Why doesn’t my skincare work? - Back to Basics!

Why doesn’t my skincare work? - Back to Basics!

Sometimes we feel we’re on top of our skincare game; and just right then, your skin starts acting up all of a sudden. It can be an uninvited pimple before a D-day, or a rough rash. Then we go down the rabbit hole spiralling about what went wrong, what did you do differently to your skin to cause all this havoc?! 

And while all this can be really stressful to deal with, remember stress aggravates skin conditions even more. So, take a back seat, relax, and ease into this article to find out - ‘Why is my skincare routine making me break out?’ or ‘Am I using the wrong skincare products?

But before we start, here’s an important thing to note. - Skincare must be focused on repairing and maintaining the barrier. Yes, most of us straightly dive into fixing the bigger problems like acne, aging, or pigmentation. Whereas, one must focus primarily on understanding the skin barrier, how it works, and how it can be restored in general. 

We have spoken about skin microbiomes in many blogs. It is an ecosystem that we must support in order to attain naturally healthy, glowing skin. This ecosystem consists of both good and bad bacteria necessary for barrier function. A balance thus needs to be maintained between both to keep all skincare worries at bay. The barrier is compromised due to various reasons - both external and internal - some of these factors are unavoidable and therefore, a mindful skincare routine is necessary so that our skin can function and look its best.


Moving ahead… We all have our favorite skincare products we love and use daily. But sometimes, weather, hormonal, diet changes, and other important factors restrict us from having major ‘GOOD SKIN DAYS’ for the gram and self. So, before learning what skincare sins you are committing, let’s learn - 

How to know if a skincare product is not working?

There are several signs that your skin reveals for you to know something’s wrong in your routine. Some are the most obvious ones while the others - are sneaky and menacing ones. How do you know if your skincare is not working, well here are the signs - 

  • Dull skin
  • Acne
  • Flaky skin
  • Oily skin
  • Redness, inflammation
  • Pigmentation
  • Rashes
  • Burning sensation
  • Itching
  • Skin irritation
  • Early signs of aging
  • Blemishes
  • Compromised skin barrier
  • Skin congestion

All the above issues have a specific reason for showing up on your skin. Nothing is illogical when it comes to skin health. So now let's try to figure out - 

12 reasons why your skincare is not working

1. Not understanding your skin type and using the wrong products


The number 1 rule of skincare is to know your skin type. If this one thing is unclear, your skincare game goes downhill from the very start. So, identify your skin type at home with simple tricks before choosing/investing in products. Otherwise, you end up using the wrong ones, aggravating them even more.

So, before asking - ‘Am I using wrong skincare products?’ Ask yourself if ‘I know my skin type? & ‘What should I avoid in my skincare routine?’

2. Not focusing on your gut health


Skincare often begins from within. Remember - ‘BEAUTY FROM WITHIN’ ethos! Yes, skincare products are essential. But for them to perform to their fullest potential, one must stay healthy from the inside as well. Drinking green smoothies, detox drinks, probiotic drinks, and healthy nourishing food can help maintain optimal gut health, which in turn can promote great skin. So, make sure to detox your skin from the inside out.

3. Not doing skincare consistently or in the correct order

Layer your skincare the right way. Not doing so can also result in breakouts, irritation and simply speaking the formulation might not work. There’s a reason why serums go first and heavy cream-based products line up later. Serums are lightweight formulations that have to seep in deep to work their magic while products like sunscreens had to be layered on top of them to form a shield and protect the skin. 

Secondly, inconsistency in skincare can also drag you down. Irregularity restricts the formulation to work effectively on your skin and deliver the said results. So keep these two things in mind if you want your skincare to work. 

4. Overusing or underusing skincare products

Never mess up with the quantities. Use the right amount of product as suggested by your dermatologist or as printed on the packaging. Using too much or too little can mess up your skin health and can be the major reason why certain things don’t work the way you want them to. (as some formulas are too potent for your skin to handle if applied more than the suggested quantity)

5. You don’t end your skincare routine the right 

Even if you perform your skincare routine well, it still needs to be taken off at the end of the day. Cleansing your face with a gentle foaming cleanser, getting your makeup off, and doing your PM routine before going to bed are essential. Not doing so can be one of the biggest skincare mistakes, leading to undernourished, unhealthy skin.

6. Diet, lifestyle, medical, and hormonal changes

Climate change and its effects are unavoidable after some stages. Pollution and dirt can also interfere and damage your skin barrier to a great extent and not allow your skincare to work if exposed for too long. 

Moreover, with changing seasons, we must also change our skincare routine and products. For example, in summer, humidity can lead to oily skin. Whereas, in winter, dry winds can lead to redness, inflammation, and flaky skin. So, keep these skin needs in mind before worrying too much about your skin damage.

Additionally, unfavorable skin conditions can also be a result of drastic diet and lifestyle changes. Hormonal imbalance and various medical conditions are also major factors affecting your skin health. 

Ps. Fluctuating hormones are the major reason why skin congestion and acne are caused. So, if you are wondering, ‘why is my skincare routine making me break out?’ - This is probably why.

7. You haven’t been a product long enough

It takes time for a formulation to start working on your skin, therefore, skin care is mostly a ‘patience game’. Conditions/issues may occur suddenly, but they surely take their sweet time to reverse back. So, wait for 4-6 weeks before worrying - Why does skincare never work for me?

8. Bombarding your skin with too many formulations and products

Go on a skincare diet every now and then. Give your skin a break from all the various formulations you use daily. Allow it to breathe. This is a popularly known concept called - SKINIMALISM. Less is more; even when all the Instagram trends tempt you in doing otherwise. So, for a day or two, skip using your entire skincare and only focus on CTM (Cleansing, toning, moisturizing)

9. Use non-comedogenic skincare products

Comedogenic products summon acne and excess sebum. They are heavy formulations that clog your pores. So, if you suffer from acne or have a combination/oily skin, you must avoid comedogenic skincare products. 

We have an entire article dedicated to this topic, pay a visit here to learn more - 

Guide to Non-comedogenic beauty products.

10. Using expired products

Avoid expired skincare

As the beauty community constantly evolving, new products are launched daily/weekly in the market for us to try. Moreover, we stalk up our favorites during frequent beauty sales online. All this adds up to hoarding skincare products, only to use them later. By then, the shelf life surpasses and the products become expired. This is both waste of money and a valuable product. 

Also, an expired product goes through changes in its composition and efficacy. Therefore, potential skin irritation can be experienced. All products have an indicator on the packaging that advises their shelf life. It denotes the PAO (Product After Opening) symbol that tells you the number of months you must use the products after opening them. 

Note: Discontinue using a product if you see visible changes in color, texture, or smell. One thing to note here is that if you are using natural/organic skincare, the color of the product is more prone to change. So don’t get startled in this case. Read the instructions carefully.

11. Understand the holy trinity of skincare - Prebiotics, probiotics, postbiotics

It may sound science-y and complicated but it is fairly easy to understand. Learning about this trinity of Prebiotics, probiotics, post biotics is essential to build a healthy skincare routine. The industry is now moving towards conscious practices and launching microbiome-friendly skincare that supports, protects, and strengthens the barrier.

As stated earlier, barrier restoration must be your primary goal. Once that is taken care of, maximum skincare concerns get waved off. 

12. Overlooking your skincare problems

Not paying attention to already existing skin damage can only worsen the situation and lead to added chances of irreversible damage. Therefore, it is advised to visit your dermatologist regularly, especially when you notice any abnormality in your skin. This can happen after trying out a new product, or a reaction to something you ate, or even climate change. Either way, a skin doctor will make everything better. 

Plus, if you are not sure which products to use or unsure about your skin health, the expert can guide you with these things too. 


Now that we are at the end of our list, here are some general FAQs:

A. Does your skin get used to products and stop working?

Practically, no. Our skin doesn’t possibly get immune to products. If you apply a great product that works effectively, it won’t stop working out of the blue as the formulation doesn't change. So, if it has worked before it will keep working.

B. What does skin purging look like?

Skin purging resembles small bums that are quite painful to deal with. They look like white heads but are cystic in nature. Usually, they appear after you try out a new product.

C. What is the most safest and mindful skincare one can adopt?

Taking the organic route is always the safest. Invest in products and formulations that are organically sourced and curated. This way, you not only attain beautiful skin and support a sustainable skincare brand but also back to mother nature.


    Hopefully, this blog did justice to your specific concerns and may you remain less stressed in the future if any skin issues arrive. Keep the above tips in mind and achieve the skin of your dreams!

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