like a reduction in the appearance of fine line. So before you decide to retire a skin-care product for the next best thing, keep reading because Dr. Jennifer Chwalek, a board-certified dermatologist, is explaining how long it typically takes to see results from skin care.

How Long Does it Take to See Results With Skin Care? 

Before tossing a skin-care product because it’s not giving you the outcome you desire, make sure you’re giving it a fair amount of time to actually work. On average, you have to use a product for six to 12 weeks before seeing optimal results, depending on the concerns you’re targeting. “If you are hoping to see improvement in fine lines or pigmentation, you will likely have to commit to using a product for several weeks or even months,” says Dr. Chwalek. 

Dr. Chwalek explains that when using a product like retinol for example, you won’t see the full effect of the product for a few months. “Retinoids can reduce sebum production and help improve skin appearance within the first two to four weeks of treatment, but it will take several weeks or even months of topical use for changes such as improving fine lines and wrinkles and normalizing skin cell turnover to occur.” 

While addressing concerns like hyperpigmentation, melasma or signs of aging can take months, conditions caused by irritation, dryness or impaired skin barrier function respond much faster to treatment. “For example, hydrating the skin with a hyaluronic acid serum can instantly make the skin look smoother and improve the appearance of fine lines,” says Dr. Chwalek. 



How to Properly Test a New Skin-Care Product 

If you want to see how well a skin-care product can work for your skin, it’s important to keep the rest of your routine as-is for the time being. “Once you start to combine it with other new products or active ingredients it may be difficult to determine what is doing what,” says Dr. Chwlek.

While Dr. Chwalek typically recommends sticking with a skin-care product for a few months, there are a few instances in which it's best to stop using the product. “You should stop if you develop any redness, burning or peeling,” she says. “An allergic reaction usually presents as redness that is associated with itching, burning and occasionally swelling.” If you are having any skin reaction, it’s important to consult with a board-certified dermatologist. It may also be helpful to use a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser and moisturizer, like the CeraVe Moisturizing Cream. Once your skin has returned to baseline, you can start reintroducing your other products slowly. 

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