Ever notice how sometimes you pick up a product from the supermarket shelf… and when you get home and use it, you really like it!
But as the days and weeks pass, you start to get bored. The product doesn’t seem to be that effective anymore. You lose interest in it. And soon, you’re in the shops, or on amazon, looking for a new face wash or moisturizer.
Why We Keep Changing Products
The real reason we don’t stick to one product is simple. It usually makes very little difference in our skin. If you saw a visible 100% improvement in your skin, you wouldn’t change your products!
If your skin became visibly smoother or softer, and you could feel the change. Or, if people started noticing and complimenting your skin, would you change your products? Of course not!
The Real Reasons Why Products Never Show Much Improvement
There are many reasons why products don’t show great improvement in your skin. Let’s look at main reasons now.
1. One Size Fits All Approach
Every manufacturer has to make products that are suitable to 90% of their customer base. Even if the product is for oily skin, not everyone’s oily skin will be the same.
For example, a 30 year old working woman with oily skin has a certain skin type. A 20 year old college student may also have oily skin, but her needs are still different.
The 30 year old may have a long commute and exposure to pollution. The 20 year old may have acne issues, and a need to clean pores thoroughly.
The 30 year old is facing skin barrier damage due to continuous exposure to hundreds of chemicals (1). Whereas the 20 year old has sensitive skin that reacts to light with redness and burning.
These are just examples to show that even within oily skin, people can have very different skin characteristics.
But, manufacturers need their products to “work” for everyone. So they leave the important things out – so that the ones with sensitized and damaged skin don’t get a reaction. And they keep concentrations weak, so that everyone can “safely” use these products.
Unfortunately, the ingredients, concentrations, and overall formulation is thus too weak. And it doesn’t have much effect.
One product doesn’t suit all. And it never can.
2. Your Skin Keeps Changing
Another factor for low product effectiveness is skin’s changing characteristics.
That is, your skin keeps changing depending on many factors.
Let’s take the example of the 30-year-old in New Delhi.
If she was to change her job, and move to a different city, such as Mumbai, her skin too will change.
This is because Mumbai is much more humid than Delhi across the year. Additionally, pollution levels vary from city to city, and within parts of the city itself. This affects the skin’s barrier, and thus its needs.
In Delhi, if she was traveling by A/C cab, versus taking the train in Mumbai, her exposure to the environment changes.
In this way, her skin will adapt to the environment, and change accordingly.
This is just one example of what causes your skin’s characteristics to change.
Some of the factors that affect skin’s changing characteristics are:
The Changing Weather
Where You Live
The Products You Use
Time Spent Outdoors, etc.
Here too, one product cannot take care of your skin, as your skin’s needs are always changing.
3. Your Current Skin Care Routine & Products
Your products play a large part in determining your skin. That is, if you have been using products with harsh ingredients, it will damage your skin.
Same goes for products with problematic ingredients like SLS, SLES, Parabens, etc.
Using products that are unsuitable for your skin can also cause damage. For example, an oily skin person who uses a strong cleanser is also removing key lipids while addressing excess oiliness.
Using products that aren’t pH balanced leaves skin open to external attacks. Bacteria, fungi and microparticulate pollution can thus enter skin, and cause damage.
Thus, using unsuitable, unsafe or harsh products damages skin. In order for any product to be effective, the product needs to suit your skin, and work on fixing the damage.
So Now What? What Is The Right Method To Good Skin?
Giving your skin what it needs to stay healthy, issue free and “glowing” is actually not that hard. It consists of three steps:
1. Knowing Your Skin
Before you can think about which products you need to use on a daily basis, it is important to know your skin. What is your skin type? What are its characteristics? How about your lifestyle, and your location?
Have you been using products that may have hurt your skin? Is your skin sensitive to products, or light? Do you have acne, or acne scars? Or even tan or dark patches?
Answering these questions helps you understand your skin’s nature, and it’s needs.
2. Getting The Right Products
Using the right products on your skin makes all the difference. When it comes to products, the key things for you to consider are:
What do I need to do on a daily basis? For example, cleaning my face, moisturizing my face, and addressing my dark spots.
What are the ingredients that are suitable for my skin type, and for this purpose? Are they effective? Are they available?
Are the products that I am using safe? Do they meet safety standards? Are there any harsh ingredients I am exposing my skin to Using harsh products might give you an artificial “benefit,” but will damage your skin as the days go on.
3. Keeping Your Products Updated
As we know, skin changes from time to time depending on many factors. That’s why it’s important to keep checking if the products you are using are the ones you really need. No one regimen lasts a lifetime, so staying up to date with your skin and products is key.
The Best Way To Get Great Skin Care (And Thus, Great Skin!)
Given that you need to know your skin, get the right products, and follow up, a dermatologist is best.
A dermatologist can help you identify your skin’s needs. And address your skin issues. He or she can issue the right products that are best suited and most effective for you. He or she can also keep following up with you to keep your skin care on track.
But, there are a 2 main issues with dermatologists.
Dermatologist appointments are expensive. So are the products they recommend. If you have a skin issue, the cost will be higher. A year’s worth of appointments and products can be as much as 7,000/- Rs. a month on average. A quality dermatologist may be even be more expensive depending on your city.