How long should you test a routine before you can really gauge its effectiveness?
To decide how long to wait before really gauge the effectiveness of a new skin care routine, it is important to focus your perspective on the why your new routine was started in the first place. For example, if you are dealing with lots of breakouts, discoloration and clogged pores, then it stands to reason that what is currently affecting your skin will take at least 6-12 weeks to settle down. With acne routines in particular there can be a bit of a “purge” when your skin has to get a little worse to empty out the excess oil and debris in your pores before you can finally start to see results. However if you skin care routine was focused on dryness, inflammation or flushing, then the reality is that your new routine should give results quickly- perhaps as fast as a week or two - since this impact would be seen sooner.
What happens to your skin when you start a new routine?
Our skin’s microenvironment is a delicate balance of bacteria, yeast, oils, sebum, keratin and other elements that also dictate the pH of our skin. When starting a new routine of any kind, this delicate balance can be disrupted.
How about a new acne care routine?
Acne skin care routines are the most challenging to start because patience is essential. Acne progresses through stages of clogged pores, followed by inflammation, potentially cystic changes, and hyperpigmentation. Each of these stages is constantly in flux and takes time to clear. I generally find that at least 6 weeks are needed to at least feel as though breakouts are subsiding with another 6 weeks or so to resolve residual hyperpigmentation.
Why is important to use the products every day?
I love this question because my youngest is 13 and just said to me that every time he stops using his acne cream his acne comes back. I find that the biggest challenge in helping young patients is to bring them to realize that their routine will only work if it is used routinely! There is an active process whereby these skin care products are treating and preventing breakouts or managing other skin concerns. If you stop, chances are the skin will flare. Using products with some level of consistency - daily or every other day or every a few times a week- is helpful to keep things under control.