3 ways to tell if your skincare routine is working, harmful, or a waste of money
- Insider spoke to two dermatologists to find out how to tell if your skincare routine is working.
- It takes 3 to 4 months to know if a skincare routine is working, but there are some early tell-tale signs to look for.
- Skin that is healthy and not irritated by any products should be free of itchiness and pain.
- Finally, healthy skin should feel hydrated but not overly oily.
Buying an expensive 16-step skincare system may seem like it would help any acne or discoloration you might be facing with your skin, but how can you tell if it's actually working?
Dermatologist Dr. Melanie Palm told Well and Good it takes approximately 3 to 4 months to actually see the full results of a skincare product on your skin.
Insider spoke to two dermatologists on the three surefire signs your skincare routine is positively impacting your skin.
Signs your skin is hydrated but not oily
Hydration is crucial for your skin's ability to regulate itself. While the overproduction of oil can cause breakouts, so can dryness. Moisturizing your face and actually keeping it hydrated can reduce your chance of developing extreme dryness or oiliness, according to the University of Tennessee Medical Center.
Dr. Heidi Waldorf, a cosmetic dermatologist, told Insider if your skin looks hydrated and bright, your skin is happy with the products you have in your rotation.
"It holds in moisture and exfoliates on its own, is soft to the touch, and reflects light well," Waldorf said.
Oiliness will feel like a film of grime on your face that can irritate the skin whereas hydration will just feel like your skin isn't flaky or itchy.
If you're having trouble distinguishing between the feelings, the look of oily skin is distinct from dewy skin.
Healthy, dewy skin will glow at the top of your cheekbones, peak fo your forehead, and cupid's bow. Oily skin will shine all over your face, but you can especially tell if your smile lines, chin, and center of your forehead are shining.
Your skin is not itchy or irritated
Your skin is your body's largest organ, so it reflects when your body is reacting poorly to an allergy, including one to a skincare product.
"Skin is also an immunologic organ – it detects outside allergens (shows up as itch and blisters like poison ivy) and shows signs of inside allergic reactions (like food or medicine related hives)," Waldorf said.
If your skin is free of pain and irritation, that means you most likely aren't allergic to your products.
Sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish between a short-lived itch or pain, as products like retinol can cause irritation and redness for the first month as your skin adjusts.
If you notice the pain or irritation intensifying after two to three weeks of using it rather than feeling better, you should stop and talk to a dermatologist.
Your skin is supple and uniform in color
Dr. Rebecca Baxt, a dermatologist in New Jersey told Insider the easiest way to tell if your routine is working is if your skin is clearing up.
"No skin problems or complaints," likely means your skin is balanced, hydrated, and regulating itself.
"Ideally the skin is smooth, supple, and uniform in color," Waldorf said.
If your skin feels less bumpy, the size of your pores has been reduced, and you're noticing less marks, acne, and discoloration, your products are likely working.