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Can You Build Resistance to Your Skincare Routine?


Is it possible for your skin to become resistant to your fave skincare products? It's a question we've received many times over. Thinking back to it, the first time we heard of skincare resistance made us stop and consider for a moment, too. Could it be possible? If you're a longtime glow getter of ours, odds are you love experimenting with your skincare routine just like we do. There's nothing quite like the feeling of finding the skincare product. So, when it randomly stops working we are personally offended (how dare my pimple zapper not zap away my pimple?!) There are definitely a few reasons out there why your favourite products aren't cutting it anymore, although, the chances of it being due to a developed "resistance" is highly unlikely. Let's break it down. 

Your Habits Have Changed 

You may not even be aware of it but the way you apply your products can make a big difference in their efficacy. Let's be real, when you first get a new skincare goodie, you are following the recommended application method to a T. But as time goes by, compliance may drop off and these slight changes in the application can affect the overall result.  

Take your vitamin c treatment, for example. If you're not diligent in applying it daily, the results will slow and it will leave you questioning whether it's even doing anything. One of the best ways to expect the same result with your skincare routine is to actually follow it through, every single time.

Skincare Plateau

Did you ever have problematic skin? Can you think back to what it once looked like before you found your perfect skincare routine? When we're first testing out active ingredients or formulas that just work for our skin, it's hard not to notice an immediate or overnight result (cue: happy dance!). Remembering what your complexion once looked like can make it difficult to continually feel like it is still improving. 

Another example of this is when your skin is already accustomed to active ingredients that adding or experimenting with others seems a little underwhelming. The truth is, it's not that those ingredients aren't doing anything but that your starting point looks a lot different than where you once were. 

Other Explanations

  • Expired skincare: Every beauty product has a shelf life or expiration date which can usually be found on the bottom of the bottle or tub. When was the last time you went through the products in your medicine cabinet?
  • Product build-up: If you're a fan of dry shampoo or silicone-based haircare formulas and your locks aren't looking as vivacious as they once did, you might be dealing with a product build-up. The same can apply to your skin when you're not thoroughly cleansing away all of the makeup, dirt or dead skin from the day.

  • Unrealistic expectations: While skincare can do absolute wonders for many people and their skin concerns, sometimes we're dealt a hand that cannot always be fixed with a couple of products. Patience and realistic expectations will keep you level-headed when tracking skincare results.

     So, Is Skincare Resistance A Real Thing?

    The short answer: not necessarily. There's always an exception to every rule and retinoids would be this exception. However, we wouldn't say your body develops a resistance rather a higher tolerance threshold. 

    The reason why dermatologists and skincare experts prescribe or advise starting at a lower retinoid percentage is for 2 key reasons:

    1. The lower the percentage, the less likely your skin will react with severe irritation (peeling, flaking, breakouts etc.) and the better your chances are in keep your barrier intact.

    2. Over consistent use (based on the recommendation of the dermatologist or expert), your skin's tolerance to that percentage will improve. For many, reaching this point and sticking to the same percentage is totally fine. For others looking to further accelerate their results, this is when you'd move up to a higher percentage. This process can take months or years, depending on your skin's sensitivity.

    So, building a resistance to your skincare routine is a complete myth but we're all human and switching things up is what we love to do. Start by establishing your go-to basics (cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen) then alternating between your fave exfoliants and boosters depending on your skin's needs. It'll keep things exciting and fresh whenever you feel like you're in a skincare slump!


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