Lab notes  /  Skincare  /  The Myth of Instant Skincare Results: What to Expect and When

The Myth of Instant Skincare Results: What to Expect and When

Even the most effective skincare needs time to show results.

Amelia CranstounContent Editor
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Amelia Cranstoun
Written byAmelia CranstounContent Editor
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In today's fast-paced culture of immediate solutions (or the promise of!), it's common for us to anticipate quick fixes in our skincare routines. With the allure of next-day transformations, who hasn't dreamt of witnessing miraculous results overnight? But, in truth, skincare doesn't abide by this rush. The reasons? Skin's intricate biology and the science of skincare products.

Understanding Skin's Complexity

Our skin is the largest organ in the body, and it's a lot more intricate than it might seem at first glance. It consists of multiple layers, each with its own distinct function and role. The epidermis, its outer layer, protects against external hazards like UV radiation, pollutants, and harmful microorganisms. Below this is the dermis, housing structural elements, blood vessels, nerves, and the pivotal protein, collagen.

This intricacy underscores why immediate skincare outcomes are as impractical as expecting a cake to bake in mere moments. Like any recipe, the ingredients of skincare - from formulation to application - require patience to deliver desired results.

Skin Cycle: Cell Turnover and Renewal

One of the key factors that contribute to the delayed results of skin care is the natural process of cell turnover and renewal. Our skin cells are constantly regenerating, but this process occurs over a span of several weeks, we call this the skin cycle. What we are trying to say here, is that we basically shed! Like a snake. The epidermis is comprised of multiple layers of cells, and the cells at the bottom layer are the newest. Over time, these cells move towards the surface, where they eventually shed, revealing the fresher cells underneath.

When we introduce new skincare products, such as serums, moisturisers, or treatments, they work in synergy with this natural process. Active ingredients like Vitamin C or Retinol need time to penetrate the various layers of the epidermis and interact with the skin cells. This interaction gradually triggers changes at a cellular level, which become more apparent as the older cells are shed and replaced by newer ones.

Building Collagen and Repairing Damage

Collagen, a protein responsible for maintaining skin's firmness and elasticity, is another key player in skincare. While numerous products promote collagen-boosting benefits, it's imperative to understand that collagen synthesis is a marathon, not a sprint.

Collagen production involves a complex biological process that occurs deep within the dermis. Ingredients that stimulate collagen production, such as retinoids or peptides, need to work with the skin's natural processes, which inherently require time. As collagen levels increase gradually, the visible effects become more pronounced.

Instant vs. Long-Term Effects in Skincare

There are indeed products offering temporary results. For instance, certain eye creams or pore-minimising treatments use ingredients that give an instant blurring effect. These provide short-term optical illusions rather than lasting change. While they may mask imperfections momentarily, the real transformative results in skincare are generally progressive.

When to believe the adverts

There are a few technologies used within skincare to give a visible effect. 

The first is for a blurring or pore-minimising effect. This is typically provided by including a silicone elastomer in the formulation. Silicone elastomers have a very cushiony texture which fills in grooves including pores, fine lines etc to give the skin a filtered look (much like icing a cake). These are common in makeup primers, as they create a smooth, even canvas for makeup to sit on top of. 

There is another technology that has more recently been used in instant eye lift products, where you pat it on to an area with fine lines and it seems to smooth them out in front of your eyes. The way this is achieved is through the use of film-forming ingredients, most commonly PVP (polyvinylpyrrolidone). The formulation is applied wet, and then as it dries it shrinks and forms a very thin film on the skin’s surface, creating a tautening effect in the area. This type of film-forming technology is also used in hair spray, nail varnish and mascara, allowing them to ‘set’ after application.  

Neither of these instant results technologies offers any long-term benefit to the skin. That is not to say the overall formula won’t. It is still possible to include beneficial skin ingredients alongside these instant effect technologies.

While we thrive in a world that often promises the instant, skincare invites us to embrace a slower, more deliberate pace. Building a solid skincare routine and managing our expectations can lead to healthier, more radiant skin in the long run. Remember, just as Rome wasn't built in a day, glowing and healthy skin is a product of patience, dedication, and science-backed practices.

For expert guidance, tailored routines, and enduring support, consider joining Renude. Begin with our skin quiz and engage with licensed and experienced aestheticians for your bespoke skincare strategy.

Amelia CranstounContent Editor
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