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Face it: Great skin can be your best accessory, but it takes the right routine—not to mention a ton of info you may not understand. In the Anti-Aging and Skin Challenges Study, a recent survey conducted by Family Circle, you told us about your skincare habits. We ran everything by top dermatologists across the country, who said—good news—you sound a whole lot like their own patients. So we did the consultation for you and found out what you need to know to take years off your face.
What You Said: Forty-six percent of you ranked them as your number one skin concern—they're not called worry lines for nothing.
What You Can Do: Create a.m. and p.m. routines to treat existing lines and prevent new ones from forming. Every night incorporate a retinoid (a vitamin A cream) or peptide-boosting product into your regimen—both work to stimulate collagen. Prescription-strength retinoids (Retin-A, Renova, Tretinoin) tend to be aggressive. If you have sensitive skin, start by using one every third day, then a couple weeks later, work up to every second day, and so on, suggests Dr. Brandt. Another tip: Begin with a cream formula, which can be gentler on skin than a more concentrated serum, says Dr. Fusco. And wait about 10 minutes after washing your face before applying to give your skin's pH time to return to normal. Using on still-damp skin can increase side effects. An over-the-counter solution: Olay Professional Pro-X Deep Wrinkle Treatment, $42, which contains a mix of peptides and a mild form of vitamin A. Once or twice a week exfoliate with a granular scrub, microdermabrasion product, or chemical peel to encourage cell turnover. And, of course, to prevent new wrinkles from forming, don't leave home without making sunblock (SPF 30, at least) your last step. A good one will also contain antioxidants—a second line of defense against free radicals, which cause wrinkles. Look for brands with ingredients like green tea, vitamin C, soy extract, and polyphenols. It's also important to establish healthy eating habits, like maintaining a low-sugar diet, says Dr. Brandt. Foods high in sugar cause collagen and elastin fibers to become brittle.
Skincare Panel: David E. Bank, MD, Mount Kisco, NY; Fredric Brandt, MD, NYC and Miami; Francesca Fusco, MD, NYC; Jessica Wu, MD, Los Angeles