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Many skincare ingredients take about three months to see results. Start using them now to reap the benefits come spring.

When it comes to trying new skincare products, we can often be a little bit impatient when it comes to measuring those visible results we’re all after. After all, how many times have you written off the effectiveness of a product after just a couple of uses? While some skincare results can be seen almost immediately (think: hydration, suppleness and skin softness), many of the longer-lasting effects of skincare often take much longer to work. In fact, many active skincare ingredients take at least three months to see real results. 

“It’s important to know how long it takes for your skincare to work in order for you to set expectations and not give up on your products,” says Dr Kemi Fabusiwa, junior doctor and medical director at Joyful Skin Clinic. “Chopping and changing from one ingredient to the next won’t give give you the desired results and can even lead to irritation.

“Patience is often the key when it comes to skincare. Be diligent with each ingredient and the rewards will come.”

So with consistent use, the products that you start using now in your new January routine should start to have visible results come spring. Want your best skin ever this summer? It’s time to put the work in now…

1. Glycolic acid

While glycolic acid can have many brightening, softening and smoothing effects that are visible almost immediately, some of the longer-term results will take more time to kick in. 

“The skin may appear slightly drier and duller-looking in the first few days after application until the top layer [of skin] exfoliates,” explains consultant dermatologist Dr Justine Hextall. “Repeated glycolic peels can stimulate collagen and these longer-term benefits may not be seen for several months.” 

  • Sunday Riley Good Genes Glycolic Acid Treatment

    This hardworking super serum works to undo the damage caused by sunlight, acne, pollution and other external aggressors. Glycolic acid works to plump fine lines, fight hyper-pigmentation, heal scar tissue and boost circulation so skin looks smoother, younger and more vibrant over time. 

    Shop Sunday Riley Good Genes Glycolic Acid Treatment at Cult Beauty, £85

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  • Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner

    A great daily toner, this gentle glycolic acid formula exfoliates, refreshes and stimulates dry and congested complexions. Skin will look smoother after just a few uses but the real results will be seen in eight to 12 weeks.

    Shop Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner at Beauty Bay, £16.50 

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  • Summer Fridays Soft Reset AHA Exfoliating Solution

    This powerful 3-in-1 overnight treatment combines a concentrated solution of 16% AHAs to lift dead skin and refine the skin’s overall texture. After just one use, skin will appear more radiant – but longer-lasting clarity and refined skin texture will be visible over time. 

    Shop Summer Fridays Soft Reset AHA Exfoliating Solution at Cult Beauty, £52

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  • Algenist Genius Liquid Skin Resurfacer

    This skin-smoothing toner is great for blemish or acne prone skin types. It blends a pore-clarifying 2% BHA with azelaic acid and 2% salicylic acid to reduce the appearance of pores, refine skin texture and even skin tone. After six to eight weeks of use, skin is left looking more purified, with a restored, healthy appearance.

    Shop Algenist Genius Liquid Skin Resurfacer at Sephora, £32

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2. Vitamin C

“Vitamin C is an ingredient favoured by dermatologists for its many skincare benefits,” explains Dr Hextall. “It works quickly and most individuals will notice a brightening effect within a few weeks of application.” For best results, look for formulations that combine other antioxidants within its formula – such as vitamin E and ferulic acid. “This combination of antioxidants can also increase vitamin C’s overall skin benefits.”

Vitamin C can also help to brighten skin tone and boost the production of collagen and elastin – however Dr Hextall explains that these longer-term benefits will take several months to have visible effects. 

  • Paula’s Choice C15 Super Booster

    Packed with a potent 15% concentration of pure vitamin C, this booster works to visibly brighten skin, even tone and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

    Shop Paula’s Choice C15 Super Booster at Space NK, £52

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  • Medik8 C-Tetra Serum

    A favourite among skin experts, this super serum combines two key antioxidants – vitamins C and E for brightening and hydrating the skin in one. Over time, the formula works to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin while also brightening and balancing skin tone as it protects your skin from premature ageing.

    Shop Medik8 C-Tetra Serum at Cult Beauty, £39

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  • Allies of Skin 20% Vitamin C Brighten + Firm Serum

    Harnessing the power of 20% pure L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C), this brightening formula penetrates deep into your skin to provide unparalleled antioxidant protection. Not only that, but over time it’ll help to strengthen your skin barrier and encourage cellular renewal, in turn encouraging firmer, brighter skin. 

    Shop Allies of Skin 20% Vitamin C Brighten + Firm Serum at Cult Beauty, £85

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3. Retinol

Skin experts love retinol as an ingredient, but anyone who’s used vitamin A products before will know that it’s not an overnight success. “The retinoid family are your gold standard superheroes in the world of skincare but they need time to achieve their potential in your skin,” explains Dr Sturnham. “They work at the epidermal (superficial) and dermal (deep) layers of your skin to activate cell renewal, fibroblasts (collagen-making cells) for new collagen production, and reduce pigmentation.”

“You need to use retinol consistently to see its benefits,” suggests Dr Anjali Mahto. “Visible results should be noticeable within eight to 12 weeks of regular daily use.”

  • La Roche-Posay Retinol B3 Anti-Ageing Serum

    Specifically formulated for those concerned with dehydration, skin irregularities and wrinkles, this retinol serum has been designed with more sensitive skin types in mind. 

    Shop La Roche-Posay Retinol B3 Anti-Ageing Serum at Boots, £32

    buy now

  • Kiehl’s Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum

    This clever retinol serum is delivered as a daily micro-dose, to help visibly soften the look of wrinkles over time, without overpowering the skin – which can often lead to irritation. 

    Shop Kiehl’s Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum at Lookfantastic, £45

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  • Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Serum

    Powered by Retinol Tri-Active Technology (a fast-acting retinoid, a time-released retinol and a retinol booster), this powerhouse product works to firm, smooth and refine the skin, while hyaluronic spheres provide long-lasting hydration for a radiant glow. 

    Shop Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Serum at Lookfantastic, £80

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  • CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum

    Infused with a ceramide blend and niacinamide to help nourish the skin, this gentle resurfacing retinol helps to reduce the appearance of post-breakout marks and create a more even-looking skin tone. 

    Shop CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum at Lookfantastic, £19

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4. Niacinamide

Niacinamide is a great ingredient for reducing inflammation, improving skin texture and helping to fade any unwanted pigmentation – but it takes time to see measurable results. 

“Another benefit to using niacinamide is its apparent longer-term protection against external aggressors like UV rays and pollution. These benefits will start to kick in after three to six months of regular use,” explains Dr Hextall. It can also help to strengthen the skin barrier, which in turn helps to reduce redness and irritation.

  • The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

    This ultra-lightweight serum infuses skin with an intense dose of niacinamide to help minimise the appearance of blemishes and imperfections over time.

    Shop The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% at Lookfantastic, £5.60

    buy now

  • The Inkey List Niacinamide

    Blending 10% niacinamide with 1% hyaluronic acid, this balancing serum is great for battling congestion. Over time, it helps reduce the appearance of open pores, while reducing the redness and inflammation associated with breakouts.

    Shop The Inkey List Niacinamide at Lookfantastic, £7.99

    buy now

Main image: courtesy of brands

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