Sometime ago, I wrote about the need to rotate shampoos because of product buildup. Now, the question is does this happen to our skin and do we need to rotate our skin care products once in awhile too?
I’ve had this question for the longest time because I’ve found that some skin care products somehow lose their efficacy over time and it looks like I’m not alone. In Pei Fang’s review on Istrilene Collagen Enriched Facial Treatment Cream, she mentioned her beautician saying that our skin can get used to the products we use and they would not seem as effective as before after awhile. Subsequently, a reader Bibibam also dropped me a comment asking if our skin can become tolerant to a product when used too often.
Well, I don’t have the definite answer to this. However, I do have some thoughts on why this may happen.
Limited shelf life of active ingredients
Products that have positive effects on our skin contain active ingredients and have a limited shelf life which means they do degrade and lose their potency over time. Some ingredients like vitamin C can be so unstable that they oxidize when they come into contact with light and air, causing the product to become less effective.
Contamination of the product due to poor handling
Sometimes products are not well handled and the ingredients could have been contaminated during usage. When this happen, the product will become ineffective and in the worst case, may cause problems when used.
Ineffective preservatives and stabilizers
Most commercial skincare products contain preservatives and stabilizers to prolong their shelf life and prevent them from breeding unwanted bacteria. However, these preservatives and stabilizers have a limited shelf life themselves and their expiration can also render the active ingredients inactive even before the product is fully used up.
Build up of occulsive ingredients
Ingredients like mineral oil, petrolatum and silicones generally acts as a barrier and clogs the skin pores. My theory is that even though a product may not contain a lot of such ingredients but if you use the product containing them over time, these occlusive agents may build up on our skin and prevent active ingredients in the product from penetrating properly into our dermal layers after awhile.
Changes in product formulation
Sometimes products don’t seem so effective because of changes in product formulation. For example, I used to love La Mer Face Serum very much because it was effective for me. However, I stopped using it because they came up with a slightly different variation and the product don’t seem to function as well as before.
Changes in your skin care routine
If you introduce some new products into your skin care regime, you might suddenly find your usual products not working as well. Perhaps the ingredients are not agreeable with one another such as copper peptides and vitamin C, or your usual cleanser is not cleaning your face as well due to a new sunscreen you’ve introduced. (Like me!)
Changes in our skin condition
Our skin changes due to hormonal changes and aging. As such, it is quite normal to find that products that used to work for us suddenly falling short of expections.
Changes in external conditions
Related to the changes in our skin is the change in season, weather and the environment. Something that was rich and worked well during the drier months may suddenly break you out when used during the warmer summer. Likewise, a light moisturizer that worked well under hot and humid weather might suddenly be insufficient when you relocate to a country with colder weather conditions.
So what do you think? Do our skin become immune and get used to products we use after awhile or is it more likely a problem with the products we’re using because of changes to the active ingredients or changes to our skin conditions?