Q: I'm using a new anti-aging cream. When will I see results?
A: It depends on your goal, says Neil Sadick, M.D., a New York dermatologist. Here's what to expect: Tone and texture should improve first. Rough skin, uneven pigmentation, and dullness are the early signs of premature aging, but they can also be improved the quickest because they occur in the skin's outermost layer. "Use a cream with a chemical exfoliant like glycolic acid," suggests Sadick. "It will gently slough away these imperfections in about a month."
Fine lines and wrinkles take longer to fade (up to six weeks) because they develop deep in the middle layer of skin. (Deeper wrinkles can take up to a year.) Deep-penetrating ingredients like vitamin C and retinol jump-start cell activity by encouraging collagen production. (A breakdown of collagen is the primary cause of wrinkles.)
To speed results, use anti-agers both day and night. In the a.m., apply a cream that also protects against the sun's rays, one cause of premature aging. Try L'Oreal Paris Advanced Revitalift Complete SPF 15 lotion ($16.60; at drugstores); before bedtime, try Neutrogena Visibly Even Night Concentrate ($11.75; at drugstores).