How To Tell If Your Skin Care Is Working

Woman applying skin care. Text reads: Is your skin care working?


Skin care has always been something I’ve been happy (some would say too happy) to spend my time and money on. I see it as an investment. A bit of self care. An essential part of my daily routine. (Especially now that Sydney is back in lockdown and all other parts of my routine are, um, gone for who knows how long.)

But while skin care is something I enjoy, at the end of the day, I still want to know my products are doing their job. So, I spoke to some skin experts to find out how we can make sure that it’s actually working for you.

How do you know your skin care is working?
First things first, you need to consider the product you’re using and your application process. For the most part, skin care is not going to result in drastic changes overnight. Your products need time to work. 

Similarly it’s essential that you’re using each product as directed. If you’ve been on-and-off with your routine, it’s unlikely the product will be able to produce the results you’re expecting. “Giving [skin care] enough time* and being consistent is crucial before you write off a regimen or a product as being ‘not good enough’,” explains Dr. Imaan Joshi.

“If you have given [a skin care product] enough time, and are not seeing much difference, or if your skin is deteriorating, then it may be that you are not benefiting from what you are currently using and may benefit from tweaking it,” explains Dr Imaan Joshi.

How much time should you give your skin care? 
Annoyingly this will vary somewhat as it’s dependent on your skin and your products but generally speaking, Dr. Joshi advises giving new products around 6-10 weeks to take effect so patience is key. (You can find a very helpful guide on popular skin care actives and how long they each take to work right here.)

“Be patient with your skin care, give it time to take effect. Your skincare need not be complex. Simple works. Be precise, know your goals, know your threshold and don’t be impulsive with your product selection,” advises Dr. Davin Lim.

It can also be hard to notice changes when you look at your face so often, so if you’re serious about tracking your progress, take a before photo. This will give you something to refer back to when you’re trying to determine if the product is worth keeping in your routine or if you need to switch it up to meet your skin goals.

Figuring out your skin goals
When you’re trying to determine whether your skin care is working, it’s incredibly helpful to have a clear idea of what you’re trying to achieve. If you haven’t already, take the time to identify your skin care goals. Maybe your skin has been feeling a little dull lately and you’d like more radiance. Maybe you struggle with breakouts and are after clear skin. Maybe you’re after a good hit of hydration to replenish your dry, flaky skin. Maybe you just want to maintain what you’ve got. Or maybe it’s a combination of those or something different entirely. Your skin goals are completely personal to your situation so listen to what your skin is telling you.

Once you’ve found your skin care goals, you can review your current routine and figure out if these products are likely to work the way you want based on your skin care products claims. If you happen to find some gaps in your routine, go about introducing those new additions slowly. “Start off with a good sunscreen, and develop a routine application habit. From there add your active one at a time based upon your skin concerns. Everyone has a unique skin threshold, exceed this, and skin irritation will occur. The logic is to make each skincare product count. Be guided by a skincare professional as to what combination is best for your skin,” says Dr. Lim.

*Important! If you experience a reaction to a skin care product, stop using it immediately and seek specialist advice from a trusted skin care professional.

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