How Long It Takes to See Skin-Changing Results
Unlike other beauty products, it can take some time before you start seeing results from your skincare routine. Because everyone’s complexion is unique and all skincare ingredients work differently, it’s admittedly difficult to determine how long you should wait it out—especially if you aren’t sure if a product is even working or not.
For the average adult, it takes around 28 days for skin cells to turn over so, as a general rule of thumb, give your products at least a month of consistent use to kick in before giving up on them (unless of course, you experience effects like irritation or burning, in which you should stop use immediately). When it comes to treating specific concerns, however, there are general timelines you can follow. Keep scrolling for how long it can take to start seeing results from your skincare routine.
Anyone who deals with problem skin knows that clearing up clogged pores and acne can be a perplexing process. Acne can be inflammatory or non-inflammatory, with many different types of pimples within each category. There are a multitude of reasons for breakouts, too—oil overproduction, bacteria, hormones, stress, diet—with their severity varying from person to person. There’s also the concept of skin purging to consider, the idea that active ingredients can spark a temporary uptick in breakouts when introduced to a routine. Because of acne’s ‘it’s complicated’ status, it can be a bit of a guessing game in terms of how long it’ll take for skin to clear. For example, if you’re using ingredients that zap bacteria but your issue is actually hormone imbalance, you may have to experiment a bit to see what products work best for you.
Clarity: 4-6 Weeks
For overall skin clarity, add some acne-fighting ingredients to your routine like salicylic acid, found in Keep the Peace, a BHA that exfoliates, removes excess oil, and unclogs pores. Use products consistently for at least a month before checking in on results. If you don’t see any improvement after that, talk to a dermatologist for a solution; there’s a possibility prescription medication might be a better fit.
Pimples: 1-3 Days
Got a zit you're trying to calm overnight? Good news: It’s possible to diminish non-inflammatory pimples in just a few days. Our Acne Drying Treatment works overnight to dry up sebum and shrink whiteheads and blackheads while keeping the rest of your skin calm.
Because inflammatory acne (like cystic) lies deep beneath the skin, this type of breakout may take a few more days or even weeks to heal. The good news is that Nix It, which uses a combo of tea tree oil and salicylic acid to calm inflammation, can be worn over makeup so you can simultaneously treat your breakouts while going about your day.
Sensitized Skin: 2-4 Weeks
Unless you’re dealing with an inflammatory skin condition, irritated, red, sensitized skin is usually soothed in a few weeks by using anti-inflammatory agents, such as fatty acids, to repair its moisture barrier. Washing your face with a hydrating, pH-balanced cleanser like Gentle Cycle will do the trick. If you’ve got undereye puffiness and inflammation, try applying a cool compress or storing products (like our Emergency Eye Mask) in the fridge.
PSA: No product will 100% reverse signs of aging skin. Remember: Intrinsic changes stemming from genetics and age can’t be controlled. When it comes to aging skin, focus your efforts on repairing extrinsic signs of aging and preventing future damage from factors like UV rays and pollution.
That being said, because products for aging skin have to work deep below the layers of the skin, results may not be noticeable right away. Skin’s cellular turnover rate also slows as we grow older, taking 45-90 days to shed off layers of damage. And lastly, if you’re simply looking to prevent premature aging, there may not be any visible changes at all.
Fine Lines and Wrinkles: 6-12 Weeks
If your goal is to smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, give skincare about 1-3 months—enough time for skin cells to turnover—before you qualify its results. Don’t forget the many other factors that contribute to premature aging and make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep, eating a well-balanced diet, wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen, and properly moisturizing. For advanced wrinkle repair, invest in a solid night cream like Recovery Mode, which works overnight to moisturize, smooth lines, and plump dry, flaky skin.
Firmness: 6-12 Weeks
While you can’t magically re-firm skin’s structure, repairing the degraded collagen and elastin that comes from growing older, with just one use, many powerful ingredients can offer an immediate skin-tightening effect with results that build over time. Microalgae, found in our Auto-Save Advanced Restoring Serum, can deliver an instant, 24-hour lift to even the most tired complexions. Everyone ages differently (and again, you can’t turn back the clock), but if you’re looking for more significant changes in sagging skin, however, stay patient, use your products consistently, and don’t forget the neck and chest.
First things first: Determine whether you are dealing with dehydrated skin or dry skin. Dry skin is a skin type that cannot be treated per se, while dehydration is a temporary condition. While there are some formulas—like Sunday Morning—that treat both, if you're not seeing results, you may just need to swap products.
Luckily, dehydrated skin is often a quick fix. Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid, aloe, marula oil, and lactic acid to hydrate thirsty skin in a snap. Another important thing to note is that many products made for dryness utilize humectants (ingredients that pull water from the atmosphere, such as glycerin) to hydrate skin. But if you say, live in a dry climate without a lot of moisture, there won’t be a supply for them to tap into. Not seeing results from your current product assortment? Try applying your hydrating serums to damp skin and layering humectants with other water-based products.
Uneven Tone and Texture
Sun damage, dead skin cells, and even aging (hello, dark circles and age spots) can all result in an uneven complexion. The timeline for seeing results can vary based on genetics, existing damage, and, again, how fast your cellular turnover is when it comes to moving fresh, new cells to the skin's surface.
Brighter Tone: Immediately
Those simply seeking a boost in glow may notice a brighter complexion right away, especially if you use active ingredients like exfoliating acids (AHAs). Our Instant Resurfacing Mask uses a combo of enzyme exfoliation and vitamin C to deliver a brighter, smoother complexion in just 2 minutes (with results that build week after week).
Dark Spots and Acne Marks: 4-8 Weeks
If you’re attempting to fade hyperpigmentation, on the other hand, patience is key. It can take about 1-2 months to see a lasting improvement in dark spots and marks. Don’t forget to avoid picking or popping your pimples (unfortunately, deep ice pick scars aren’t easily treatable and may require invasive repair) and wear sufficient sun protection.
Uneven Skin Texture: Immediately
Most of us have felt the instant gratification of getting smoother, softer skin after using a physical exfoliator. A rough, bumpy texture often occurs when dead skin cells build up on the surface of the skin and need to be brushed away. Using a Microcrystal Exfoliator 1-3 times per week can smooth things over pretty quickly. Keep things soft by following up with a soothing, hydrating moisturizer.
Note: We all want to see the results we're after, but don't forget the planet when you’re trying new products. If a formula isn’t working for you, try gifting it to a family member or friend—keeping sanitation in mind—or using it somewhere else (for example, a facial exfoliator that’s too harsh on your face can be perfect for sloughing off the dead skin on your feet). Read more tips on how to multitask your products here.