Tachyphylaxis is a Real Thing

Tachyphylaxis is a Real Thing

Years ago, I began to notice how products would work for a few months and then suddenly, the results would diminish. Because of my own personal experience, I have always encouraged my clients to mix it up a bit when it comes to their skin care regimen. Special attention is given when I do my consultations to ensure my clients are making necessary rotations in their day-to-day skin ritual.

We all can relate to the excitement of purchasing a new skin care product, with visions of perfect skin, only to discover that after about three months of great results, your complexion is looking quite blah again. Truth be told, it’s not all in your head. Welcome to the world of “tachyphylaxis.”

Perhaps you have heard about the negative ramifications associated with the overuse of topical steroids.  It is now recognized as a condition called topical steroid withdrawal syndrome (TSW), or Red Skin Syndrome, and can cause burning, stinging, and bright red skin once the steroid use has stopped. Topical steroid withdrawal syndrome can be a nightmare and last a lifetime.

Similarly, findings show that “diminished response” can occur with continued applications of skin care products when used repeatedly for six or more months. Although not the nightmare of a topical steroid, the effect is that you no longer see the desired changes in your skin that were once exemplified in the early months of product application. In simple terms, this means that a product’s results are less pronounced the longer you use the product.

In short, your skin can build a resistance to a product so that it no longer delivers the same efficacious results. Ingredients such as glycolics, retinoids, and salicylic acid are common culprits.

This is why I recommend alternating products and using every other day/night cycles, which helps prevent your skin from building a resistance to the products you really love. Yes, you need to give products time to work in order to see cumulative change, but alternating products can improve overall outcomes.

To achieve your ultimate goals, I also recommend switching your skin care regimen with the change of season. This ensures that you re-sensitize the receptors on your skin cells and keep your barrier healthy and glowing.