How Long It Takes for Skincare to Work?

Patience is a virtue, but can we be frank with you? We at Ishtar HQ aren’t the most patient sort. And while we (endlessly) preach that skincare is a long game and not many products produce immediate results, sometimes we need to remind ourselves of that.

Our skin sheds daily. The cell turnover is a natural process and normally takes about 28 days. That said – with age the process slows down. It can get interrupted for any number of reasons. Sometimes it can take up to 6 weeks for the top layer of our skin to turn over.

Why is that important? Because with the majority of skincare products (be it over-the-counter or prescription-strength), it takes a while before we see results. That said – if a non-prescription strength product makes your skin irritated or inflamed, do discontinue use. Let’s take a look at the most used products in our routines. So how long do we need to wait before we see if the product is working or not?


Cleansers are relatively easy since the results are almost instantaneous. The wrong type of cleanser (one with a high pH) can cause problems for the hardiest of skins. Regardless of your skin type, find a low pH cleanser that won’t strip your skin of its natural oils. A gentle cleanser should leave your skin feeling clean and comfortable.


Like cleansers, moisturisers are easy. The results are visible within a few uses. Your skin should be smooth, comfortable, and balanced. With consistent use, you will get a clear idea if the moisturiser is working for your skin within a couple of weeks.


It doesn’t matter if you opt for a sheet mask, a hydrating or a clay mask, the improvement should be visible after one use.

Chemical exfoliants

Various acids are trickier insomuch it may take some trial and error until you find an acid that works best for your skin. Next, there is the small matter of the right percentage and frequency. All skin is different, and what works for one person, doesn’t necessarily work for someone else. It’s important to monitor your skin carefully. In general terms, the most immediate results (smoother texture and tone, brighter skin, clear pores) should be visible within a couple of uses. In case of higher percentages or overnight peels within one use.

That said – to maintain the results, you’ll need to find the weekly/monthly frequency that works best for your skin. If in doubt, err on the side of caution. Less can definitely be more.

For people who haven’t used acid products before, we recommend using our Ultralase 10 Mandelic acid treatment twice per week (for at least two weeks). If the skin is tolerating the product well, it is possible to increase the usage to every other evening.


Serums are the heavy hitters of the skincare world. But regardless of their price tag and marketing claims, there are no overnight miracles. The only way to see if the serum is working for your skin is consistent use. That is especially true when it comes to serums with active ingredients (like retinol or vitamin C).

A vast number of studies confirm retinol does work. However, it takes some time to see its benefits. Allow at least 12 weeks of continued use. Likewise, with constant use, the results should continue to improve. The same time frame applies for serums with vitamin C or serums that treat hyperpigmentation.

And let’s not forget our BFF sunscreen. We should all use sunscreen daily. But especially so, if our routines contain active ingredients that make the skin more susceptible to UV penetration.

If your skin is healthy and balanced, your skincare routine works. To treat anything more complicated like acne, hyperpigmentation, or fine lines, only over time, you will see the results.

Roberta Striga