Why Switching Your Skincare Too Often Could Be Harming Your Skin

Why Switching Your Skincare Too Often Could Be Harming Your Skin

It’s really hard to match the euphoria of buying and trying new skincare. Despite how established and trustworthy your routine may be, those Mecca ‘Just Landed!’ emails have such magical powers. Turning all our arms to rubber. 

But are we (our wallets, our sanity, our skin, all of it) better off committing to a long term relationship with skincare products? Are we forfeiting results by changing up our routines too frequently? 

I threw a bunch of questions at Sieanna Pardi, Dermal Clinician at Northern Sydney Dermatology and Founder of Raw Skin Insider, to help set the record straight. 

How long after introducing a new product will I start to see results in my skincare?

“Your skincare is like starting a new healthy habit. Good habits and routines take time before you see results and outcomes. The same rule applies with your skincare routine; my rule is that you need to give your skin at least three months before noticing healthy change. 

Our skin takes 28 days for full cellular turnover, and the older we get the slower our epidermal cells respond, so 28 days becomes 38, 48 ,58…The first and easiest changes you can make to see results is by investing in an appropriate cleanser and moisturiser. The next step you can take to upgrade your routine is to include serums. (Just remember serums contain active ingredients and take time to penetrate the skin to a level where you will see a visible difference. Another reason why it is important to allow three full months when trialling new products.)”  

What might happen to my skin during this time? 

“In this time, you might experience something called purging. And it can happen anytime we introduce a new product to our skincare routine. The purge is defined as the process when your skin is starting to adapt to the new ingredients, and this change can cause more breakouts. The skin might feel oilier for a period of time, and the texture can feel a little rough too. This is completely normal within the first 6-8 weeks of introducing a new product. 

It’s all because your skin cells are now turning over at a quicker rate than it is used to. I like to say it’s shedding the old and welcoming the new YOU! Some people may experience the opposite effect and their skin can feel fabulous immediately.” 

How do I really know if my skin is enjoying the product, or not? 

“Simply put, your skin will start to look and feel better. If your skin is starting to change and you are experiencing more activity on the surface or visually seeing subtle changes like: enhanced glow, skin brightness, reduced inflammation and redness, oiliness to start, a few breakouts (the purge, remember), smoother texture, skin more resilient to environmental factors. THIS IS GOOD. 

But if you notice the following: increased inflammation, irritation, sensitivity, dryness, cystic breakouts. THIS IS NOT GOOD. You should discontinue using the product(s) and consult your trusted dermatologist immediately.”  

Say I change my mind and try another product after three weeks, what’s this doing to my skin?

“You are not allowing the product, or your skin, to work its magic! And are causing more harm than good. By switching up your products and routine too frequently, you’re tricking the skin and forcing too much change. Constantly applying all these different formulas/ingredients tends to have a negative impact on the skin barrier and worsen your skin concerns. 

Treat your skin like you would your gut. You’re not going to eat a buffet dinner every night, try a bit of this and a bit of that, so why would you do the same to your skin? Nourishing your gut with whole ingredients as sensibly as you can will leave you feeling nourished. So do the same for your skin.”

So what are the occasions when it makes the most sense to update your routine? 

“If it works for you then there is no need to change. You should only be switching up your routine when upgrading skincare to include more powerful or active ingredients, as advised. It is fine to update your routine when your skin concerns change (not just because everyone else is using the latest serum to drop), when you’re no longer seeing results, or are feeling that your skin isn’t getting the nourishment it needs. 

However, keep in mind that most skin types will need to adjust their routine as the seasons change too. I always have a winter and summer routine. With environmental changes, our skin can become dryer in the winter and oiler in the summer. It's always good to have two routines in place to support our skin throughout the ever-changing seasons, and our lifestyle.”

Stick to what you know (and love!) and your skin will truly thank you for it.