You Might Need To Change Up Your Skincare Routine—And Here’s How To Know

skin care routine

The skin is ever-evolving and from time to time, you may need to change your skincare routine. Generally, an at-home routine doesn’t require a complete overhaul, but a few tweaks here and there might benefit your skin greatly. Here’s how to know if your skincare routine needs an update.

Change your skincare routine if…

Your skin is acting more sensitive than usual.

Sometimes, for no apparent reason, the skin can start to act more sensitive.

Potential signs of sensitivity include:

  • skin is looking red and flushes easily
  • capillaries appearing more visible
  • your products creating a stinging sensation when you haven’t changed anything
  • skin is getting rash-like bumps

The underlying cause of most sensitivity issues comes from your skin’s barrier getting compromised and damaged. The easiest fix is to switch to a reparative, fragrance-free moisturizer that is specifically formulated to correct the signs of sensitive skin. My go-to cream (and the one I suggest for my clients) is Phytolipid Comfort Creme. Using something like this a few nights a week in place of your regular moisturizer can quickly return your skin back to a calmer state. Read more about a damaged skin barrier and how to fix it.

You’re not seeing any improvement from your current routine.

Let me start with this. It’s important to understand that skin care products aren’t always the miracle workers we would like them to be. Sometimes the improvement you are seeking just can’t be found in a bottle. However, you should certainly be seeing some gradual changes in the skin.

Some examples of realistic improvements from skincare products include:

  • A smoother, smaller-pored texture is easy to attain with exfoliating products such as Pore + Wrinkle Perfecting Serum.
  • Gradually fading the appearance of discoloration (brown spots) with a vitamin C serum like Vitamin C&E Treatment. It won’t happen overnight, but over time it should improve.
  • Less frequent breakouts by using gentle, antibacterial treatments that don’t overdry the skin, yet still attack bad bacteria that causes blemishes. A great mask to see results for all types of breakouts is Rapid Response Detox Masque.

If you’re just not seeing much movement and you’ve been using your skincare routine for a while, it might be time to change your skincare routine.

Your skin is getting bumpy.

The definition of “bumps” can vary but the ones that I’m referring to are what are known as closed comedones. You can see them in this photo. I see these more and more on people’s faces and I believe a big cause of these bumps are liquid makeup, smoothing primers used under foundation, cream blushes and the popularity of facial oils. A lot of people’s pores just can’t handle the oils, and closed comedones start to appear. An easy change is to omit facial oils, but if you really love your makeup look then change your skincare routine to ensure your pores are staying clean. Pore-clearing products will generally have the ingredient salicylic acid, an oil-soluble exfoliating BHA (beta hydroxy acid) known for its ability to get into the pore lining to prevent blockages that lead to bumps and breakouts.

Suggested products with salicylic acid to reduce bumps include:

You’re pregnant.

Speaking of changing to products with salicylic acid, there is an exception. If you’re pregnant, your doctor may suggest avoiding using products with this ingredient, as well as skincare products that use retinol. Check with your doctor, but pregnancy may be a time when you’ll want to change your skincare routine.

Aside from ingredients, pregnancy may bring about changes such as a discoloration condition referred to as ‘the mask of pregnancy’ as well as blemishes. If you’re experiencing hormonal changes, it’s time to change things up with your products to accommodate what your skin needs during this time.

Your skin is starting to get blemishes.

The one skin care concern that is the biggest mystery and seems to take on a life of its own is having blemishes. They can come out of nowhere at any age and at any time. In fact, I see so many people who escaped their teenage years with barely a blemish only to find out that adult acne was waiting for them in their 20s and 30s. It’s very frustrating but a common reality for so many people. (Mostly women as men are more prone to acne in their teen years due to how their hormones work.)

If breakouts are causing you trouble, it’s a good time to make some adjustments to your routine. My best recommendation is not to give your skin a total overhaul and switch to a full acne skin care routine. Meaning, if you’re an adult, the last thing you want to do is treat your skin like a teenager. I can assure you, your skin is far less oily than a teen’s skin is, so you don’t want to overdry it. This will completely throw your skin out of a healthy balance.

To change your skincare routine, consider adding in a few of these products:

You’re getting a little older and ready to kick things up a notch.

There comes a time when you look in the mirror and feel like your skin care routine just isn’t cutting it. (For those over 40 like me, you certainly know what I mean!) A few additions can get your skin to behave in a younger way which in turn can make it appear that way, too.Anti aging treatment for wrinkles and smaller pores

Change your skincare routine to give a boost of smoothing and brightening results:

  • Use a product with retinol. A great starter retinol is Advanced Resurfacing Serum. It’s gentle and powerful—the perfect combination. (At a later date, if necessary, you can bump it up to a prescription retinoid.)
  • Wear sunscreen every single day of the year. Without doing this, any skin efforts aren’t going to deliver results if daylight is damaging your skin day in and day out. Weightless Protection SPF 30 is so lightweight and great for everyday use under makeup.
  • Get smoother skin by committing to using an exfoliating serum a few times a week. Pro Results Power Serum is very effective for reducing the look of sun damage. Of course, you’ll want to choose your skin type to get the best exfoliating serum recommended for your skin’s unique needs.
  • Start getting serious about caring for your neck. It will catch up with you if you don’t give it some skin love. Read my tips for getting rid of sun damage on the neck and chest.

The seasons are changing and you’re feeling it in your skin.

Winter skin care

Lack of humidity in the air during winter can dramatically affect the way your skin looks and feels. When dryness and dehydration set in, the skin feels tight and uncomfortable, and fines lines on the face and under the eyes can be much more prominent.

Winter skin care changes that can make a big difference:

  • Use a facial oil. The quickest fix for this is to pat a facial oil on over your moisturizer to act as a sealant to keep the moisture in your skin. Just one simple change like that can make a big difference. Recommended facial oil: Pro Remedy Oil
  • Switch from a cleansing gel to a cleansing lotion. Lotions will be more softening to dry, irritated skin. Recommended cleansing lotion: Vitamin-Infused Cleansing Emulsion
  • Use the most hydrating toner possible. Toners are excellent for delivering water-based hydration deep into the skin. Modern formulas like an ‘essence’ are serum-infused, so they can truly plump up the skin and leave it feeling dewy and moist. Recommended toner: Moisture Infusion Toner
  • Take the skin type quiz to get products recommended for your skin type.

Summer skin care

On the flip, summer means an increase of oil due to heat and plenty of humidity in the air. It’s time to lighten things up a bit.

Summer skin care changes that can make a big difference:

  • Use a foaming cleanser for a refreshing cleansing experience. You’ll always want to choose ‘sulfate-free’ formulas so they don’t strip the skin, but foaming gels can leave the skin feeling invigorated on hot humid days. Recommended summer cleanser: Luxe Mint Cleansing Gel (This is my summer favorite!)
  • Lighten up your moisturizer. For hot, summer nights, something that focuses on putting more water and less oil into the skin can feel wonderful and be just enough. Recommended lightweight moisturizer: Sheer Moisture Lotion
  • Keep shine down and oil to a minimum with a degreasing lotion. Layer a small amount under your daytime sunscreen to lessen oil and make makeup last longer. Recommended mattifier: Daily Mattifying Solution
  • Take the skin type quiz to get products recommended for your skin type.

Skin Type Quiz

You’ve moved to a new city and your skin starts behaving differently.

From changes in water, climate, food, lifestyle, pollution and other undetectable factors, moving to a new city can definitely cause the skin to act differently. The simple solution is to listen to your skin and adjust your skin care accordingly. Alcohol-free toners are a great way to remove impure tap water if you suspect the water is taking a toll on your skin.

You’ve been using the same routine for a long time.

Some people get into the “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” mindset with their routine—especially those with a history of acne. If you used to get breakouts and a line of products cleared it up, you don’t dare think of changing for fear that your breakouts will come back. For some people, this means they have been using their acne routine from their 20s all the way into their 40s! I’m here to tell you that most people outgrow acne. For the best results with your skin, it’s always important to use a skin care routine geared towards what your skin needs TODAY. If you’re stuck in a rut, I highly recommend you schedule a virtual consultation with an esthetician. We have experts that can guide you to the perfect routine.

You get occasional breakouts.

One of the most challenging types of skin to figure out is one that is inconsistent from week to week. This means adults with occasional breakouts. People have a hard time trying to find a balance between managing the occasional acne without overdrying the skin, and keeping it healthy and happy. Well, the good news is, we have skin types that address that very need. Skin types #2 and #4 do a really good job with that. For any type of skin, Rapid Response Detox Masque can help manage breakouts while being very hydrating and calming to sensitive skin.
Acne Breakout Mask

You’re simply bored with your routine.

Almost everyone has an affinity towards anything new. A new product launch brings a lot of buzz and excitement, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that whatever is the latest, must be the greatest. Just because a product is new doesn’t necessarily mean it will work better than what you currently use. However, if you’re bored and want to spice things up, then try something new. I believe skin care should be fun, and experimentation is fun. It provides us with entertainment while making us feel good. Just be sure when introducing any new product, you follow these steps to prevent any potential problems.

Looking for a simpler skincare regimen? Here’s the basic routine you should be following.

In summary, the rule is: if your skin is changing, it’s time for a change. Be thoughtful of any changes you might make, and when in doubt, consult with a trusted skin care professional. A good start is to take this Skin Type Quiz. I sincerely hope you found this post helpful!

One last comment…have you fallen into the myth that your skin can get used to products and stop working? Read why this is simply untrue.

Renée Rouleau

Celebrity Esthetician & Skincare Expert
As an esthetician trained in cosmetic chemistry, Renée Rouleau has spent 30 years researching skin, educating her audience, and building an award-winning line of products. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives around the globe, her vast real-world knowledge and constant research are why Marie Claire calls her “the most passionate skin practitioner we know.”