Does Switching Your Skin Care Products Actually Matter?

Caitlin S. Miller
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switching skin products

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Anyone who knows me knows I’m an incredibly loyal person. But when it comes to my skin care routine? Eh, not so much. It’s not that I don’t love playing with products. It’s that I love playing with them too much. Almost without fail I test a new product every day. Sure, it’s for my job, but I am a bit of a commitment-phobe when it comes to beauty. Why stick to one serum when there are so many fantastic ones to try? Yes, I’ll return to my favorites, but playing the field is just too fun. Even though I love my whimsical ways, I’ve always wondered, “Is changing products bad for skin?” To ease my mind, I chatted with two top dermatologists to get to the bottom of this skin care stressor. Their answers might surprise you.

“It’s never necessary to stick to a specific skincare regimen every a.m. and p.m., but you see most consistent results if you follow a regimen with products regularly,” explains Dr. Patricia Wexler of Wexler Dermatology in New York City. “Frequently using all the products from one skin care line makes it fool-proof that you will not over use any single ingredient, and that the products are all compatible on the skin, but if you find that eye cream is not helping you’re under eye bags; or the wrinkle cream is not working, by all means try on from another brand,” she adds. Cue sigh of relief.

But no matter what your your daily skin care routine looks like or how often you switch it, it should include some staples, says Dr. Howard Sobel of Park Avenue Skin and Spa in New York City. “Every morning routine should include a cleanser and a moisturizer with a sunscreen, without fail,” he says. Similarly, your nighttime routine should always include a cleanser as well as a product to treat any specific skin concerns like hyperpigmentation, dark spots, aging, etc.

Both experts say changing up products is absolutely beneficial with changing seasons. Dr. Wexler says it’s also a good idea to switch up products depending on your skin’s natural changes—if it suddenly goes from dry to oily, if you have an acne flare up, or if you need to up your retinol dose as your skin ages.

But before you go playing fast and loose with your skin care, there’s one potential downside to being experimental. “The negative side effects if you change too frequently is you do not give the products a chance to give your visible results, which may take up to 30 days to see since average cell turnover is 28 days,” explains Dr. Wexler.

Similarly, Dr. Sobel says there is an adjustment period for your skin to get used to new product and to actually produce results. “If you find something that feels good and is effective, it is best to stay the course,” he adds.

Although it’s best to stick to what works if you want to see actual results bottom line, if you like to mix and match, go for it! As long as you’re using products with the same ingredients that don’t irritate your skin, there’s zero harm in trying new products. Looks like I can rest easy tonight as I break open a new eye cream.

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