If you've invested both time and resources in your pursuit of the best skincare products, only to find lackluster results, you may be wondering when to give up on a certain product. Does it need a few more weeks of consistency to create the results you envisioned, or is it just not a fit? Although all of the best skincare products will still require a measure of consistency—and shine the brightest in a supportive routine—there are a few telltale signs that your new contender may not be worth more weeks of your time.
Follow along to learn the 3 biggest signs that your new product is not the best skincare product for your goals. Understanding these indicators can help you identify the weak links in your routine and achieve the vibrant, glowing complexion that you desire. So let’s dig into it!
1. YOUR PATIENCE ISN’T BEING REWARDED
At risk of sounding obvious, the best skincare products should lead to positive changes in your skin—but when is it time to move on? We all know that transformation doesn’t happen overnight, which means that determining the suitability of a product requires some time. Even the best skincare products require some patience before results. This time frame can vary based on the product type and the specific concern you're addressing. Additional factors like environmental concerns, nutrition, stress, and biology will also affect the timeline, but here are some general guidelines:
- Spot treatments typically show results within about 10 days.
- Treatments for aging concerns, including fine lines and dark spots, may take up to a month or more to reveal their efficacy.
- Moisturizers and hydrating treatments often yield almost immediate effects.
- Exfoliating products generally need about two weeks to reveal noticeable results.
PRO TIP: Take note of changes in your skin texture, tone, or the appearance of acne and fine lines. If there's little to no improvement in the expected time frame, it might be time for a reevaluation. Taking regular progress photos at the beginning of starting a new product and every 3-7 days afterward can be a huge help, since it’s hard to notice day-to-day changes!
2. PERSISTENT BREAKOUTS OR AN ALLERGIC REACTION
When you experience breakouts or reactions to a new product, it can be easy to switch into panic mode. But then you will probably ask yourself: is it really a negative sign, or is it a purge? In many cases, the best skincare products for you will not trigger a reaction, but there is some nuance to interpreting the message from your skin, especially if you have sensitive skin overall. Determining whether or not to continue use of a product in this situation can be complicated, but here are some insights to take into consideration.
- Frequent and persistent breakouts may be a sign of an allergic response to one or more ingredients in your skincare product. Keep an eye out for additional symptoms like redness, itching, or swelling. If these reactions persist, discontinue use and consult with a dermatologist to identify the culprit causing the irritation. Purging should not exhibit these allergy markers, nor last beyond a reasonable period of adjustment, so these signs indicate a deeper problem.
- In certain cases, you really may be experiencing a temporary purge. Ideally, the best skincare products won’t trigger a purge during the adjustment period if they are formulated to address concerns at a sustainable, healthy rate for your skin. However, since everyone’s skin is so unique, it can still happen without necessarily meaning the product is a poor fit for you. A purge most often occurs when introducing active ingredients designed to promote turnover, like retinoids or exfoliants. During this period, your skin may initially experience an increase in breakouts as it purges impurities, but this should subside with continued use. (If your reaction doesn’t improve within 4-6 weeks, refer back to point #1!)
- How your skin responds to new products often ties back to your skin barrier. Your skin barrier, which includes your skin microbiome, is an extremely crucial piece of the puzzle when you have an unexpected reaction. A disrupted skin barrier can make your skin more susceptible to allergens and breakouts, whereas a resilient, balanced skin barrier can help you adapt to new products more effectively. When your skin responds negatively to a change in routine, first ask these two questions: (1) Is this new product disrupting my skin barrier? (2) Is something else disrupting my skin barrier and causing sensitivity? If you suspect the new product is disrupting your skin barrier, discontinue use, but if you note other factors that may be impacting your skin barrier, try to address these before giving up on the product.
Pro Tip: Balance is Key
The best skincare products are formulated with your skin barrier health in mind and should not set off a major imbalance (even if there is some mild sensitivity). If you are starting a product with actives like acids, retinol, or Vitamin C, look for minimally processed plant oils/butters, humectants, and antioxidant-rich ingredients to balance out the effect of the actives. (Or better yet, look for products that balance nourishing and active ingredients directly in their formula, like our Vitamin C Regenerative Balm with Vitamin C, CoQ10, cupuaçu butter, and an herbal infusion of chamomile and calendula.)
3. EXCESSIVE DRYNESS OR OILINESS
If you find yourself grappling with extreme skin conditions, it's time to scrutinize your current skincare products. Excessive dryness may result in flakiness, tightness, and a lackluster appearance, while pronounced oiliness could lead to a perpetual shine, enlarged pores, and an increased susceptibility to breakouts. These extremes suggest that the products you're using might not be addressing your skin's specific needs—and that they may even be causing an imbalance in your skin barrier. The best skincare products should not significantly disrupt your lipid production in either direction, since we need a balanced lipid layer to maintain our skin functions.
You may have heard that you need to “dry out” acne to clear it up, for example, but did you know that dry skin is just as big of a concern for acne as oily skin is? If you dry your skin out, it will overproduce oil to compensate, and the cycle continues. Excessive oiliness can’t be prevented with drying products, but with products that help keep your lipid layer balanced. Meanwhile, if a new product is causing excessive oiliness off the bat, we all know where that can lead…(*cough* acne). Beyond a short adjustment period, if a new product is continually causing excessive dryness or oiliness, it is probably not the best skincare product for you.
PRO TIP: Don’t overcompensate with overhydration
If you think you have an oily skin type, make sure that it’s not just dehydrated and overcompensating with excess oil production (no, that’s not the same thing!) If you have never tried balancing your oil production with a hydration-forward approach, here’s where to start:
- Focus on using hydrating products and products that help improve skin hydration.
- Avoid drying or abrasive products, as well as cleansers that leave your skin feeling tight.
- Use a humidifier if your environment is dry.
- Use moisturizers with oils rich in linoleic acid to hydrate while also keeping breakouts at bay.
- Try products with super ingredient Sea Berry Oil to balance your oil production, like the Sea Berry Balancing Facial Oil.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST SKINCARE PRODUCT?
While effectiveness is often the biggest concern with a new product, these tips can also apply to products that you’ve been using for a while. Keep in mind that your skin's needs can evolve with time, seasons, or lifestyle changes. Regularly reassess your skincare routine to ensure that it remains in sync with your skin's dynamic nature. Although the best skincare products will hopefully stand the test of time, sometimes changes are needed along the way to meet your skin where it is.
Recognizing signs of a struggling skincare routine is the first step to transforming your skin. Whether you're simply not seeing improvement despite your efforts, or dealing with persistent breakouts indicating an underlying issue, these signals need attention. Regardless of your skin type, your skincare routine should aim to help your skin find a healthy balance. A balanced approach considers the unique characteristics of your skin type, steering clear of extremes that may hinder rather than enhance your skin's well-being.
PRO TIP: 4 steps to simplify your skincare routine.
If your skin is struggling and you’re not sure if anything in your routine is contributing to it, try stripping down to a simple routine of (1) cleanse, (2) hydrate, (3) moisturize, and (4) SPF while avoiding stronger actives and exfoliants. Stick to this routine for two weeks and then start reintroducing other products as needed!Achieving clear and healthy skin is a dynamic journey, requiring adaptability and an understanding of your skin's changing needs. Stay alert and responsive to these signs to create a skincare routine that suits your skin, nurturing a radiant and resilient complexion. When you begin to remove products from your routine that are hindering your success and make informed swaps based on the signals from your skin, the best skincare products for your goals are right around the corner!