Know how long skincare products take to show results, and when they might be harmful

One of the best ways to ensure your skin is healthy and hydrated is to follow a suitable AM and PM skincare routine. Also, it must be known that skincare is not a short-term commitment. “To reap the benefits of the products you use, you need to be consistent, apply them regularly, and be patient,” said Dr Nivedita Dadu, dermatologist and founder of Dadu Medical Centre.

She added that the general rule after trying a new skincare routine or product is to “wait for a month at least, as the turnover rate of skin cells is roughly 28 days.”

“But, you must ideally follow a new skincare routine for at least three months to understand if it has been effective. This is because while it takes the epidermis, or top layer of the skin, roughly 28 days to make a turnover, it is important to stick to a product for at least three months to successfully understand if it has been fruitful or not,” she told

Some products may also leave breakouts on your face, which, Dr Dadu said is called purging, and is common. “If you are using a cleanser, toner or even a moisturiser that contains ingredients such as AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids), BHAs (Beta-Hydroxy acids), vitamin C, niacinamide and even retinol, you may experience skin purging. Organic skin care products also result in purging as they are different from the formulations the skin is accustomed to,” she explained.

Know how long skincare products take to show results, and when they might be harmful While a moisturiser only takes 7-10 days to show results, a serum usually takes 4-6 weeks. (Photo: Pexels)

To help you understand how long it might take to show results, Dr Neha Dubey, medical and aesthetic dermatologist, Meraki Skin Clinic, Gurgaon, offered a product-wise breakdown.

Serums: Serums are made up of lightweight molecules to help them penetrate the skin more efficiently and quickly. Also made for specific skin concerns like dark patches, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, blemishes, etc, they usually take about 4-6 weeks to show results.

Prescription grade retinoids: These take about 3-4 weeks to show results. The results will also vary depending upon the skin type. So, someone whose skin exfoliates faster, they will see results faster.

Under eye creams: They take a lot of time to show response. This is because an under eye cream is expected to target fine lines, pigmentation, eyebags and more. It takes more than 4 weeks to show results, but in the meantime, your concern won’t get worse.

Moisturisers: They work really first, especially the ones that contain ceramides, which are natural moisturising factors of our skin. With a good moisturiser, you can start seeing the effect within 7-10 days.

Acne, pigmentation, blemishes treatment: Treatments for skin concerns varies, and most of the times, a combination approach is used. For instance, if a patient with acne is on prescription medication, which is later combined with a simple chemical peel, the usual response — which would have been expected in or over 4 weeks — will now be seen in 2½ to 3 weeks.

Know how long skincare products take to show results, and when they might be harmful If your product is harming your skin, you should stop usage right after the early signs. (Photo: Pexels)

However, if an ingredient is not suiting your skin type or concern, you should stop using it right away. Dr Dadu listed the signs you need to take note of:

*Using the wrong products can exacerbate an existing skin condition, such as dryness or even oiliness. If the skin is normally dry and tight, using too many acid-based products could make the situation worse. This can be due to using too many harsh products, like foaming cleansers.

*Rashes are a big indicator of allergic reactions in response to using certain cosmetic products. Makeup and skin-care formulas can contain allergenic inactive ingredients, which usually contribute to the product’s overall look.

*Breakouts can also form due to the usage of wrong products. Small, red bumps may show that your skin is reacting to something negatively. If the skincare products are actually the source of the breakouts, it’s best to allow two or three weeks for the skin to adjust to a new routine.

*Uneven skin texture is also a sign that the products are harming your skin.

*Oily skin is also a sign that skincare products are affecting your skin. Our skin contains a natural layer of oil that acts as a protective barrier, so when harsh cleansers and creams strip this layer, the skin immediately goes into a repair mode to keep it protected. Your oil glands will produce more oil to make up for this dryness, which can lead to breakouts and overly oily skin.

*If bumps are repeatedly popping up on your skin, chances are you’re using products that is leaving the skin feeling inflamed and irritated. Bumps on the skin are usually a form of dermatitis, which can be managed by ceasing the use of any new product with highly active ingredients, such as vitamins A or C.

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