Be prepared to put in a little work on the front end. “It usually takes three to six weeks to see results,” says Casey Gallagher, a dermatologist in Boulder, Colorado. But the radiant results are worth it. Here’s what to do.
- Stick to gentle cleansers. Use a nonsoap product (like Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser) morning and night to wash away grime without irritating skin.
- Smooth skin. In the morning, apply a lotion that contains alpha hydroxy acids to slough off dead skin cells.
- Even out your skin tone. If you have dark pigmentation spots, ask your dermatologist for a prescription-strength skin lightener (which usually contains hydroquinone). Or try an over-the-counter lightener with hydroquinone. Products with vitamin C or licorice extract may help, too.
- Don’t forget sunscreen. Wear one with SPF 30 daily to protect your skin’s tone and texture.
- Get your antioxidants. Look for a free-radical fighter, like vitamin C, or promising ones, like coffeeberry and idebenone, in your day or night cream. Antioxidants protect skin from sun damage and help refine its tone.
- Use an over-the-counter retinol or a prescription-strength retinoid at bedtime. These products encourage cell turnover and collagen production. Begin by applying a pea-size amount every other night, as retinoids can be irritating at first.