Why does it take so long to see benefits from a new skin care routine?

Although many skin care ads claim that your skin will improve immediately or in 1-3 days, benefits from a new skin care routine usually take longer. It can take 12- 16 weeks or more to see benefits from a new skin care routine. How long it takes for the skin to change depends upon what skin concerns you are treating, what products you are using and how consistent you are with your new skin care routine. 

This blog will discuss when you will see skin changes from a new skin care routine, how long to wait to switch products if skin isn't improving, and how to know if your skin routine is working.

So- how long should you give a new skin care routine? At least 12 weeks.

Why does it take so long to see benefits from a new skin care routine?

Skin routine benefits are faster with a customized routine

Every product step in your skin care routine needs to be optimized so that all of the products will work faster with fewer side effects. How long each product takes to work depends upon what other products are layered together in the routine.

We have figured all of this out for you. Once you take the skin type quiz we give you the exact optimized regimen steps that have been customized for you.

You can find your regimen steps here.

You can find your skin type test results here.

Keep reading to see how long it takes to see benefits from a new skin care routine if you follow our advice exactly. Our advice assumes you are following the full personalized skin care routine recommended for you.

When will I see benefits from a new skin care routine?

When you will see benefits from a new skin care routine

If your skin is not improving on your routine, how long should you wait to switch products? It depends on many things and what the issue is.

Is it not working or you are having a reaction?

My skin care routine is not working

Keep reading to see how long it takes for your routine to work and how to know if it is working.

Make sure you are following our personalized regimen advice that we gave you when you took the quiz.

I'm having a reaction to a product

How long to see results from new skin care routine

How long it takes to see results from a new skin care routine depends upon your Baumann Skin Type and the skin issues you are treating. 

Most Baumann Skin Types should wait at least 12 weeks after beginning a new routine to switch skin care products.

If your kin isn't improving, here are some things you need to know about how fast products can change the skin.

Texture improves the fastest, then very fine lines get better as skin hydration improves, then inflammation begins to clear as skin becomes less sensitive, followed by dark spots around 8-12 weeks and deeper wrinkles improve last around 6 months.

This is the order that skin improvement is usually seen if you are using the best skin care routine for your skin type:

  1. Texture
  2. Glow and radiance
  3. Hydration (less dryness)
  4. Fine lines due to rough texture or dehydration
  5. Stinging and burning
  6. Redness
  7. Acne
  8. Dark Spots, hyperpigmentation, and Melasma
  9. Deeper Wrinkles

This is roughly how log each skin concern takes to see changes after a new routine:

  1. Texture- immediate
  2. Glow and radiance- immediate
  3. Hydration (less dryness)- 1-3 days
  4. Fine lines due to rough texture or dehydration- 1-3 days
  5. Stinging and burning- 2-3 days
  6. Redness- 5+ days. Can take a month.
  7. Acne- 8 weeks
  8. Dark Spots, hyperpigmentation, and Melasma 12-16 weeks or more
  9. Deeper Wrinkles- 6 months

You can learn more about how long it takes Vitamin C serum to work and how long for retinol to work on wrinkles in these blogs.

Some benefits from new routines are noticeable in just a few days

Skin texture benefits from a new skin care routine

Skin texture improves fast with a new routine if you are using exfoliators. They remove the top dead layer of skin cells making the skin feel instantly smoother and look more radiant.  You should notice skin smoothness immediately after using a face scrub, alpha hydroxy acid, and most enzyme cleansers and masks.

Although retinol and Vitamin C have some mild exfoliating abilities, they are  not strong enough to give immediate benefits.

Once the texture has smoothed, the skin will become glowing and more radiant. (This is called glass skin)

ascorbic acid, vitamin C

Decreased dryness and hydration benefits from a new skin care routine

How long is takes for dry skin to go away with a new skin care routine is usually 1-3 days. There are many types of moisturizers that contain various combinations of humectants , occlusive ingredients, fatty acids, oils, and barrier repair ingredients. How fast you see changes with moisturizers and the types of changes you see depends upon the ingredients in the face creams.

In general- humectants like hyaluronic acid, heparan sulfate, and glycerin are immediate. When humectants are used at the same time as occlusive ingredients, you get plump hydrated skin within a few hours.  This is referred to as jello skin.

It ca take 3- 7 days to repair your skin barrier which helps your skin be less sensitive and hold onto water better. If you use a barrier repair moisturizer, you should notice that your skin is less reactive in about a week.

How long to see wrinkle improvement with a new skin care regimen?

To explain how fast wrinkles improve, I am going to divide them into 3  types of wrinkles of different depths.

  • Fine lines and shallow wrinkles improve with exfoliators and moisturizers in 1-3 days.

  • Medium size lines and mid depth wrinkles can improve immediately with ingredients that deposit a layer on the skin's surface to hide wrinkles  Examples of ingredients that improve wrinkles fast are glycosaminoglycans, peptides, and polymers. However, these results are temporarily and go away when the ingredient is washed off.  They do not treat the causes of skin aging, they just cover up the wrinkles.

  • Deep wrinkles can take 6 months or more to get better. Vitamin C, retinoids, growth factors, and exosomes are the best antiaging ingredients to treat deep lines.  It takes a long time to improve deep wrinkles because they need the amount of collagen in the skin to increase to see wrinkle improvement. 

How to know if your skin care routine is working

How to know if your skin routine is working

Your skin care routine is working if you see improved hydration and less sensitivity in the few few weeks. 

It is normal to have some acne purging in the first few weeks but you should have fewer clogged pores and less acne breakouts in 8 weeks. 

Your dark spots may look worse in the first 4-6 weeks as they come to the surface. By 8-12 weeks you should begin to see lightening of the hyperpigmentation if you are using the right skin care products to treat hyperpigmentation. If you have a darker skin type, it may take even longer for products to work.

It is impossible to know if your wrinkle creams are working before 6 months because you need to give them time to work. However, you can get an idea if retinoids are working on your wrinkles because you should be having some retinoid side effects like stinging and peeling.  If not, you should consider using a stronger retinoid.

How long to wait to switch products if skin isn't improving

Give a new skin care routine 8 weeks to work. 

When you take our quiz and get your custom dermatolgoist- developed skin routine , we will send you monthly emails to tell you what results to look for. 

We will tell you: 

So watch for these emails.  They are personalized to you to guide you.  Mark them as safe so they do not go to your junk folder.

Why does it take so long to see skin changes and benefits from a new skin care routine?

The epidermis takes about 40 days to renew itself in a process called desquamation.

This is why you start to see a smooth texture and increased radiance first with your skin care products. You may see changes in hydration, smoothness, and radiance in a few hours or days.

This is how the companies can get away with telling you you will see "instant results" from new skin care products.

Immediate skin improvement occurs with exfoliation

top layer of skin

If you use an exfoliant- the top layer of the epidermis called the stratum corneum is partially removed. This leaves the skin instantly smoother.

(This is the sales strategy that the skin care brand sales people use in malls when they insist on showing you how your skin is instantly smoother and more radiant.)

After exfoliating, you will see changes in smoothness and radiance immediately, but this benefit only lasts a day. Do not over exfoliate.

Why does it take a skin care routine months to give a long term benefit?

In your customized dermatologist developed skin care routine that we design for you and your Baumann Skin Type - we are striving for long term skin improvement and healthier skin. This takes time!

This is why we guide you through the first 3 months until we can get you on a stable long term maintenance skin care routine.

Why it takes so long to see permanent changes in skin thickness, firmness and wrinkles:

  • Fibroblast cells in the dermis must be affected by the skin care products.
  • Not all skin care product penetrate to the dermis unless the right cleansers and moisturizers are used
  • It takes time for genes to turn on and have action
  • Pathways need to get turned on an off- and stay on and off

Consistency is important and 95% of people use less topical creams than their dermatologists-recommend (1). Your skin care routine will work must faster if you use the complete skin care routine that we recommended for you every day.

Fibroblast cells in the dermis of skin

Pathways that must be affected by skin care in order to improve skin

Many pathways need to be affected by skin care in order to make a long term benefits. To learn more about the complicated science of what skin care must do to improve these conditions, click on the condition below.

As you can see, there are many different biologic processes that affect how long it takes for skin to get better on a new skin care routine.

Here is an example of a patient with acne who used her Baumann Skin Type to design the perfect customized skin care routine for her unique needs.

How long for acne to clear

Don't get frustrated and stop you routine too early. We ae here to help! Read the emails from us and reach out on social media @SkinTypeSolutions if you have questions.

You can hear interviews from others with your skin type and hear abut their skin challenges and see if they have the same problems as you on our playlist called Skin Type Talks on our SkinTypSolutions YouTube channel.

Level up your skin care knowledge with medical advice from dermatologists


  1. Storm, A., Benfeldt, E., Andersen, S. E., & Serup, J. (2008). A prospective study of patient adherence to topical treatments: 95% of patients underdose. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 59(6), 975-980.

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