Gals and gents, if your exorbitantly priced, potent formulas are no longer delivering on the promise of supple, spotless skin, you've got a problem at hand, bummer. While a vast array of reasons could be responsible for this—think on the lines of pollution, hormonal imbalances, and other external stressors—maybe, just maybe, your skincare routine has *actually* stopped working for you.
"The skin isn't known to develop immunity to products. That said, after some time, you may stop noticing any significant change and/or improvement on your skin. Why, you ask? Well, there's no one reason you can pinpoint; it's often a combination of factors," explains Dr Jaishree Sharad, a Mumbai-based Celebrity Dermatologist. Dr Madhu Chopra, Cosmetologist and Managing Director, Studio Aesthetique, adds, "In such a case, it is important to take a moment and examine the skincare regime you are following. Doing so can help determine the root cause, and you can tweak your routine accordingly."
A Complex Case of Habituation
Habituation can work in two ways; one, your skin is adapted to the exposure of those products, or two, you've gotten used to the results and seem to have forgotten what your skin used to be before you began using them. In the first case, Dr Madhu Chopra suggests that you replace a product at a time to figure out what is no longer working. "We recommend that you be consistent with your skincare routine for at least a few weeks, to test how well it’s working for you. For optimal results, wait around for a few months." On the other hand, Dr Jaishree explains, "When you use a new product, initially, your skin will show results in the form of radiance or glow. After a while, this apparent change will reach a plateau. Hence, while your routine may still be benefitting your skin, it may not yield OVERT effects, causing you to believe that it's no longer working."
Heck You, Hormones
Any drastic lifestyle change, consumption of an unhealthy diet, heightened stress, and other underlying medical concerns or medication may trigger some hormonal changes in the body. These, in turn, can lead to changes in skin texture. Your skin may start acting out, irrespective of the products you apply to keep the beauty woes in check. Modifying your lifestyle—regular exercise, healthy diet, meditation—can work in your favour.
Climatic alterations may cause changes in your skin, leading you to believe that your products are no longer working. "Climate change plays a vital role when it comes to skin concerns. Based on the weather conditions, one must eliminate/add products to their daily routine. For instance, heavyweight, hydrating products and creams that one may opt for during winters may feel too heavy in the summer. Hence, applying lightweight, breathable products amidst the heat and humidity is preferred," Dr Chopra puts forth.
Check the Expiry Date—And, Have You Been Storing Your Products Properly?
A probable, likely reason is the fact that your products have crossed their expiration date. While these products may stop working entirely, they may even end up having adverse effects on your skin—rashes, skin allergies, irritation, redness, inflammation, the works. According to Dr Chopra, specific ingredients in products may become less effective over time if not stored correctly. Therefore, one must avoid repeated opening-closing of lids and mustn't leave bottles in humid spaces. Store products in a cool, dry place and close them immediately after use. "Regularly clean applicators, brushes, sponges, and other tools to avoid contamination of the products," adds Dr Jaishree.
Sudden Lifestyle Changes
Your skin is a dynamic organ. It must evolve with age, stress, pollution, hormones, and your lifestyle, in general. "If you find yourself ingesting a lot more alcohol, drinking less water, excessive smoking, or spending prolonged periods under the sun, the products may not work as effectively. In such a case, the products aren't to be blamed. You must begin by altering your lifestyle first," posits Dr Jaishree. PS. Keep track of whether any new medication is hampering your product effectiveness.
Right Products, Wrong Application
"We suggest that you leave adequate time between product applications to allow for the product to absorb into the skin. Plus, you must use the right products in the right proportions and combinations. Consult your dermatologist on how to use your products correctly," suggests Dr Chopra. She also adds, "The continuous use of serums and creams can exhaust your skin. Sometimes, your skin just needs to be left alone for a while. Instead of following a complex skincare routine, just cleanse, moisturise, and religiously apply sunscreen. It is important to allow your skin to breathe while you step back to evaluate your routine."
Consistency is Key
You may begin your skincare routine with gusto, following every step to the tee. However, often enough, after seeing visible results, one tends to become complacent. "Your skin requires lifetime maintenance. Hence, you must be consistent and must comply with your skin needs. For instance, when you use a chemical exfoliant—such as an Alpha Hydroxy serum or retinol—if you have a lot of dead skin, it sheds with the use of these exfoliants. Although, over time, as the dead skin sheds, you may become complacent as you're satisfied with the results and no longer see visible dead skin," explains Dr Jaishree.
Image: Courtesy Cosmopolitan US