Younger Skin at Any Age
Dermatologists offer advice on how to keep skin smooth and healthy.
- Stop picking! It's hard to resist the urge to do a little at-home surgery on a pimple, but the mark it might leave is the
most persuasive reason not to. "As you age, acne scars often end up looking more like wrinkles," says Grossman. "If you have
a pimple on your cheek near where a wrinkle forms, it will make the wrinkle deeper."
- Cleanse with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). They help remove the top layer of dead skin cells to reveal a fresh layer underneath.
"Alpha hydroxy acids (such as glycolic acid) unclog pores and help your skin look smoother," says Alyson C. Penstein, a dermatologist
in New York City. Note: If you have oily or acne-prone skin, try a cleanser with a beta hydroxy acid (BHA).
- Use an anti-aging cream at night. New anti-aging creams arrive on cosmetics counters all the time―with bigger claims and heftier
price tags. But good old retinoids, which contain a vitamin A derivative, are still the gold standard. "Many studies support
retinoids, and they have withstood the test of time," says Marianne O'Donoghue, an associate professor of dermatology at the
Rush University Medical Center, in Chicago. Retinoids encourage the skin to renew itself, smoothing fine lines and helping
to repair sun damage. They are found in prescription creams, such as Renova and Retin-A, and in lower concentrations in over-the-counter
retinol creams. Note: Retinoids can be irritating at first, so apply sparingly. They also leave skin vulnerable to sunburn.
If your skin is extra-sensitive, try a milder cream containing kinetin, an ingredient found in plants that has been shown
to smooth lines.
- Try a weekly exfoliation treatment. Most professional antiaging treatments―including chemical peels and microdermabrasion―shed
skin to clear up uneven pigmentation and encourage collagen growth. Now there are effective treatments that are gentle enough
to use at home. Robin Ashinoff, director of cosmetic dermatology at the Hackensack University Medical Center, in New Jersey,
suggests using a chemical exfoliator. There are also polishing creams that aim to achieve results similar to those of professional
microdermabrasion, which manually sloughs off skin with superfine particles. Over time, your skin should respond by thickening
slightly. "Thickening is good," explains Mary Ellen Brademas, a New York City dermatologist. "Thicker skin shows fewer wrinkles."
- Remember the rest of your body. "Everything you do for your face, you should also do for your neck, chest, and hands," says
Baumann. "Those are the primary spots that show aging." At the very least, moisturize: Hydrated skin looks plumper and smoother.