The Ingredient: Alpha Hydroxy Acids
What It Does: This class of ingredients, including glycolic and lactic acids, exfoliates skin and reduces the appearance of fine lines.
When Youll See Results: Youll notice a more radiant complexion right away. Its anti-aging effects take longer to kick in, though: Using a product with AHA consistently for four to six months can help stimulate the production of collagen, minimizing the appearance of wrinkles.
The Ingredient: Ceramides
What It Does: These beneficial fatty compounds fill gaps between cells on the skins surface, hydrating and soothing dry skin, replacing ceramides skin naturally loses as you age.
When Youll See Results: Since ceramides work on the surface of your skin, they start working as soon as you smooth them on. Youll see results within minutes, Dr. Zeichner says.
The Ingredient: Hyaluronic Acid
What It Does: Naturally found in your body, this compound helps pull water into the skin, hydrating and plumping for a smoother, dewier complexion.
When Youll See Results: Like ceramides, hyaluronic acid starts to work as soon as its applied. It can leave skin looking plumper in just a few minutes.
The Ingredient: Caffeine
What It Does: By constricting blood vessels in the skin, caffeine minimizes unwanted puffiness and can reduce the look of dark circles.
When Youll See Results: Put a caffeine-infused product on before enjoying a leisurely cup of coffee, and you should see results by the time youve taken the last sipit reduces the appearance of under-eye bags in a few hours.
The Ingredient: Salicylic Acid
What It Does: This common acne treatment fights blemishes by exfoliating, declogging pores, and calming inflammation.
When Youll See Results: When you use a product with salicylic acid, there are some immediate improvements, because it helps dry out pimples, Dr. Zeichner says. But getting the full blemish-busting effects takes about 12 weeks of regular use.
The Ingredient: Vitamin C
What It Does: This potent antioxidant interferes with the production of pigment in the skin, fading dark spots.
When Youll See Results: Once you add vitamin C to your skincare regimen, you may start seeing noticeable improvements in three weeks. It can help significantly fade hyperpigmentation in about two months.
The Ingredient: Retinol
What It Does: This anti-aging all-star minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, smooths skin, and improves tone.
When Youll See Results: Using retinol is a marathon, not a sprint. Dr. Zeichner tells his patients it takes 8 to 12 weeks to start seeing some improvement, and studies show continued improvement even at 52 weeks.
The Ingredient: Benzoyl Peroxide
What It Does: This go-to acne treatment kills off the bacteria that cause pimples, helping to prevent and heal blemishes and clear your complexion.
When Youll See Results: When you add a benzoyl peroxide product to your regimen, your skin will start to clear up in three weeks, and youll get the full anti-acne benefits after 12 weeks.