It’s easy to get excited when trying a new skincare product that claims to do this or that. It is, however, also easy to get disappointed or frustrated when you don’t see the results it promises to give you. You might also be tempted to stop using that product or try a new one to get the payoff you desperately want and deserve. 

How Long Do Skin Care Products Take to Work

Many of us hate waiting, so it is only natural to want to see immediate improvements after applying something to the face. This mindset, however, will only set you up for disappointment. You cannot expect overnight results from skin care, as it takes time for the active ingredients to work at a deeper level and make a difference.

A general rule of thumb 

The time it takes for skin care to work varies from product to product and the results you want to achieve. In many cases, you need to use it consistently for at least a month to see visible improvements. This is because it takes approximately 28 days for the skin cells to turn over. This cycle then slows down as you age. 

On average, you can start to see real changes in your skin between 1 to 3 months of consistently using a product. Just do take note that waiting a few months doesn’t necessarily guarantee results. The effectiveness of ingredients, furthermore, varies as some are more potent or work quicker than others.

How long do certain products take to work?

Here are simple or general estimates of how long you need to wait to see results for different types of skincare products.


These products work at a surface level to remove dirt and excess oil from your skin, so the results are immediate. A good face cleanser can leave your skin feeling cleaner, refreshed, and softer. If your skin feels tight and dry after cleansing, it could be due to using a harsh cleanser that can strip off your skin or over washing your face.

Some formulas also perform additional functions, such as targeting or managing oily or blemish-prone skin. If you’re using such products, you need to wait for about a month before you start seeing these extra benefits.


A good face moisturizer is a must for every skincare. Applying it offers an immediate effect in smoothing and plumping the skin, especially a formula with hyaluronic acid. Upon using a good moisturizer, your face should feel soft and hydrated, and no longer dry, tight, or flaky. You can expect the full results to show within a week or two. 


With a wide range of serums available today, it is difficult to predict how long it will take for you to see changes. A good rule of thumb, however, is that most serums require between 6 to 8 weeks of consistent use to see visible results. Some products, of course, may take longer, depending on their potency (strength) or the severity of your skin issue.

Vitamin C serums, for instance, are used to brighten skin and fade hyperpigmentation. You may be able to see improvements after three weeks, but for significant fading of dark spots, it can take about two months.

Medical-grade products such as anti-aging serums also fare better than pharmacy or drugstore brands. This is because they contain high quality and concentration of active ingredients backed by studies. 

We recommend Dr. Sylvia’s Age Defying Serum with Skin Tightening Helix. It contains a blend of ingredients (plant extracts, vitamins, unique snail secretion) that can lift and tighten the skin’s appearance, as well as deliver collagen and elastin. 

Eye creams

A good eye cream can do wonders in waking up your eyes like helping reduce dark circles and puffiness. This is especially true for those with ingredients such as caffeine, peptides, and hyaluronic acid. You may be able to see results between 4 and 8 weeks, but this can still depend on the severity of the issues you are looking to improve. 

Another important thing to take note of is that a number of external factors can affect the appearance of the skin around the eyes. Dark circles and eyebags, for instance, can be due to or exacerbated by lack of sleep, stress, and pollution. Aging, genetics, and fatigue can also play a part.


This vitamin A derivative is getting more and more popular due to its ability to increase cell turnover and stimulate collagen synthesis, reducing the look of lines and wrinkles. The time you need for these results also varies and depends on the strength of the product you’re using.

Prescription or high-strength retinols take about 4 to 6 weeks to show results. Pharmacy brands or low-strength ones, of course, take a little longer, but this does not mean you should use a higher dose. With retinol, it is best to start with a lower strength and work your way up. 


The results can depend on the type of product you are using. Physical exfoliants or those with tiny particles or gritty materials show results almost instantly, with your skin looking and feeling smoother. Just do take note that abrasives may damage your skin and cause micro tears if not done carefully.

Chemical exfoliants are a good alternative to physical exfoliants, as they rely on chemicals such as alpha and beta-hydroxy acids (AHAs and BHAs) to help get rid of dead skin cells. You may see immediate improvements, but full results may be seen after 12 weeks. Be patient and don’t be tempted to use them excessively or increase your strength. 

Keep in mind

Patience is key. Good skin care products take time to show results. Be wary of those that claim they can make a difference immediately or after just a few days. It is also important to do a patch test when trying a new product to make sure that it is right for you. 

Browse through our website or get in touch with us to learn more about our treatments and medical-grade skin care products. Contact Cutis Medical Laser Clinics in Singapore at +65 6801 4000 to schedule a consultation with one of our aesthetic doctors.