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How Long Does It Take For Skin To Clear Up For Men?

Some of us have perpetually persnickety skin. So how do you know if your face and body products are working? It’s all about knowing the answer to “how long does it take for skin to clear up.”

Instant results are rare, so you have to hang in there to see a hygiene product’s full effects.

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How Long Does It Take For Skin To Clear Up?

Rule of thumb: if you’re using a new over-the-counter skincare product, you should see results in 4-6 weeks (assuming you’re properly allowing for your skincare products to be absorbed by your skin).

The reason why is actually pretty cool – on average, skin takes approximately 27 days to “regenerate” even if you’re using the best acne moisturizer for men. The bottom-most layer of your epidermis is constantly producing new skin cells, as the top-most layer dies and falls off in the form of dead skin. (That’s why it’s a big deal to properly use a body scrub regularly. It facilitates that process.)

If you want to see the full results of your product, you need to wait to see how the treatment affected those bottom-most cells. They’re the ones who have been “using” the product for their entire lifespan.

For prescribed skincare products, results vary more. You’ll probably see some clearness in about a month, but it may take up to 3 months depending on the prescription. Skincare medications often balance your skin chemistry or hormones, which is a longer process.

So hang in there!

Also, keep an eye out for anything than can cause your skin to become oily like creatine.

How Long Does It Take Skin To Clear Up After Drinking Water?

Contrary to popular belief, there’s not much evidence out there to support the idea that drinking more water clears up your skin. 

This misnomer probably stems from the fact that dehydration can be bad for your skin. But that doesn’t mean that overhydration will always magically clear pimples and zits. Drinking water is one of those things that you should do for your overall health, not your skincare in particular.

Drinking water is best used in combination with other lifestyle changes. Lots of guys see great results if they drink water, exercise regularly, switch up their diet to include more fresh produce, and (of course) use at least a basic skincare routine.

All of those small changes can help your body better regulate hormones, which in turn may help clear up your skin. Like we mentioned earlier, lots of skincare medications actually work by balancing your hormones – but to a certain extent, you can try adopting a few small lifestyle changes that do that for you.

It’s not a foolproof strategy. If you suffer from eczema, psoriasis, relentless acne due to oily skin, or other long-term skin conditions, you should seek help from a dermatologist. But for guys with “average” skin, a combination of healthy choices can clear up some pimples and zits.

How Long Does It Take Skin To Clear Up After Quitting Alcohol?

Your skin can clear up in as little as 4-6 weeks after quitting alcohol. Sobriety as a skincare strategy follows the same rules of skin regeneration that we talked about two headers ago.

It’s especially important to watch out for the skincare side effects of alcohol if you enjoy a glass every evening. Alcohol is dehydrating, which in turn can cause wrinkles, vein-y-ness, and inflammation. If your skin looks dull (or if you find yourself constantly getting up at night for a glass of water), you probably need to lay off the nightcaps for the sake of your skin.

The good news is that you don’t need to do anything “extra.” Follow your normal skincare routine, drink less alcohol and more water (to rehydrate), and you should see results in about a month.

How Long Does It Take Skin To Clear Up After Quitting Smoking?

Smoking can cause more long-term damage to your skin than drinking, so if you quit, you won’t see full results for several months.

Nicotine slows your blood flow, which hinders your body’s ability to deliver nutrients to your skin (and other places those nutrients need to go). When you quit nicotine, you’ll see some slight results immediately – your skin might brighten and get some of its elasticity back.

But it’s going to take a while for your body to start producing collagen and vitamin C again, which build a sturdier structural base for your skin. If your body is suffering from more long-term damage from nicotine, it’s going to take longer to restore your skin, and it may not be what it once was.

How Long Does It Take To Clear Acne Scars?

Acne scars are difficult to just “clear up.” According to the Dermatology Alliance, discoloration is temporary and can work itself out, but textured skin is permanent.

Those bump, divot, and crater acne scars will need to be treated by a dermatologist. Your doctor might recommend a pill, topical treatment, or surgery depending on how bad the scarrage is and whether you just want to fade the scars or get rid of them entirely.

Depending on your treatment type, it can take up to 3-6 months to see noticeable results. Whatever treatment plan you settle on, be sure to exfoliate regularly, cleanse daily, and moisturize frequently to aid the process.

How Do You Know If Your Skin Is Getting Better?

If you’re using a new skincare product or strategy, it’s hard to really know whether your skin is getting better without waiting out that first month or three, but some things to keep in mind:

Look For Positive Signs Early On

Modest results are still results. If you’re noticing slightly more clearness, nice-feeling skin, blemish reduction, or anything else, that’s a good sign.

It’s rare that a product will give you fast or instant results. (And if something is promising to work instantly, turn and run! It’s either a bad sales pitch or will damage your skin.) But you can look for some of those subtle green flags within the first week or two of using a product.

“It Gets Worse Before It Gets Better” – Use With Caution

If you break out in a terrible rash within the first week of using a new product, then it’s probably not the right product for you. (And you may want to double check the ingredient list. You might be having an allergic reaction.)

Some products do worsen your skin before they help you get better, but that’s usually in the form of flakiness or breakouts. If you find yourself suffering from irritation, put the product down.

Keep Up With The Basics

Don’t throw out all your old skincare products just because you’re using a new routine. Whether you’re adding a creme, pill, or diet change to the lineup, you still need to cleanse, exfoliate, and moisturize your skin at a bare minimum.

It’s also not necessarily a good idea to add or subtract too many products to or from your regiment all at once. If you break out in a rash, it’ll be harder to figure out the cause. So continue to stick to your basics when you adopt a new clear-skin-strategy.

Exfoliate Regularly

How will you know whether your skin is getting better if you don’t help it out by scrubbing away that top layer of dead skin?

Exfoliation is a huge part of the regeneration process. It’s like doing a little bit of archaeological work to see if your skincare regiment is working deep down. You won’t see any results if you don’t clear away all that dust (or in this case, dead skin).

How Can I Get Clear Skin Fast?

Start using makeup.

Seriously – no skincare product can truly deliver overnight results, and I would hesitate to trust any that say they can. The fastest way to see genuine clear skin is to be consistent with your basic skincare routine, assess your lifestyle choices, and talk to a dermatologist about anything extra you need to do.

Clear skin takes some patience. If you can’t wait, then the fastest results you’ll get will be with face paint.

Frank Edwards is a men's grooming & style expert who is "internet famous" for being able to simplify complicated grooming routines into easy, yet effective rituals any man can do. As a professional analyst, he has spent years researching the biggest brands, products, experts, best practices, and breaking news in the space. He takes this analysis, tests it out on himself, and then documents everything in his writing. As a result, his experience-based articles are considered by some to be the gold standard in men's grooming and men's style.