I’ve heard this one endlessly over the years, that skin adapts to skin care ingredients, meaning that you’re supposed to change the products you use on a regular basis because they stop having an impact. This isn’t true, not even a little. This is one of the more absurd notions in skin care (okay there are a LOT of absurd notions but this one especially bugs me).
Here’s another way of looking at it. Skin is the largest organ of the body and has similar needs to other organs. Your internal organs no sooner adapt to eating healthy foods or adapt to eating unhealthy foods than your skin adapts to the ingredients it needs to be healthy every day.
Skin is hungry for antioxidants, skin replenishing ingredients, and skin restoring ingredients 365 days a year and these ingredients never stop working to make skin healthier, younger, and protected from the environment.
Most of the ingredients you need to be applying to your skin everyday would already naturally be there if they didn’t become depleted and impaired (meaning your body stops being able to make them) because of sun damage and age. And you certainly don’t adapt to the substances found naturally in skin.
Exfoliants continue working as skin continues needing help shedding built-up dead skin. The same sunscreen you use today will interrupt sun damage every time use it for the rest of your life.
I think this notion of adapting to skin care ingredients gets confused with the fact that skin continually changes with time. Even the best skin care products can’t stop you from getting older, or undo years of previous sun damage, prevent the eye area fat pads from drooping and causing eyes to be baggy and puffy, stop mid-life hormone changes from having an impact on skin, prevent gravity from sagging skin, or other health problems along the way which change how your skin looks and feels.
It’s not that your skin has adapted to anything in the products you use, rather your skin has changed with the passage of time. So many things can change how your skin behaves from menopause, to accumulated sun damage, and your health. All this adds up to having different skin care needs which often requires different skin care formulations.
Believing skin adapts to skin care ingredients also gets lumped into the science that topical antibiotics a dermatologist may prescribe for some skin disorders can eventually stop working. But that’s not about skin adapting to the antibiotic, that’s about the bacteria in skin adapting and becoming resilient to that antibiotic.