Have you recently bought what you thought was a sensational product only to find it doesn’t work — or worse, upsets your skin? Or have you noticed that your tried-and-true products no longer deliver positive results? If so, there are various reasons your skincare has stopped working (or never started). Here’s a list of 10.
- Your skin type has changed. As we age, our skin type tends to change. The skin naturally produces less sebum and has a tougher time retaining moisture. So while your skin might’ve churned out oil years ago, today, it may be as dry as the Mojave. If you’ve been using the same products for a number of years, it’s time to reevaluate your skin and possibly switch to gentler, more moisturizing formulas. If you have no clue where to start, consult a dermatologist.
- The products are so last season. The environment can greatly affect your skin, so each season may call for a switch. For instance, your old routine may work perfectly in the summer but turn ineffective or even harsh in the winter. Cold weather brings lower levels of air moisture, which can produce drier skin. When skin doesn’t retain moisture as sufficiently, you need a heavier moisturizer and a creamier cleanser. During hot summer months, your skin is more prone to excess oil or breakouts. Instead, choose lighter products — like a gel or foam cleanser, a lotion instead of a cream — and keep blotting papers handy. That means if you’ve recently bought a luxurious light lotion, you may need to swap it out for a richer product to adequately hydrate your skin during these cool, windy months. For more skincare tips for the fall and wintertime, see here and here. And here are how-tos on switching your skincare for the springtime and summer.
- There’s a residue issue. You may be using a top-notch cleanser, but if traces of the product linger on your face, it could contribute to clogged pores, acne and dull skin. To make sure skin is completely clean, rinse your entire face thoroughly with several splashes of warm water. Another option is to use a toner after washing your face to ensure the cleanser has been removed completely. Here’s how to incorporate toner into your routine.
- The products come with irritating extras. We generally think of extras as bonuses, but when it comes to your skin, this isn’t always the case. Despite their pleasant scents, extra fragrances or perfumes can also irritate the skin. People with sensitive skin or conditions like eczema are most affected by fragrances, but a mild reaction can happen to anyone. And this isn’t isolated to conventional skincare: Natural or organic products can contain essential oils that trigger allergic reactions, produce excess oil or cause breakouts. Look for fragrance-free or hypoallergenic products, though these don’t guarantee that you won’t experience a reaction. When buying a new product, do a patch test and wait 24 hours.
- You have great expectations. Whether your concern is wrinkles, acne or age spots, this damage has occurred gradually over a period of time. As a result, it’s unrealistic to expect immediate improvement. If you’re trying a new product, such as an anti-aging moisturizer or acne treatment, give it about three weeks to two months for noticeable results. Of course, if you notice signs of an allergic reaction — severe itching, swelling or burning — stop using the product right away.
- The products repel. It’s a common belief that the more products you use, the better your results. However, piling on too many products can actually backfire, especially if the ingredients have the same function. For example, mixing formulas with glycolic acid, salicylic acid and retinoids can cause serious irritation. Talk to a dermatologist or esthetician about the best way to incorporate multiple products into your regimen.
- The products can’t get through. No matter how effective a product is, it won’t be of any help to you if the ingredients are unable to penetrate into the skin. If you aren’t regularly exfoliating your skin, dead skin cells start to clump together, forming a barrier that prevents skincare products from being absorbed. Fortunately, you can break down this barrier and improve the efficacy of your products by using a gentle physical (also known as mechanical) or chemical exfoliant, such as a facial scrub with jojoba beads or alpha hydroxy acids.
- You aren’t following directions. Are you using an acne treatment more often than is recommended to speed up the blemish-banishing results? Do you regularly bathe your face in moisturizer, or frankly any skincare product? Do you keep makeup in the car? Skincare products have instructions on how they should be stored, when to use them, how much to use and how often. Going against these instructions can turn exceptional products into ineffective ones. Case in point: Serums lose their efficacy once exposed to air, heat and sunlight, so it’s vital to store them in a dark, cool place with lids on super-tight.
- Your products have expired. All skincare and beauty products have an expiration date. And when they go bad, they can stop working, or worse, cause an irritating reaction or infection. So if the cleanser you’ve been using for countless months seems to have stopped working suddenly, it could be that it’s past its prime. With some acne ingredients, the opposite can occur, though the end result is the same — irritated skin. When acne-fighting formulas spoil, their potency swells. Overall, if your trusty, typically effective skincare routine has stopped performing, check the expiration dates. To learn when products expire, along with how to extend their shelf life, check out our comprehensive guide.
- You aren’t leading a healthy lifestyle. You can use the best products in the world, but if your habits are unhealthy, your skincare probably won’t work. Whether it’s not getting enough nutrients or sleep, smoking cigarettes, drinking too much alcohol, skipping sunscreen, sunbathing or tanning indoors, you’re interfering with your products’ potential benefits. For instance, if you’re using a skin lightener to combat discoloration, continuing to tan and skimping on sunscreen will counteract any positive results. Leading a healthy lifestyle is as much part of having great skin as using good products. Here’s more on healthy habits.
So remember, in order for products to work effectively and ensure the best results, it’s important to choose the right product for the right season, use it correctly, have realistic expectations and maintain healthy habits.
Top 10 Anti-Aging Tips
Acne Treatment for Dry and Sensitive Skin