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It’s commonly believed that we can develop “immunity” to the products we use. What this means is that no matter how great a product has worked on us, it will gradually stop working and will have no more effect on our skin; we will have to switch up our product if we want to see results again. However, according to dermatologists, this is not true. There is no scientific proof to back up this immunity theory. If so, what is this “immunity” that we often experience?

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1. The “new skin” effect

skin immune to products

The experience of “immunity” may actually be an illusion called the “new skin” effect. Imagine that your skin has reacted well to a new skincare product, and the results were really visible for several months — pores were refined, dark eye circles were lightened, and your complexion looked brighter. After the initial period when the product gave you great result, the effect starts to plateau because your skin wasn’t as “bad” as it used to be. We may be unable to compare our skin to how it was months ago, because we see ourselves in the mirror every day. What we compare then, is how it looked yesterday, or a few days ago. The degree of improvement seems less stark, and it gives the illusion that the product no longer works as well as it used to.

Hence, this is not you having immunity to the product; this is you reaching the peak of what the product can do to help your skin.

To see further results, you may need to target other problems. For example, you have been using a sebum-control product to help you decrease the frequency of breakouts. It has been working, but you still have breakouts occasionally. Instead of blaming the product, you could dig deeper and find out what the root of the problem is. The occasional breakout could be due to clogging in your pores from the accumulation of dead skin cells. As such, what you’ll need is to also invest in an exfoliator, if you want to eliminate the acne problem.

2. Shelf life

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Another reason why your skincare product is not working as well as it should may be because it is past its shelf life. All products have a list of active ingredients that aids in its function. The ingredients lose their effectiveness if the product is not kept properly or has already expired.

For instance, Vitamin C may be a great, effectiveness ingredient to help with firming and brightening. However, when exposed to direct sunlight and air, it oxidises and the product’s effectiveness will be affected. Generally, skincare products should be kept in a dry and cool space, and away from direct sunlight.

You should follow the best-by date that is on every product, but here are common durability periods of products after they have been opened:
• Cleansers: 1 year
• Toners: 6 months to 1 year
• BHA or AHA exfoliants: 1 year
• Facial or body moisturisers and serums: 6 months to 1 year
• Lip balms: 1 year
• Sample packets: 1 day (we are not joking!)

Regardless of the expiry dates, should they smell weird or have a significant change in texture, it means that the formula has already past its shelf life. Please throw them out immediately. These products will no longer work, and in worse cases, may even cause discomfort or damage to your skin.


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