- Sun exposure and smoking accelerate skin's aging process by years
- Retinol is a rejuvenating ingredient in anti-aging serums and eye creams
- Less is more when it comes to needles, but Botox can prevent wrinkles
Moisturizers! Creams! Cleansers! Serums! All of these products have a place in your routine, but here are a few of the most essential:
A small-grain exfoliating cleanser will work for most skin types. "It cleans your skin and exfoliates at the same time," Dr. Fusco says, which zaps dullness that occurs as cell turnover slows down.
Serums contain higher concentrations of therapeutic ingredients than creams—that means faster results. Look for retinol (a vitamin A derivative), vitamin C, or vitamin E—these vitamins stimulate collagen production, strengthening skin.
"Choose an eye cream that contains retinol (to stimulate collagen production) or caffeine (it constricts blood vessels to reduce puffiness and dark circles)," advises Fredric Brandt, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City and Coral Gables, Florida.
The key ingredients to look for are glycerin or hyaluronic acid, according to Dr. Brandt, because they help your skin hang on to moisture.
If you're outside a lot during the day, you need a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 in addition to your moisturizer.
Women who look young for their age may be getting injected with muscle-relaxing drugs or fillers (or both). A few things you should know before giving these a shot:
Botox is a form of botulinum toxin that is typically injected into crow's feet, forehead lines, the lines between your brows, and the "bunny lines" at the top of the nose. It relaxes muscles, which inhibits lines from forming when you move your face. Fillers like Restylane are commonly used to add volume to cheeks, smile lines, lips, temples, and the jawline. Both start at about $550 per area.
Botox and Restylane are still the most popular brands, but there are other choices. Many of Dr. Fusco's patients claim that Dysport kicks in faster and lasts longer than Botox. Lisa Airan, M.D., an aesthetic dermatologist in New York City, says Xeomin is the newest botulinum toxin on the block. As for fillers, Dr. Brandt loves Belotero, which he says is great for filling in lines.
Injections in your 20s or early 30s may sound insane, but if you see signs of wrinkles when you're at rest, Botox can actually help you avoid or tone down new ones. "Getting Botox can prevent future damage by softening facial movement," says Doris Day, M.D., a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center.
Some derms, like Dr. Fusco, recommend so-called "baby Botox" for patients who are nervous about looking frozen. This involves injecting smaller amounts more frequently (every three months, as opposed to every four to six months) for a more natural look.
See lines? Here's what's happening to your skin.
30s During this decade, the ability of collagen to repair itself starts to slow, causing lines around the eyes to deepen into crow's feet. Forehead lines and lines between the eyebrows start.
40s Thanks to the stepped-up loss of collagen and elastin (the protein that helps skin snap back), even thicker-skinned areas will fall prey to fine lines, causing creases and little wrinkles around the mouth.
50s By now, you will have lost some fat from just below the skin's surface, causing it to sag a bit. Lines deepen and new ones are created. But those few extra pounds you've been fighting can help plump up wrinkles.