top of page

How Long Do Skincare Products Take To Work?

It can be hard to know when a skin care product will start showing you results. One of the most common mistakes most people make is expecting to see results right away. Read this week's article from Hello Giggles which discusses generally what to expect from your skincare.


Skincare product reviews often make some pretty big claims. They’ll say things like, “this product completely erased my fine lines and wrinkles,” or “this serum made me look like I got Botox overnight.” So, when trying out new skincare products, it’s no surprise that many of us are looking to get dramatic and immediate results. The reality is, however, that things rarely work out that way. One of the common mistakes people make when trying out new products is expecting to see results right away. While some effects can be easy to judge quickly, like whether or not a product hydrates dry skin, other results, like more even skin tone or reduction of wrinkles, require a bit more patience. Skin cells turnover about every 28 days, so it could take a month or more to start seeing results.

So if a new skincare product isn't instantly transforming your skin, don't get discouraged. Depending on the specific product, the proposed benefits, your skin type, and other factors, it could take anywhere from a few minutes to a few months to experience the extent of their effects. To get more clarity, we asked Dr. Joshua Zeichner, MD, Associate Professor of Dermatology and the Director of Cosmetic & Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and two skincare scientists to help us break down the general timeline for how long you should use different skincare products before expecting results.


The straightforward purpose of a cleanser means it is appropriate to expect results right away, according to Zeichner.


Toners are difficult to test because they play more of a supporting role, acting as an additional cleansing step, while also prepping the skin for the next products, according to Frank Neuser, Ph.D., leading principal scientist at Olay. The results can be hard to isolate, but it is expected to notice results quickly. Toners have a variety of other longer-term benefits, like combatting hyperpigmentation and improving skin texture, which takes closer to four or more weeks to show up, Neuser says.


Serums have a wide range of benefits and purposes—including minimizing dark spots, brightening dull skin, and reducing the appearance of wrinkles. Serums are generally powerful formulas and can take about a month to start showing results, according to P&G senior skincare scientist, Jennifer Werner.


Moisturizers should provide immediate relief to dry skin. Werner recommends checking throughout the day to make sure the moisturizer is maintaining hydration in the skin.

Werner recommends glycerin, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid as ingredients to seek out in moisturizers.


While there may be some results within the first week or so, Zeichner says that retinol must be used regularly for weeks or months to see significant improvements in skin texture and lines.

The most immediate effect of retinol is often irritation. Retinol is a powerful active ingredient and may lead to some initial dryness, redness, and flakiness for the first two weeks.

Acne products

Acne can be a challenging issue to address, and treating it can take several weeks or months to see improvement, according to Zeichner.

Acne can have a wide range of causes and one product alone often won't be enough to completely treat skin acne. Zeichner recommends to his patients to stick with an acne regimen for at least one to two months to accurately judge whether or not it's working.

Article from Hello Giggles, blog written by Morgan Noll


bottom of page