How to Know if Your Skincare Routine Is Working

Figuring out whether or not your skincare routine is working can be tricky, especially if you introduced multiple products at once. Ideally, you should introduce only one new skincare product at a time and use it for one to two weeks before trying yet another new product. That gives you enough time to decide if the product causes an initial allergic reaction or not.

Beyond just not causing an allergic reaction, how can you tell if your skincare routine is working? Taking photos over time can help you document changes in your skin, but it’s not always easy to know what to look for. Here are 10 signs to look out for to know that your skincare routine is working:

Your skin tone is even.

If your skincare routine is working for you, then your skin tone and color should be even across your face, neck, and chest. The product shouldn’t make your face become blotchy or cause certain patches to become lighter or darker (unless you are specifically trying to fade hyperpigmentation; more on that in the next section).

Your dark spots are fading.

Fading dark spots or patches takes longer, anywhere from six months to several years depending on how large and deep the spot is. As a result, you’ll need to be patient when trying to lighten hyperpigmentation using topical products. However, you should start to notice small changes if you stick with your routine consistently, so don’t give up on fading dark spots at home!

Your face feels fresh after cleansing.

Ideally, your face wash should leave your face feeling fresh and clean after rinsing. You shouldn’t feel like you have residue left on your face or like the face cleanser didn’t actually wash anything away. However, your face also shouldn’t feel dry or tight after rinsing, which is a sure sign that your cleanser is too stripping. Instead, you should strike a happy medium where your face feels clean but not dried out.

You have fewer breakouts.

When using a new product that is specifically designed to target acne, such as salicylic acid or retinol, you might experience a purge phase of four to six weeks as your skin adjusts. This is especially true for prescription products, which are stronger than what you can get over the counter. However, after that purge phase is over, you should notice your acne decrease over time. If you are using a product that isn’t specifically meant for acne, and it seems to be breaking you out, discontinue use of it — those breakouts might be an allergic reaction.

Your skin looks and feels smooth.

Reducing breakouts will help smooth out bumpy patches, promoting a smoother complexion. Regular exfoliation will also help to reduce or eliminate dry, flaky, peeling, and scaly patches of skin. If your skincare routine is working, your skin should feel smooth to the touch when you wash it or apply skincare products. You also shouldn’t notice any textural irregularities when you examine your skin in the mirror.

Your skin is hydrated.

Hydration refers to your skin having enough water content. While hydration and moisturization are often used interchangeably, they refer to two different things (more on moisturization in a minute). Dehydrated skin looks dull and lacks elasticity, while well-hydrated skin is plump and spring backs instantly. If your skincare routine is working, then your face should be hydrated without you having to think about it.

Your skin is moisturized.

Like we said above, moisturization is separate from hydration. Properly moisturized skin means that your natural oils are well balanced. If your 3-step skincare routine is working, then your face won’t feel dry or stripped, even after you use your facial cleanser. It also won’t feel greasy or shiny, which is the result of excess oil production. Instead, your face will feel perfectly balanced, neither too dry nor too oily.

Your skin is becoming less sensitive.

Skincare products that irritate your face will cause it to become more sensitive, resulting in redness, itching, and burning. When you find a skincare routine that works for you, that sensitivity should decrease because you are no longer putting your skin in a constant state of irritation. Over time, your skin should calm down and be less likely to get red or itch.

Your skin heals faster.

Having a skincare routine that works for you promotes a healthy skin barrier, and one of the side effects of this is that your skin is quick to heal. If your skincare routine is working, then you should notice that acne blemishes fade faster and cuts and scrapes heal more quickly. Wearing sunscreen everyday will also help to protect your skin from sun damage and further speed up the healing process.

You aren’t experiencing itching or irritation.

Itching or irritation is almost certainly an indication of an allergic reaction to a skincare product. This can also happen when a skincare product causes a flare-up of an existing condition such as rosacea or eczema. If you experience these sensations when using a skincare product, discontinue use of it immediately. While some skincare products do tingle for a couple seconds as they sink in, you shouldn’t feel prolonged stinging, burning, or irritation while using them.

We hope this guide helped you figure out whether or not your skincare routine is working for you. Keep in mind that it takes time to see results when applying topical products, even prescription products. You might notice some of these effects right away, but it might take weeks or months for others to show up. Be patient with your skincare routine and you will see results over time!

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