How Long Does It Take for Skin Care Products to Work?

We’ve all had good and bad experiences when it comes to skin care. And like any regular consumer, you have probably tried products that promised instant results for clear, bright, and even-toned skin. And most times, you’ve tossed these products after a week or so because, frankly, you felt they just didn’t work for you.

So how long does it take for skin care products to work? It takes about 3 to 6 weeks for skin care products to work – to start seeing an improvement. This time can be shorter or longer depending on the type of product and the severity of your skin issue. The more work that needs to be done to heal your skin, the longer it will take to see results.

Our age and particular skin cycle also affect how long it will take for the product to work. In our 20s, our skin cells take about 14 to 21 days to regenerate. In middle age, it takes about 28 days for the cells to regenerate. And as we move to our 50s and 60s, our skin cycle slows even further to about 60 to 90 days.

This is the reason why it’s important to invest in a good skin care routine that works for you, even if it means spending a little bit more. The benefits of a good skin care routine will surely outweigh the cost.

Read on to learn more about how long it takes for skin care products to work, and how you can get results faster!

How Long Does It Take for Skin Care Products to Work?

Different Skin Care Products

In this post, we will tackle three of the standard skin care products – cleansers, moisturizers, and serums. To give you better insight into how long each takes to work. Then we’ll look at three of the most common skin issues and how long each takes to get rid of.

Keep in mind that each person’s skin is different, and skin cycles must always be taken into consideration before trying a new product.


Cleansers are the most basic and probably the most important part of a skin care routine. Simply put, we cannot live without cleansers, especially now that pollution is widespread. But unlike many other skin care products, cleansers absorb quickly into the skin.

So you don’t have to wait long to know if the cleanser feels right for you. You will know that a cleanser is right for your skin if you feel clean and refreshed soon after applying, without your skin feeling tight or dry.

The right cleanser will be transformative, but not in an instant. It needs to fit your skin’s pH level to be able to work. Its primary job is to rid your skin of dirt accumulated throughout the day. It should also provide a clean base for other skin care products to work.


Like cleansers, moisturizers may also take several weeks to a few months before you can start seeing real results. While most moisturizers have ingredients like hyaluronic acid that immediately plumps skin and helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles, it would realistically take about a few weeks to know if the product is perfectly suited for your skin. It’s best to check with your dermatologist for the right kind of moisturizer for your skin type.


Serums are made to target more specific skin issues, which is why they contain concentrated amounts of ingredients that can provide solutions. But even with the more potent versions of ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, you would still need to give it about four to six weeks to work its magic and for you to see definitive results.

We’re all guilty of haphazardly trying different skin care products only for a few days without really letting our skin get accustomed to it. Once we see a big zit or blemish start to pop out, we tend to interpret this as the skin care product not working. Let’s now run through some of the common skin concerns we deal with, no matter our age.

Different Skin Care Issues


Probably the most common skin care issue in the world is acne. It usually starts to show around a person’s puberty stage, but it affects people of all ages. Some aggravating factors include poor personal hygiene and a family history of severe acne.

To put it simply, acne is a skin condition characterized by the build-up of oil and dead skin cells in hair follicles. It causes pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads and usually appears around the face, chest, shoulders, and upper back.

There are oral medications available for acne that would take about a month to start working and showing positive results. Topical products can take around six to 12 weeks to work on the skin, given they are used as prescribed by a dermatologist. Products containing retinol or vitamin C can help reduce the appearance of acne.

Dark Spots

Also called hyperpigmentation, dark spots can happen at any time and age, although it is most prevalent in people in their middle age. These are also sometimes called age spots or liver spots, depending on their cause.

Most dark spots are a result of sun exposure or artificial UV light in tanning beds. Some may also be side effects of other more severe skin conditions. Although generally harmless, some dark spots can lead to certain skin cancers, so it’s best to have yourself checked if in doubt.

Dark spots may be lightened using skin care products, but it usually takes two to three months before any significant result can be seen. And as a general rule and a word of caution, you must never skip on daily skin protection such as sunscreen or sunblock. Pigmentation recurs with sun exposure, and doing away with daily UV protection may put you at risk of re-developing dark spots.


As we age, our skin cells take longer to regenerate, which leads to a longer accumulation of dirt and dead skin cells, further leading to the development of wrinkles and fine lines. The use of anti-aging products would generally take about six weeks before any noticeable improvement.

It is advisable to regularly use anti-aging products that suit your skin as continued use can help prevent sun damage and even improve the look and feel of your skin in the course of years.

See the below video to learn more insight into how long different skin care products work:

How to See Results Faster, in a Shorter Time?

Here are a few tips to remember when you ask yourself, “How long does it take for skin care products to work?”

Consistency is key. When you try a skin care product for the first time, see to it that you use the product for at least a few weeks or until you have reached a new skin cycle. A few blemishes at the beginning mean your skin is purging unwanted elements while letting the new product work from underneath.

Also, constantly trying new products can affect your immune system’s response in the long term. Think about it this way, frequently throwing out products is like going back to square one. You are disregarding any progress the product has already made to your skin, making any skin problems worse by doing it.

Take progress photos. If you wish to track how well a new skincare product is working, take a photo to document improvements. You might be surprised at how well your skin has adjusted after the first couple of weeks.

Talk to your dermatologist. Trust the experts when it comes to your skin. They will be able to assess the exact issues of your skin and recommend the best types of products to improve its conditions. It is better to be sure before you subscribe to a new skincare routine that might not be suitable for your skin type or skin concerns.

See the below video on tips to follow to adjust your routine and start seeing results:

Conclusion – How Long Does It Take for Skin Care Products to Work?

So, how long does it take for skin care products to work?

We ran through a few of the most basic skin care products, as well as some of the common issues regarding the skin. Acne, aging, and dark spots may all be treated with a combination of products such as cleansers, moisturizers, and serums, but these all have to be suited for your skin type.

Remember that using skin care products that are not right for you can cause even more harm than good.

Here are a few more things to keep in mind.

  1. Effectiveness of a skin care product depends on the issues you are looking to treat.
  2. The prescribed usage of a product (i.e. wash off, let dry) and potency of ingredients also affect its efficiency timeline.
  3. Consideration must be given to your skin cycle.

We have all been guilty of throwing away barely used skin care products just because we experienced a few breakouts. Remember that, on average, our skin takes about 28 days to renew and gets even slower as we age.

Many skin problems like pimples, age spots, and fine lines are intensified by changes in our skin cycle and other factors such as poor personal hygiene and hormonal changes.

Remember to be patient, and consistency is key. By following the right routine, you will see improvements in no time at all. Don’t give up; remember that time heals all, and before you know it, you will heal and clear your skin.

Related reading:

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