Q: “Do I need to switch or change skincare products every once in while for my skincare routine to be effective?”
This is a really common question. People wonder if they should switch skincare products the way they switch workouts: “Maybe it’s not working as well because my skin’s desensitized to the ingredient. I should do something new.”
Skin does become tolerant to some concrentrated active ingredients
Dermatologists actually have a term for it: tachyphylaxis. Your skin adjusts to an ingredient so it stops responding to it.
This only applies to some ingredients though, like retinol and salicylic acid. Remember how we always say that you should always “introduce” your skin to retinol by taking small amounts every other day? Retinol can be irritating at first, so you have to build up the dosage. Unfortunately, at a certain point your skin can get used to the recommended amount, and the benefits plateau.
If that happens, you just need to stop using the ingredient for a few weeks then try it again. So you don’t lose any gains, switch to an ingredient that delivers the same benefits. For example, exchange a salicylic acid exfoliant for one with glycolic acid.
Results will never be dramatic as when you first used a skincare product
Sometimes you don’t see dramatic changes because your skin is already quite good! Let’s say you had very very dull skin. When you started using your Holy Grail serum, you saw that it got noticeably more radiant. That’s because there was more room for improvement. You had a lot of discoloration that needed to be fixed.
But when your skin is already healthy, your product now switches to maintenance mode. You don’t see a difference and you think your skincare routine isn’t working anymore, but you will notice a change if you stop using it.
Signs you need to change your skincare products (even temporarily)
- Change in climate. Singapore doesn’t go through severe seasonal changes like the US, but there are months that are noticeably hotter and more humid. You may want to temporarily switch your skincare products for lighter formulas or add ingredients that can protect your skin moisture barrier from the severe heat.
- New skin stressors. Are you spending more time outdoors, not getting enough sleep, or going out more because of the holiday party season? You may have to include a skincare product or skin supplement to make up for the stress your skin is going through.
- Age and other life events. As you grow older, you may need more ingredients that target cell renewal or collagen growth. Or if you’re pregnant or planning to get pregnant, you may want to start using more natural or organic skincare products. (Read up on the best skincare ingredients for every age.)
- Skincare treatments. If you’ve added chemical peels or other skin treatments to your skincare routine, then ask your doctor if you need to change your products too. For example, you may have to stop using retinol before getting a laser treatment.
Store your skincare products correctly
Don’t put your skincare products (especially those with Vitamin C) in direct sunlight. Heat and humidity and hot showers can also cause themto expire faster, especially natural products that have no preservatives.