I’m so impatient. Whenever I start using a new skincare product, I want to see results immediately. Don’t you?
Sadly, it doesn’t work that way. Even the best creams out there can’t make miracles overnight. But, how long do we have to wait to see if they work (or not)?
As so often happens in skincare, there isn’t a definite answer (frustrating, I know!). It just depends on the issue you’re dealing with, and what products you’re using to treat it:
The General Rule
Usually, we need to wait at least a month to see some results. I know, that’s a long time, but there’s a good reason for that.
“The complete benefit of skin creams won’t be visible until after a full cycle of skin-cell turnover to take place,” and that takes a month, dermatologist Kenneth Beer explains. If after that time, you don’t see any improvements at all, toss the product away. It ain’t working.
Of course, there are exceptions. Quite a few. If the product contains some powerful active ingredients (and way too many don’t), you should see results a lot sooner:
Exception #1: Anti-Acne Products
Although anti-acne products can take their sweet time to rid you of acne, you should already see a slight improvement after just one week. If not, chances are the treatment you’re using isn’t working that well for you. That’s the problem with acne. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Different people respond better to different treatments.
Exception #2: Skin lightening products
Let’s be honest: OTC skin-lightening products rarely get rid of the discolouration completely. But, they can help greatly reduce it. Again, that can take weeks, if not months. But, you don’t need to wait that long to see if they work for you.
With hydroquinone and kojic acid, you can see some small results after just a few days. With other skin-lightening treatments, you may need to wait 3 or 4 weeks. If you can’t see a noticeable, albeit small, difference after one month, there’s no point continuing with the treatment. It’s obviously not working so switch to something else.
Exception #3: Antioxidants
This one is very tricky. Antioxidants, like green tea and vitamin E, can prevent the signs of aging, not reduce those you already have. So, it may take years to see if they really work. The exception (yep, even the exception has an exception!) is vitamin C. Vitamin C can also brighten skin and treat discolourations, so you should see a slight improvement within a week.
Exception #4: Retinoids
This is the last exception, I swear! Retinoids, like retinol, can both prevent wrinkles and reduce those you already have (by boosting collagen production and accelerating cellular turnover). Of course, they work very slowly, or no one would have wrinkles anymore *sighs*. But, you should see some some tiny results after 4 weeks.
So be patient! Although some products begin to work sooner than others, give them all a month before deciding whether they work for you or not.
Do you usually wait that long or are you impatient, too?