do skin care products really work
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Do skin care products really work?

Have you spent a lot of money on skin care products, tried dozens of brands and then wondered….do any of these skin care products really work?

Well, that partially depends on what your expectations are and also the specific claims that the products make.

Also, a product that works for one person may not work for another because they have completely different types of skin.

How to tell if your skin care products are working

The simplest way to see results (or the lack of) is to take your own before and after pictures.

Most of the time, day-to-day changes resulting from an effective skin care routine are going to be so subtle that it’s really hard to notice.

But when you can compare with a photo from 30 or 60 days ago, you should be able to see a bigger difference. If you don’t, then you probably need to try some different products!

Here’s how to take really good before/after photos:

  1. Completely remove all of your makeup, including mascara.
  2. Brush your hair off of your face and tie it back to keep it out of the way. If you have short hair or bangs, use a headband to keep your hair back.
  3. Find a neutral background to stand in front of (like a solid colored wall or door) in a spot that has consistent, bright lighting. You’ll want to take a picture in the same spot with the same lighting later.
  4. Have someone take a picture of you from 3 feet away.

A note on cell phone cameras…. To have consistent before and after photos, you need to make sure that you use the same camera on your phone. Usually, the back-facing camera will show more detail and be more accurate to see changes in your skin. The front-facing camera usually defaults to selfie mode, which slightly blurs your skin to make it look better.

This really works best when you can take the first photo just before starting a new skin care product. Then take more photos 30 days and 60 days later to compare the results.

Finding skin care products that really work

You CAN up your chances of finding effective skin care products if you understand a couple of things.

Know your skin type

Know if you have dry, oily or combination skin. Also be aware of your skin’s sensitivity levels.

For example, if you are treating acne, you definitely can use strong acne products. But if you have sensitive skin, then you will probably need to take your time easing into those acne products. If you were to just go all out using a strong acne product without the preparation, then the results will probably not be good.

Likewise with dry or oily skin. You need to know if your skin needs extra help with moisturizer and whether you need a lighter or heavier one.

Just picking up a skin care product because people rave about it without understanding your own skin may not give you the results that you want.

Look for clinically-tested products

Just because a product is clinically tested, that doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed to give you results though.

What you want to look for is the percentage of participants in the study who reported improvements with the skin care concern that you are targeting.

A company could publish results with a lot of different skin concerns, but the most impressive numbers might not be what you are actually looking for.

For example, consider a product that promises to reduce wrinkles and gives the following statistics from the study:

  • 93% of participants reported smoother skin
  • 86% of participants reported more even skin tone
  • 81% of participants reported better feeling skin
  • 52% of participants reported more hydrated
  • 31% of participants reported fewer wrinkles

Those “clinical results” are totally padded with things that aren’t necessarily the reason you are buying the product. Sure, a bunch of people had softer skin, but you want the product to target wrinkles. And only 31% of participants saw any noticeable reduction in wrinkles.

While that still means it worked for some people and may be worth a shot, I wouldn’t necessarily get my hopes up that I would be the 1/3 people that it would work for.

Look for clinically-tested products that show strong evidence of improvement for your actual skin concerns.

Have you ever been disappointed in a skin care product that you thought would work? Or pleasantly surprised by one that you were skeptical of? Share your experience in the comments below.

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