How it works:

  • Share your skin goals and snap selfies

  • Your dermatology provider prescribes your formula

  • Apply nightly for happy, healthy skin

How it works:

  • Share your skin goals and snap selfies

  • Your dermatology provider prescribes your formula

  • Apply nightly for happy, healthy skin

How long does it take for skin to clear up? What skincare experts say

It can take at least four to six weeks—so patience is key!

Curology Team Avatar

Curology Team
Oct 17, 2022 · 6 min read

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We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.
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  3. > How long does it take for skin to clear up? What skincare experts say

How long does it take for the skin to clear up? In short, good things take time! Figuring out the amount of time it takes to see results after beginning any type of skincare treatment depends on many factors, such as your skin type, the type of acne you’re experiencing, and your treatment plan.

One thing’s for sure: We tend to throw in the towel before treatment has enough time to work.

Plenty of treatment options are available, and you don’t need a complicated skincare routine to get clearer skin as quickly as possible. Whatever you try, always remember patience is key!

Factors to consider

As much as we’d like to, we can’t tell you exactly when your skin will clear up. That’s because the answer is different for everybody. How long it takes for acne to go away with treatment depends on several factors, including your skin type, type of acne, treatment, and how diligently you stick to your skincare routine. At Curology, we recommend using the same treatment for at least four to six weeks before you can expect to notice improvements, but some breakouts can take two to three months—or longer—to significantly clear up. Any acne treatment needs time to work, and switching products every few days or every other week can be counterproductive. That’s because your skin needs time to get used to a new product, during which you may experience purging, which is completely normal (more on that in a bit). 

Benefits of following a skincare routine that’s right for you

The right treatment can be a real game-changer to how quickly your skin heals. Many people tend to associate oily skin with acne, but acne isn’t exactly what we’d call choosy. In fact, people with dry skin also commonly experience breakouts. One of the first steps in any effective skincare routine is getting to know your skin type—doing so can help you find skincare products that work for you. In addition to treating and helping to prevent breakouts, dedicating yourself to a simple skincare routine can also help:

  • Improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles 

  • Decrease blemishes and hyperpigmentation

  • Increase hydration and collagen production

  • Restore firmness and texture

  • Even our skin tone

Simple steps to start a good skincare routine

A good skincare routine is one that you’ll actually stick with every day, and it’s a great way to help your skin clear up as quickly as possible. Of course, this goes along with eating a balanced diet, drinking enough water, and getting plenty of rest. If you’re new to the skincare game, welcome! And if you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s understandable. But no need to stress. Here we’ll walk you through a simple routine—we’re firm believers in keeping it as no-frills as possible because, honestly, that’s all it needs to be!

  • Cleanse: Wash your face twice daily—in the morning and before bed. And if you use makeup, always be sure to remove it before washing up at night.

  • Moisturize: Use moisturizer after cleansing in the morning and at night. If you use topical treatments as part of your nighttime routine, typically you’ll want to apply those first and then your moisturizer.

  • Protect: Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 as part of your morning routine. Your skin is exposed to the sun’s UV rays every day, no matter the weather. So make sunscreen part of your daily routine, even on cloudy days or on days when you don’t leave the house.

man clearing his face with cream
  • Treat: After washing your face at night, apply your personalized Curology formula in a thin layer, or use your other skin treatment as directed. Some active ingredients like tretinoin can leave your skin photosensitive—meaning it may burn more easily when exposed to the sun. 

A few more tips: Store your products in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. And, yes, skincare products do expire!

How long is too long?

While there isn’t an exact time frame for how long it takes for skin to clear, most Curology members start seeing results within the first four to eight weeks when they stick to their skincare routine and use products for their skin condition. In fact, in a clinical study of 150 patients, 95% reported seeing clearer skin after 12 weeks.** Don’t be alarmed if your results vary or you experience the occasional pimple—it’s common, even when you’re no longer breaking out as often. The most important part of treating acne is making sure you have a professional dermatology provider you can count on, like the Curology team. 

If you're wondering, “How long does it take for acne scars to clear?”, that’s a different story. You can reduce your risk of developing acne scars by resisting the urge to pop, pick, and probe whiteheads or blackheads. The good news about acne scarring is that there are things you can do to reduce their appearance—we’ve got you covered in our guide to treating acne scars.  

What does skin purging look like?

Purging can happen as a result of your skin responding to certain active ingredients in your skincare products, like tretinoin or azelaic acid. Previously clogged pores are clearing out. In addition, dead skin cells start shedding faster than normal, and these can clog pores, resulting in a temporary flare of acne. It may look like you’re experiencing entirely new breakouts, but there’s a difference. 

Consistency is key for helping skin your clear 

Remember, many people give up on their skincare routine before they actually start to see real results. The best way to notice changes in your skin is to stick to a routine that works for you. 

At Curology, we’ve worked with thousands of patients with all types of acne, including inflammatory acne, hormonal acne, and sport-related or friction acne (acne mechanica). We're a team of licensed dermatology providers offering full-service skincare with customized skincare products. Curology’s licensed dermatology providers will develop a personalized skincare routine to address your unique skin concerns—and we stand by you throughout the journey. We also encourage you to reach out with any questions. In fact, we want to hear from you!

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

Subject to consultation. 30-day trial. Just cover $4.95 in S&H.
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To become a member, simply take a short skin quiz and snap a few selfies. You’ll be paired with one of our experts who will design your personalized Curology formula. We’ll include Curology’s cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen, along with a how-to for your skincare routine. It’s all free for the first 30 days.** Just pay $4.95 (plus tax) for shipping and handling. Sign up here!

FAQs

What are the benefits of following a skincare routine that’s right for you?

The right treatment can be a real game-changer to how quickly your skin heals. Many people tend to associate oily skin with acne, but acne isn’t exactly what we’d call choosy. In fact, people with dry skin also commonly experience breakouts. One of the first steps in any effective skincare routine is getting to know your skin type—doing so can help you find skincare products that work for you.

How long is too long?

While there isn’t an exact time frame for how long it takes for skin to clear, most Curology members start seeing results within the first four to eight weeks when they stick to their skincare routine and use products for their skin condition. In fact, in a clinical study of 150 patients, 95% reported seeing clearer skin after 12 weeks.

What does skin purging look like?

Purging can happen as a result of your skin responding to certain active ingredients in your skincare products, like tretinoin or azelaic acid. Previously clogged pores are clearing out. In addition, dead skin cells start shedding faster than normal, and these can clog pores, resulting in a temporary flare of acne. It may look like you’re experiencing entirely new breakouts, but there’s a difference.

• • •
Our medical review process:We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Curology Team Avatar

Curology Team

Meredith Hartle, DO

Meredith Hartle, DO

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