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Myth Buster: Can Skin Become Immune to Products Over Time?

It’s a common misconception that you’ll need to switch up your skincare regularly to keep things ‘fresh’. Perhaps it’s a theory you’ve clocked on social media – the idea that skin can get bored, overly-accustomed (or even ‘immune’) to active ingredients in products that render them less effective over time.

If we apply human psychology to skincare – the instinctive thrill of novelty and ‘newness’ – then it’s easy to see why some people would love this theory to be true. Buying new products is fun. Trying new products is fun. There’s always something new to smudge, spray or slather on our skin. Our faces, along with our bathroom shelves, can suffer from the collective weight of it all.

The truth? Skin doesn’t get bored. People do. There are a few reasons why you might want to tweak your routine or adjust the products you use (more on that later), but the bottom line is that consistent use of products (that suit your skin type) yield the most consistent progress in terms of meeting your skin goals.

Head of Medical at Skin + Me, Dr Jason Thomson, highlights research that explains our faces aren’t fickle and skin doesn’t become resistant to repeated use of the same ingredients:

This is a common skincare myth that can be debunked by looking at ingredients where we have scientific evidence from studies that have been done over several years (what we call long-term follow up studies). 

“Tretinoin, the most active form of retinoid, is a prescription-only medicine that is the best studied of all the retinoids in treating conditions such as photo-ageing and acne. Studies have been done where people have used tretinoin regularly for between one and four years and these have shown that clinical improvements (as well as improvements seen under a microscope from biopsies) are seen over long periods and these benefits increase over time. 

“These studies have shown that consistent use for at least six months is needed to see best results and they also tell us that long-term use of tretinoin is safe, with no untoward effects.

“These studies give us scientific evidence that the opposite of this common myth is true and they form the basis for why dermatologists advise that consistency is key with skincare. Sticking to ingredients that have proven benefits is the best approach, not chopping and changing your products and routine.”

And there we have it. Results take time and switching products for ‘a change’ can actually be detrimental to making longer-term progress in a meaningful way. This is why taking your own ‘progress photos’ over months can help you see value and effectiveness more clearly.

In our ‘always on’ society that values instant results, we sometimes forget that science takes its sweet time.

Ways to find a balance between switch up and commitment

That being said, there are a few occasions when a formula change or routine refresh can make a positive difference to keep your skin glowing, and your commitment on track.

Seasons

If you’re a sensitive soul, then switch up your wraparound routine to reflect the seasons. If you suffer with dryness or sensitivity in the winter for instance, see our Dermatologist recommendations for richer options. Remember, SPF everyday, whatever the weather is crucial.

Self-Care

If you’re looking for ‘instant’ results then take some time out in your routine for gua sha – it can soften muscle tension in the face, reduce puffiness and give you a temporary circulation boost for a more radiant complexion.

Sleep

If in doubt, take it out. Drop one thing surplus to requirements in your skincare or beauty routine and strip back your routine. Goodbye toners, harsh exfoliators, disposable cleansing wipes – you get the picture. Use the time for an extra five minutes in bed – promise we won’t tell.

Sensitivity and Reactions

Active ingredients are potent, which is why your Daily Doser treatment is blended with lower concentrations of actives that increase in strength over successive formulations. If your Daily Doser treatment is giving you a reaction, contact your prescriber for direct support and recommendations. They will also adjust your formulation free of charge. Lifestyle changes such as becoming pregnant, or a change in medical circumstances can also affect what ingredients you can use. Remember to keep your prescriber updated.

Skincare Community

Skin + Me’s community group, The Collective is a hub of shared, supportive wisdom from subscribers. It just might help you find a balance between commitment to products that work, and satisfying your cravings for fresh new avenues to explore in skincare. 

Medical facts checked by Head of Medical, Dr Jason Thomson 

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