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How Long Does It Take for Skincare Products to Work?

Trying new acne products again? Here's how to you can properly test if it's working.
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The journey to discovering your perfect skincare routine is full of experimentation ... and questions. Is this product actually doing anything for my skin? How long does it take to get clear skin? Is this really the best acne face wash for me? Or am I breaking out more than I did before?

Whether you’ve just started using Clear Collective or simply stumbled upon this article in your quest to find a new regimen, we consulted dermatologists and skincare experts to help answer the top questions people have when starting a new skincare routine. Scroll on to find out what really happens to your skin when you try new products and how you can get the best results!

How long should you use a routine before you can really gauge its effectiveness?

Testing a new skincare product typically won’t give you the instant gratification that trying new cosmetics will. While you may experience love at first sight with a holy grail concealer or eye brightener that’s perfect for your complexion, you’ve got to give your skin some time to settle in with a new routine before deciding whether it’s the one for you.

How much time, you ask?

The short answer is at least a month, but most dermatologists recommend testing a new routine for at least six weeks.

Rescue Balm, Clear Collective Exfoliating Jelly Cleanser, Balancing Capsule Toner
Your superpowered routine just arrived at your local superstore! Find Clear Collective and Rescue Balm at your local Target.

It takes approximately 28-30 days for the top layer of your skin (the epidermis) to turn over and reveal new cells, which is why a month is the minimum amount of time that will allow you to see how a new routine is really working. “Skincare products have come a long way in terms of effectiveness over the last 20 years,'' says Dr. Alexis Parcells, a board-certified plastic surgeon. “However, there are many factors in play that may affect a clinical result. When incorporating a new product into your skin regimen, be diligent about its use and monitoring results (good, bad or indifferent). It’s important to apply the product correctly once or twice daily (as directed) for at least six weeks to gauge overall effectiveness.”

Plus, different product types show results in different timeframes. While a moisturizing or hydrating product, especially one that contains hyaluronic acid like the Balancing Capsule Toner, allows you to feel and see smoother skin as soon as it absorbs, a new cleanser will take about a month to impact dryness, dullness or blemishes.

Pro Tip

Check in weekly to see how your skin is reacting to a new product or routine. Simply snap a picture of your skin after your routine (totally clean, no makeup) before you start and then again once a week on a day that's easy to remember, like Sunday. It’s also helpful to jot down a few notes about how your skin looks and feels. This will make it easier to see the difference in your skin over the course of six weeks.

WATCH: 3 People Try Clear Collective for 3 Weeks

Is that timeline different for a new acne-care routine?

On the time-to-results scale, skincare products designed to address acne or hyperpigmentation can often take the longest. Acne-care products that contain chemical exfoliants (such as the Exfoliating Jelly Cleanser) may also involve a purge period because they slough off dead skin cells, which can bring blockages to the surface.

“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,” says Dr. Erum N. Ilyas, a board-certified dermatologist. “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.”

Basically, don’t stress out if you’re seeing more breakouts when you first start using Clear Collective, or any acne-care routine for that matter. It’s just a result of all of that pore-clogging gunk coming to the surface, AKA the first step on your journey to clearer skin.

Shann applying moisturizer
Make your face a breakout-free zone with the Clarifying Prebiotic Moisturizer

Is there anything I can do to see results faster?

While your skin will still need to go through a normal turnover cycle, the best way to see results as soon as possible is to consistently use the products. Every. Single. Day.

“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!” says Ilyas. “There is an active process whereby these skincare products are treating and preventing breakouts or managing other skin concerns. If you stop, chances are the skin will flare.”

And, if you’re building your own routine, you’ll want to make sure that the active ingredients in one product are not preventing other products from being absorbed or working properly. If you’re not down for all that label-examining homework, Clear Collective is a great option because each product was designed to complement the other two. First, the Exfoliating Jelly Cleanser gets rid of dead skin, oil and debris so pores can breathe and skin is primed for a boost of hydration. Then, your skin drinks in eight layers of hydration from the Balancing Capsule Toner. And finally, you can feed your just-balanced skin with the Clarifying Prebiotic Moisturizer so it looks clear, smooth and luminous 24/7.

Now, that’s a routine that’s easy to stick with. 🙌


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