Why does my skincare product not work (anymore)?


If you ask yourself that question every now and then, it is time to stop whatever you are doing and do a bit of investigative work. There are a couple of easy explanations why your skincare product isn’t working as you had expected.

Choosing the wrong product for your skin
You may be wrongly assessing your skin all this time and have been buying the wrong stuff. I’ve always thought I had hyper oily skin and didn’t know I’ve only gotten half the puzzle right. In my quest to quell the sebum factories in my skin, I went all out to get industrial strength products. Not only did the sebum factories not close down, they went into overdrive and my oily skin condition became worse.

Through years of trial and error, and I add, really paying close attention to how my skin feels, looks, and reacts to products, I realised that I have oily, AND sensitive skin WITH occasional dehyration happening on the top layer of my skin.

It sounds complex but all you need to do is to really study your skin. Such as, is it oily? When does it get oily? Where does it get oily? How oily? There is more than one type of oily skin, for example, and you need to address the issue with the right product having the appropriate strength in combating the oiliness.

Does your skin get itchy easily? That could signfy sensitivity or simply dehydration, or a case of your skin being dry. If you aren’t confident of assessing your skin type correctly, go to a trained dermatologist. Getting your skin type and condition right is the first basic step towards ensuring you get the right products for it. Do note though that your skin type can change from time to time, due to season, climate or environment changes or simply from the effects of time (ok, age) – see section below on skin condition changes.

Not using your product correctly
Read the directions carefully. Yes, being guys, we all rip open the boxes (of anything, really!), and assume we know it all. We are born handy men! Roar!! Sorry mates, that is totally untrue though I wish it was.

Some products are meant to be used only a few times a week. Some are only to be applied at night. Some needs to be warmed up gently in your palms before applying it to your face, for better absorption. Each has its own set of unique application method or storage directions.

Read the directions (for once) or try changing how you’ve been applying your products. My personal experience has been that a change in application works wonders. My moisturiser worked better after I started trying a new application method. I started warming it in my palms by gently rubbing them together. Go easy here. The main aim is to introduce some heat to “wake” the product up. Not to start a campfire. After that, gently rest the areas of your palms coated with product over your face, and apply slight pressure. Rest over your face for 2-3 seconds. Continually do so by moving from section to section until the desired areas are all covered.

Another trick I found is to use a toning lotion with a cotton square/pad. Yes, some of you may scoff as it conjures up an image of femininity but look who will have the last laugh when their products work better and they attract a second look from that hot girl/guy at the bar. Soak the square of cotton with product and gently press it on your skin. Again, rest it there for 2-3 seconds before moving to the next section.

Not storing your products correctly
Again, read the directions (did I say it enough, yet?). Some products store poorly in warm surrounding and some may need to be away from direct sunlight. Still clueless? (Or lazy to read the directions?) Then, just remember the general rule of thumb is that most products should be stored in a cool place. Temperature wise, we mean. Do not store your products at your favourite bar.

Changes in your skin condition
Men are creatures of habit. Some though, will debate and say it is because we are lazy to change. However, when it comes to your skin, remember it is alive. Just like you can’t run a 6 minute per km run now like you did in your 20s (though you’d still like to brag that you can and challenge that cocky 21 year old punk at the bar to a race), your skin changes too. Sometimes, it is also due to the climate change or a change in environment, such as a change in job where your office blasts the air conditioning daily which will really dry out your skin.

Constantly watch for changes in your skin, even slight ones, and observe closely. More importantly, feel if there are changes to your skin. Is it getting flakier lately? Is it getting rashes more frequently now? Then match those conditions to the product description. Or speak to your mates about it, and see if they have the same situation and can recommend something that worked for them. Embarassed to do so? C’mon, get over it already. In case, you didn’t get the memo, it’s the 21st century already!