CERM Skin results time for skincare ingredients. Image: Pexels.com/Boom. Woman looking at hourglass

A quick guide to best skincare ingredient results

When it comes to skincare, we get it – you want instant gratification. Who doesn't? But sometimes truly transformative effects on your skin’s health and happiness take a little longer.

Let’s break down some of your favorite skincare ingredients' instant and long-term results. Ready to dive into the world of skincare?

1. Vitamin C 

Instant radiance: Yes

Skin transformation: 8 to 12 weeks

Meet the defender against dullness and dark spots. You could see instant skin-brightening with Vitamin C, but the real transformation unfolds over a few weeks, because the vitamin C works by suppression production of melanin pigment. You'll see it as hyperpigmentation starts to fade, and a more even-toned and luminous complexion is unveiled.

2. Hyaluronic Acid (HA)

Instant moisture: Yes

Long-term results: 2 weeks plus

It’s the hydration hero that keeps on giving! You can expect an immediate flush of moisture and skin plumping from larger HA molecules on the skin’s surface. But our advice is to use a product with both larger and smaller HA molecules long-term and consistently. 

You’ll get those delicious instant results, while the smaller molecules will penetrate into the skin’s deeper layers for improved suppleness and elasticity, visible in as little as 2 weeks. 

3. Ceramides

Instant hydration and nourishment: Yes

Full benefits: 2-4 weeks

Ceramides are truly the trusty guardians of your vitally important skin barrier. These skin lipids keep moisture locked in, so your skin stays hydrated and is resilient against internal and external attack. While you may see instant hydration, the full protective effect of ceramides could take a few weeks. But your patience pays off with skin that is comforted, smooth and glowing.

4. Niacinamide (vitamin B3)

Early results: 2-4 weeks

Full effect: 8 weeks onwards

This multitasking marvel is a must-have ‘skin vitamin’. It’s important for keeping skin balanced and healthy, and it tackles enlarged pores, uneven skin tone, and fine lines. You should start seeing results within a few weeks, but for the full effect, a couple of months of consistent use is the secret sauce for an Insta-filtered skin effect.

5. Polyhydroxy Acids (PHA)

Immediate glow: Yes

Smooth results: 3-6 weeks 

Move over irritating AHAs – gentle and effective PHA exfoliators in da house! They work to shed dead skin cells and reveal a smoother complexion. You might notice a subtle glow immediately, but real radiance is revealed in a few weeks. 

6. Salicylic Acid

Immediate spot treatment: Yes

Spot-preventive and skin-clearing action: 4-6 weeks 

Panicking about pimples? Salicylic acid to the rescue! This ingredient dives deep into your pores, tackling acne at its roots by unclogging pores, fighting bacteria and soothing inflammation. This helps it clear up spots almost immediately. But using a salicylic acid serum consistently for a few weeks can help prevent future breakouts and keep your skin clear.

7. Cica (Centella Asiatica)

Instant relief for irritated skin: Yes

Stronger, more resilient skin: Unfolds over 2-4 weeks

Need something to soothe and calm your irritated skin? Then Cica is your best friend for a zen-like complexion. Instant relief from irritation is common, but the real calming, strengthening and resilience-building effects will be felt over the next few weeks.  

8. Collagen

Instant results: Not common

Visible changes: Over 8-12 weeks, with consistent use, expect fewer fine lines and firmer skin

We all know about collagen, right? It’s the protein responsible for skin elasticity and firmness. And even if it might not give us instant results, it’s a real game-changer over time. Think of using a collagen treatment as a long-term investment for firm, plumped skin with fewer fine lines.

9. Peptides

Instant plumping effect: Yes

Long-term smoothing and firming: Around 8-12 weeks

Tiny-but-mighty peptides are mini-miracle workers that signal your skin to produce more collagen. This makes these amino-acid chains perfect partners for collagen in a skin treatment. While the instant plumping effect is real, the long-term firming and smoothing benefits become visible after a few weeks.

10. Retinol

Immediate smoothness: Possibly, for some

Full anti-aging benefits: From around 12 weeks

An oldie but a goodie, retinol remains the gold standard of anti-aging. This vitamin-A derivative stimulates collagen production, reduces fine lines, treats acne and boosts cell turnover. You may experience instant smoothness, but the full anti-aging benefits typically take a few weeks to shine through as it works on a DNA level.

11. Bakuchiol

Instant Plumping: Yes

Full results: From 4-12 weeks

If you can’t handle the negative side-effects of retinol (irritation and sun-sensitivity), consider bakuchiol as a gentler alternative, with similar anti-aging properties. You might notice instant plumping and smoothing, but expect the serious benefits to unfold over several weeks.

Food for thought

It’s, er, time for a timely reminder that skincare is a journey, not a sprint. Sure, we may get the instant gratification we crave from some ingredients, but the real magic (well, science) happens when we are consistent in treating and looking after our skin. Practising a bit of patience is the key to unlocking these skincare superheroes’ full potential.

So, embrace the journey, love your skin, and let the healthy, happy skin glow-up begin!