How Long Does It Take for Anti-Blemish Products to Work?

Starting a new skincare product so often brings a glimmer of hope: slather it on at night, and all of your skin woes will be solved by sunup. But most topical skincare products just don’t work that way. Typically, it can take about a month for a new formulation to make its mark, since the average skin cycle is 28 days. But it varies from product to product — and person to person.

Here, board certified dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee (aka Dr. Pimple Popper) breaks down how long it really takes for anti-blemish products to work — and why.

Woman waiting for anti-blemish products to work

How long do anti-blemish products take to work?

If you’re dealing with persistent blemishes, your best plan of attack is a blemish system, especially one that treats and prevents every stage of pimple formation. [SLMD Skincare Blemish-Prone Skin System] provides a three-step programme for morning and night to tackle breakouts. The system includes [Salicylic Acid Cleanser, Sulfur Lotion, Retinol Serum, and Facial Moisturizer]. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown:

Anti-blemish cleanser

While cleansers will effectively clear dirt, debris and impurities from pores right away, it may take longer for blemishes to clear up. Healing blemishes is similar to healing a wound or scrape — the deeper the wound, the longer it will take. The active ingredients in cleansers have to penetrate the surface of the skin to address the source of inflammation.

Although you won’t wake up with clear skin, consistently clean skin will prevent dirt from mixing with your skin’s natural sebum inside pores, which will reduce breakouts. Dr. Lee recommends using a gentle exfoliating cleanser, like SLMD Skincare Salicylic Acid Cleanser, which cleanses deeply without leaving your skin dry or stripped.

Anti-blemish lotion

Treatment lotions for blemishes can also take time to produce significant changes. Sulfur, a popular ingredient in blemish treatments, has been used for centuries to soothe skin conditions. Dr. Lee recommends SLMD Skincare Sulfur Lotion, a gentle option that stops the growth of blemish-causing bacteria and helps control oil production.

Non comedogenic moisturiser

If you’re experiencing dry or tight skin due to treatment lotions, be sure to use a moisturiser consistently. SLMD Skincare Facial Moisturizer was developed with blemish-prone skin in mind, formulated with ingredients like vitamin C and amino acids to promote an even complexion.

Retinol treatment

Retinol (aka vitamin A) helps prevent the blemish-causing buildup of oil and debris. SLMD Skincare Retinol Serum is formulated with moisturising hyaluronic acid, vitamin C to protect from environmental stressors, and allantoin to combat irritation.

When incorporating retinol into your skincare routine, your skin may get worse before it gets better. This is because retinol is a potent, dermatological ingredient that can cause some initial irritation. If that happens, Dr. Lee advises stepping up retinol use gradually and “sandwiching” it with a nourishing product like SLMD Skincare Skin Drink.

For treatment plans like SLMD Skincare Blemish-Prone Skin System, 28 days is the average time for a full facial overhaul. In theory, the active ingredients in these products will have hit every skin cell on your skin after this period of time.

SLMD Skincare Blemish Prone Skin System

Dr. Lee’s last word

Patients are understandably eager for their anti-blemish products to work — I get it. But when you understand that we need to give skin time to adjust — it’s about biology — it makes waiting a little bit easier. I always tell people to stay consistent: it could take about a month, but to give it three months to really see the full results.

—Dr. Sandra Lee


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