Can your skin get "used" to products? Why your go-to skincare regimen isn't working anymore.

Skincare is a little like playing Russian Roulette.

You spend ages (and often a lot of money) trying different products in the hope they’ll be the magic elixir that will fix your skin concern.

Eventually – hopefully – you find a regimen that works for you, and you can sit there smugly while the compliments about your flawless skin roll in.

But then, maybe a few months, maybe even a few years later, your hard-earned routine betrays you and stops working.

“I’m going to have to start all over again!” a friend going through the exact situation above cried to me yesterday.

So what’s going on?

Dr Frauke Neuser, Olay Senior Scientist, says a common myth is that skin can get “used” to a product.

“I’ve come across [this myth] when I worked in hair too, when you have to change your shampoo every month but it’s neither true for shampoo or skincare,” she says.

“It’s not that your skin will be immune all of a sudden to those ingredients or it will get lazy. People think if I start using anti-ageing products in my 20s then my  skin will get lazy and rely on the skincare – that’s not how it works. You don’t get immune to drinking water – your body needs it.”

According to skincare expert Jennifer Brodeu, who as well has having over 20 years experience tends to the faces of Oprah and Michelle Obama, it’s not your skin getting “used” to a product, but rather your skin changing.

I’ve finally got round to trying @deciem The Ordinary skincare and have to say, I’m pretty impressed. The no-frills brand has got rid of the fancy packaging, marketing jargon and filler ingredients to bring you simple, scientifically backed products that do exactly what they say on the label. It’s refreshing – and very good for your bank account considering most sit under the $20 mark. I’ve been using the hyaluronic acid for a few weeks now and have noticed a difference in how my skin looks, more plump and ‘alive’ if that’s a thing (it is now!). However I do have a few minor gripes with the brand… (it’s a little confusing and you may not always enjoy the texture/smells.) Check out my full review via the link in my bio.

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“Skin changes every day, hourly and by the influence of the weather, pollution and stress. I don’t believe there’s necessarily one recipe you should have all year round,” she says.

Dr Neuser agrees.

“There is a point where you shouldn’t use the same skincare routine for 50 years because you change and your skin changes so you should revisit that – even between summer and winter,” she says.

If that’s the case and your skin’s needs have changed, then you need to identify what those new concerns are and find products to address those instead – either through trial and error, recommendations or ideally by visiting an expert.


It helps to work out what’s changed – are you sleeping less? Stressed at work? In a different climate? Are you pregnant or just had a baby? All these things can make a difference.

Listen: Why is everyone obsessed with skincare right now? The MMOL have a theory. Post continues after audio.

In some situations, your skin may actually be exactly the same but your expectations have changed.

“Maybe the problem is if you use a product and your skin wasn’t in the greatest shape and so one or two months in you really notice a difference but then you get to the plateau,” explains Dr Neuser.
“It doesn’t mean it’s not working anymore, it’s just the products can’t make you look 30 years younger. It gets you to the optimum place and then you maintain that.
“So that might be why people think ‘Oh it’s not working because I don’t see the big changes anymore’.”
Have you ever experienced this? How did you fix it? Tell us below!

For more beauty goodness, you can follow Brittany Stewart on Facebook or Instagram. Don’t follow her for directions though – she’s rubbish at those.

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