The biggest question on most clients’ minds when they start a treatment plan, or new product, is, “how quickly will I see results?” More often than not, they are hoping for immediate improvement, but seeing true change usually takes time. It is important to set proper expectations to ensure a happy client.
The more immediate changes a client will notice when beginning a new skin routine tailored for their skin are surface improvements like smoother, softer texture and improved levels of hydration. These surface changes can happen quickly and, depending on the individual’s skin, may be noticed in as little as one to five days.
With that said, it can take between three to six weeks to know if a product is working on a deeper level or to see more of a change. There are many factors contributing to this, like skin type, current skin conditions, and lifestyle and skin habits. A more significant factor, however, is cellular turnover. Skin is considered mosaic, meaning it does not shed skin cells all at once. So, when working to reduce wrinkles, lighten pigmentation, clear acne, and strengthen sensitive skin, use ingredients that initiate change at the dermal layer and in the deeper layers of the epidermis. The dermal layer is responsible for the strength of those new epidermal skin cells starting to come to the surface. Over a four to six week period, the skin should fully shed; this is when more impactful changes to the skin begin to show. Two to three months into the regimen, as the skin continues this shedding and rebuilding cycle, even more positive results will be visible.
Remind clients to trust the process and be patient. Skin healing and changes are not an overnight process. However, if after three to five weeks the skin does not seem to be responding, it may be time to reevaluate the ingredients being used and make some changes.
All skin goes through the natural cell turnover process called desquamation, in which old cells are sloughed off and new cells are brought to the surface. This process averages 28 to 40 days but slows as the skin ages and is less efficient for those with acne. The client’s age and skin condition should be taken into account when considering the timeline. As mentioned above, the millions of cells in skin tissue go through their different stages of growth and shedding in phases, so the process of visibly changing the skin is gradual.
Skin changing formulas like vitamin E, peptides, and growth factors will have a cumulative effect on the cells and the longer products containing these ingredients are used, the greater the results clients will see. Other ingredients like retinaldehyde, vitamin C, and mandelic acids will continue to support the skin on a daily basis. As the cells get stronger from the use of these ingredients, more significant changes will be visible on the surface.
The single best way to ensure skin care products yield optimal results as quickly as possible is to educate clients on proper and consistent use. Work in the treatment room must be supported by diligent homecare, particularly when tackling tougher skin challenges like acne and pigmentation.
Cleansers should be worked into the skin for one to two minutes before rinsing, paying special attention to areas like the side of the nose, the chin, or any particular problem areas. Cleansers need time to penetrate and dissolve oils and debris, so remind clients not to rush the process. Clean skin is going to allow all other products to penetrate more efficiently and improve the texture of the skin.
Exfoliation also helps the skin renewal process by lifting and removing dead skin cells and clearing the way for new, healthy cells to surface. The frequency and type of exfoliant used (whether using a scrub or an acid formula) will depend on the client’s needs and goals, but be sure to give them clear instructions, as over-exfoliating may cause irritation and damage. Toners, correctives, moisturizers, and sun protection specifically chosen for the client’s skin needs will also support achieving the results they desire. The goal is to cleanse, exfoliate, rebuild, and protect.
Because customized homecare and treatment room plans are the key to results, understanding all possible contributing factors in the client’s life is essential. Diet, exercise, stress, and sleep all impact skin health, and will also impact the efficacy of ingredients, as well as the healing process. Encourage clients to pursue healthy behaviors and let them know how their daily routines can help or hinder their progress.
Generally speaking, it is safe to tell clients they will begin to see the effects of a new product (or system of products) within five weeks. Be sure to explain the natural processes of skin to them and do not over promise results. It is important they do not get discouraged and stop use or get careless with their regimen. Help them set realistic expectations, so they will have the confidence to stick with the program and the patience to let healthy skin emerge.
Shannon Esau is the director of sales and education at Rhonda Allison Cosmeceuticals. She brings more than 17 years’ experience in the aesthetic industry. Esau owned skin care salons in the Dallas and Ft. Worth, Texas area, has studied chemistry in skin care formulations, and has been mentored by Rhonda Allison for decades.