Why Isn’t My Skincare Routine Working? 7 Reasons You Haven’t Considered

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Do you ever wonder: Why isn’t my skincare routine working? Why haven’t I seen any results yet? If you’ve found yourself asking these questions, you are not alone! You have likely done your research, bought a slew of products, and perhaps even spent a small fortune on them.

So when these products don’t work or yield the result you were expecting, it’s a BIG BLOW!

Pssst! If you prefer to watch instead of read, I also made a Youtube video covering this topic.

But before you go writing off every product in your medicine cabinet, there are a few practical steps you can take to ensure it’s not simply a user error- because after all, we’re human.

No. 1 // Address Your Routine

Do you have a solid routine? Do you actually stick to it each day?

You may be rolling your eyes and yelling at your screen, “If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be reading this article!”- but hear me out. If you are not 100% committed, diligent, & unwavering in your skincare routine, you don’t have the right to say your skincare is not working.

Great skin was never born out of a lazy skincare routine.

I’m looking at you- yeah, you- the one who slept in their makeup last night. Or you- the one who didn’t wear makeup yesterday, so you decided you didn’t need to wash your face or apply any products at all. And you, too- the one who says they didn’t do their routine because they didn’t leave the house at all yesterday. It’s bologna. Skip the excuses & do your routine, AM & PM! EVERY DAMN DAY.

No. 2 // Read the Ingredients

Behentrimonium Methosulfate? If you don’t know what it is, look it up!

Contrary to popular belief: just because you can’t pronounce it, doesn’t mean it’s bad. This is not about avoiding chemicals, it’s about knowing what you’re putting on your skin so that you are 200% sure it’s suitable for your skin’s condition and needs.

If you’re struggling with fungal acne and wondering which products could be contributing to the growth of malassezia folliculitis, check out my video of Ingredients to Avoid if You Have Fungal Acne.

Another thing to note here is that if you are aware a product you’re using is not suited to your skin, STOP USING IT! I don’t care that you only use it occasionally. It’s not worth it & it’s making everything else you’re doing well obsolete.

No. 3 // Strip it Back!

Okay, what if I’m diligent with my routine, I know the ingredients are suitable, and my skincare still isn’t working?

If you’re still having issues- it’s time to start stripping it back. I often think of this as an elimination diet for your skin. You can’t pinpoint what’s causing the problem unless you start eliminating products.

Say you’re using a cleanser, a serum, & a moisturizer. Start by taking the serum away & give it a few solid days. Did you notice any difference? Every now and again even ingredients that should be safe/suitable can mess things up. Do your best & try to eliminate products 1 at time and see if something magical happens!

How many products do you really need in a skincare routine anyway? Watch this video to find out.

No. 4 // Pay More Attention

This one is vital! When you apply your cleanser, pay attention! Be present as you massage that serum into your skin. Beware of products that make you feel a little itchy, red, irritated, or swollen. Sometimes these adverse affects are subtle, so it will take a keen eye & attention to detail.

I’m a big advocate of photographing your skin weekly & keeping a skin diary so you can truly track what’s happening!

If you notice any of your products causing irritation of this nature, DISCONTINUE USE IMMEDIATELY. If everything is just dandy, be honest with yourself. Have you seen big changes, or just subtle results? Perhaps since you started your routine, the overall irritation on your skin has decreased, perhaps your pores do appear smaller. This leads me to number 5…

No. 5 // Give it Time

I mean, no need to give it a year to take effect, but one night is not nearly enough! The truth is, time is your friend when it comes to healing skin & knowing if your retinol is really working.

When you read reviews of people raving that *name a product* cleared my skin in just one night! – BEWARE.

In general, you should see some sort of result within the first week of a good skincare system. This will often look like a more even skin-tone with less redness or irritation. As it progresses over the following weeks, you may see pimples dry up, your skin appearing more plump & hydrated, a reduction in the appearance of your fine lines (it will all depend on what you’re using).

For those of us clearing acne: time is key. As long as it’s not getting worse, you’re likely onto something good, so be patient!

No. 6 // Stay Calm & Remember: Not Everything You Read on the Internet is True!

Shocker, I know!

Look, there are a lot of great, trustworthy people out there offering their two-cents. On the flip side, there are a LOT of people with a lot of really bad advice.

It’s up to you to decipher good and bad, who you trust, and the advice you will take. I’ve taken terrible advice before, and I’ve taken good advice. Practice doing your research or seeking out trusted sources until you feel comfortable enough to make a well-informed decision for yourself. And once you do, it’s ok if you mess up. We all have to learn, and usually we learn things the hard way.

Still, the fact remains: if a beauty guru is telling you to slather your face in coconut oil, but you know your skin doesn’t agree with coconut oil- DON’T DO IT if it doesn’t feel right for you. (And seriously, I 100% advise AGAINST using coconut oil on your face, and yes- I’ve done it.) I don’t care if an influencer claims it’s how she cleared her acne & healed her severely dehydrated skin..

No. 7 // Just Because a Product Claims to do xyz, doesn’t mean it does

I saved the best piece of advice for last.

Even if a product is 100% suitable for your skin & claims to deliver everything you’re looking for doesn’t mean it will. This is undoubtedly why the beauty market is so saturated. Think about it: Would we really need a trillion different cosmetic products and beauty brands if these formulas actually did what they claim to do?

I know you trust your best friend, but when that expensive serum she recommended (and swears by) leaves you with nothing but breakouts, gift it to her and go find one that works for you. We’re all unique little unicorns, and what works for one doesn’t work for all.

What skincare products do I recommend for best results?

Paula’s Choice RESIST Daily Hydrating Fluid Face Moisturizer SPF 50
EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF46
Stridex Maximum Strength Medicated Pads
Differin Gel (Adapalene 0.1%)
The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 30ml
Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser
FAB Hello Fab Coconut Water Cream
Hada Labo Skin Plumping Gel Moisturizer
Bioderma Sensibio H2O Soothing Micellar Cleanser Makeup Remover
BIODERMA Hydrabio Gel Crème Moisturizer
Biossance 100% Squalane Oil
CeraVe Healing Ointment
CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser 4% Benzoyl Peroxide
Clearsil Stubborn Acne Ultra 5 in 1 Pads
Albolene Moisturizing Cleanser
BIODERMA Sébium Purifying Cleansing Foaming Gel
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
Vaseline Petroleum Jelly
Summer’s Eve Fragrance Free PH Balance Cleansing Wash
CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30
AVEENO Baby Cleansing Therapy Moisturizing Wash
Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water
Asterwood Naturals Hyaluronic Acid
CeraVe Baby Cream
CeraVe Hydrating Micellar Water
2oz Amber Glass Small Empty Spray Bottle, Fine Mist Spray, Set of 3
St. Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Mousse

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why your skincare isn't working