Wnat to Have Younger-Looking Skin: What Works, What Doesn't

Thursday, 25 September 2014

The first signs of aging, like tornadoes and earthquakes, seem to come without warning. One day you're looking even-toned and luminous, battling the young-person skin woes of acne and, well, acne, when suddenly—what is that line? And how come you have dry patches? You have them, of course, because your skin is a living thing, getting older as you are—but you shouldn't obsess over that. A little entry-level anti-aging skin care can fix most early changes in your twenties and thirties. And reversing any damage is easier if you start early.

Just be smart about how you invest: "Save your budget for something concentrated, like a serum or night cream that works over time," says Cambridge, Massachusetts, dermatologist Ranella Hirsch, M.D. And don't get ahead of yourself—you do want to act, but you don't want to overreact. "If you start piling on too many products when you're young, your skin can get irritated and dry, which will speed up aging," advises New York City dermatologist Robert Anolik, M.D.

First up is familiarizing yourself with your skin's issues. Next is finding the right way to deal with them. We've mapped it all out here.

If you have Brown Spots...
Worth it: An antioxidant serum
Not worth it: Bleaching creams

Sun damage—by both UV rays and the sun's heat—can show up as brown spots, most commonly on your cheeks and nose. But don't bother with bleaching creams containing hydroquinone—without a doctor's supervision they can make discoloration worse. Instead follow Dr. Hirsch's advice: Get a great sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher), wear it daily, and apply an antioxidant blend, like Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair Dark Spot Corrector ($20, ulta.com). A recent study showed that antioxidants like vitamin C and licorice extract neutralize the effects of the sun's infrared heat.

If you have Big Pores...
Worth it: A salicylic acid treatment
Not worth it: Toners

With collagen loss comes expanding pores, and though nothing will permanently shrink their size (sorry!), a deep cleaning will instantly make them look smaller. "Pores enlarge when they're dirty or clogged," explains Miami and New York City dermatologist Fredric Brandt, M.D. Use a mechanical exfoliator once a week (like a sonic cleansing brush; it'll help get the dirt off your face) and add salicylic acid (in a cleanser or pore-minimizing treatment, like Philosophy No Reason to Hide Multi-Imperfection Transforming Serum, $68, nordstrom.com) to your morning routine to keep everything clear. And skip the toner; Dr. Brandt deems it unnecessary.

If you have Fine Lines...
Worth it: A peptide serum
Not worth it: Heavy eye creams

Got crow's-feet? You're not alone—they're what bring many of Dr. Brandt's patients to his office for the first time. "Skin around the eyelid is thinner and sees a lot of creasing from smiling," he explains. (Forehead creases are common as well.) Dr. Brandt recommends a peptide serum, like Dr. Brandt Laser Fx Perfect Serum ($78, sephora.com), to smooth out wrinkles, even around the eyes. "Peptides trick cells into thinking there's damage, so they start producing more collagen," he says. "And serums are great for younger skin—they're less oily than creams." (Those creamier blends can clog pores and create tiny white bumps called milia around the eyes. If you've got milia, exfoliate gently for several weeks and lay off the oily formulas.)

If you have Dry Skin...
Worth it: A hyaluronic acid moisturizer
Not worth it: Harsh scrubs

Your skin's oil production does slow down with age (you'll notice a significant moisture dive around age 35), but even so, most dullness and flaking in your twenties, thirties, and forties is probably due to stress or irritation from products, according to Dr. Anolik. Some people inadvertently dry out their skin by overusing retinol or acid products, he says. (Limit these anti-agers to once a week until your skin acclimates.) Also beware of intense exfoliating scrubs: They can exacerbate dehydration if used more than twice a week. "Skin is dry because of its inability to hold on to moisture," he explains. Remedy that with an everyday serum, like Origins Plantscription Anti-Aging Power Serum ($56, origins.com) or moisturizer with hyaluronic acid, which draws water to the skin's surface to keep it hydrated and dewy. source

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