Despite ads that promise to fix acne in a matter of days, it often takes many months to achieve clear, healthy skin. "Too often, patients become frustrated with slow progress and, as a result, lose interest in following recommendations," says Seth J. Orlow, MD, PhD, a dermatologist at New York University.
But don’t let frustration with zits and blemishes sabotage your acne treatment plan. In fact, starting a new treatment often causes acne to get worse before it gets better. if you approach these initial setbacks by patiently sticking with it, you'll be on your way to success. Here’s how.
Visualize a future with 50 to 75 percent improvement. Then give yourself time to get there. Remember, we're talking a few months, not a few days. Even when the going gets tough (or oily and bumpy), stay consistent with your routine.
Having 15 products with 25 steps is overwhelming, time consuming, and far too easy to abandon after two weeks. Pull together basic routines for morning and night that include a cleanser, a treatment formula, and an SPF moisturizer. Consider adding an antiaging moisturizer and a toner at night.
Clean out that cluttered medicine cabinet and toss out the products you don’t use, dislike, or didn’t work for you. Only let the good stuff hang around—you’re much more likely to apply formulas that make you feel good.
Whether it’s one shelf in the bathroom or a tray on your nightstand, store all of your skincare products in one spot and avoid pacing between rooms for serums and toners. Keep the regimen within reach and within view to remind yourself when you wake and before you hit the hay.
Dedication is crucial but so is compassion and a little flexibility. Maybe your alarm didn’t go off or you crashed on the couch after dinner—feeling rushed or exhausted are just the reason to have an quick and easy backup routine: skip the mask or the scrub and give yourself a quick rinse. Always make time for a dab of moisturizer.
Skincare has its ups and downs and even when you’re a master of your acne treatment routine, sometimes blemishes can get the best of you. Remember to reward yourself for all the hard work by simply appreciating your efforts. Say hello to yourself in the mirror every morning and give yourself a little skincare high five.