Turn back time with these age-defying skincare products and advice from top dermatologists.
By Dori Katz
Recently, four out of five women admitted they might skip makeup altogether if they had younger-looking skin. If you too crave a simplified beauty routine—cleanse, moisturize and go—it's not an impossible dream. With advice from top dermatologists and the right products, you can fight wrinkles and conquer other complexion concerns. Get ready to put your best face forward.
Dennis Gross, M.D., Manhattan dermatologist and founder of Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare
Leslie Baumann, M.D., founder of the University of Miami's department of cosmetic dermatology
Meghan O'Brien, M.D., consulting dermatologist for Physicians Formula
Reveal a radiant complexion with vitamin C (our experts' favorite), licorice or mulberry root extracts, which lighten and brighten skin. Antioxidants prevent future damage—they stop free radicals from breaking down healthy skin cells. Vitamin E, green tea and resveratrol (from grapes) are good choices.
Laser treatments are the most effective way to eliminate pigmentation, such as brown spots and redness. Prices average from $400 to $500.
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution boasts a cocktail of lightening ingredients, including licorice extract, bearberry, azaleic acid and more. Nordstrom, $85
Clinique Even Better Eyes Dark Circle Corrector's metal applicator cools upon contact and improves microcirculation. Clinique.com, $39.50
Avène D-Pigment Dark Spot Corrector comes in light and rich textures (light shown here) so you can choose based on your skin's needs. Aveneusa.com, $49
Wake up to a luminous glow with Garnier Skin Renew Clinical Dark Spot Overnight Peel, which is gentle enough for daily use. Drugstores, $17
Jurlique Purely Bright Cleanser has a superfruit complex that inhibits melanin production. Bye-bye, dark spots! Jurlique.com, $23
Avalon Organics Vitamin C Renewal Moisture Plus Lotion SPF 15 protects and helps to repair with a quick-absorbing formula. Target, Whole Foods and mass retailers, $19
The floral antioxidant in Fresh Peony Whitening Essence is ideal for sensitive skin, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. Fresh.com, $65
In just 10 minutes, No7 Beautiful Skin Energising Mask invigorates your complexion. Target and shopbootsusa.com, $17
Product Tip: When purchasing any serum or cream containing Vitamin C, make sure the container isn't transparent. Light can dilute the product's effectiveness.
Baby-soft skin starts with exfoliation, which encourages cell turnover. Try an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) to remove dead cells, revealing a fresh layer of healthy skin. Glycolic acid, naturally derived from sugarcane, is a popular AHA, while malic, phytic and citric acids also do the trick. The second step is moisturizing; look for ceramides and glycerin, which are both great hydrators.
Chemical peels and microdermabrasion are deep exfoliating treatments (more intense than OTC options) that stimulate collagen production and last for a week. Prices range from $150 to $300.
The ceramides in Dr. LeWinn by Kinerase Wrinkle Repair Daily Lotion SPF 30 maintain moisture, while sunscreen and kinetin—a stellar antioxidant—protect. Walgreens, $28
Yes to Blueberries Softening Facial Exfoliator is a fruit-filled option: Apple extracts exfoliate and blueberries protect from free radical damage. Yestocarrots.com, $10
Glytone Anti-Aging Night Cream softens as you sleep, thanks to peptides, glycolic acid and red tea flavonoids. Dermstore.com, $89.
Vitamins B3 and CG in L'Oréal Paris Youth Code BB Cream Illuminator help to brighten your complexion, while light-reflecting particles camouflage imperfections. Drugstores, $17
Philosophy The Microdelivery Triple-Acid Brightening Peel has a potent combo of three AHAs—mandelic, azaleic and phytic. Philosophy.com, $68 for 12 pads
Plant and orange peel extracts in Burt's Bees Intense Hydration Facial Cream Cleanser nourish skin while you wash. Burtsbees.com, $10
Peter Thomas Roth Laser-Free Retexturizer is a peel, exfoliator and scrub that's gentle enough for acne-prone skin. Peterthomasroth.com, $38
A true multitasker, Olay Total Effects CC Tone Correcting UV Moisturizer exfoliates, smoothes, conceals and shields from the sun with a sheer luminous tint. Mass retailers, $21
Product Tip: Look for scrubs with fine grains. These super-effective exfoliators are gentle on skin.
Retinoids (vitamin A derivatives) and peptides stimulate collagen growth, which can help fill in laugh lines, crow's-feet and forehead creases. (In other words, fewer wrinkles in your future.) Keep skin hydrated with products containing hyaluronic acid—it holds 100 times its weight in water, sealing it into skin.
Fillers, such as the popular brand Juvederm, plump up sunken areas—jowls, cheeks, around the mouth. Treatments last four to six months and range from $500 to $900. Botox and Dysport, known as "freezers," immobilize muscles to soften laugh lines, crow's feet and wrinkles in the forehead and neck and between brows, lasting about three to five months. Prices start at $400.
Exuviance Targeted Filler T5's pen-like applicator lets you target deep expression lines. Ulta and Exuviance.com, $75
Physicians Formula Expression Line Freeze tightens almost immediately—think Botox but for a lot less money. Mass retailers, $22
Super-tiny hyaluronic acid molecules in La Roche-Posay Redermic [C] UV mean major moisturizing. Laroche-posay.us, $54
ANEW Clinical Pro Line Eraser Treatment is formulated to stimulate new collagen production. Avon.com, $40
L'Oréal Paris Revitalift Triple Power Deep Acting Moisturizer firms, nourishes and increases collagen production. Mass retailers, $25
Just a few drops of mineral-rich Vichy Liftactiv Serum?10 feel like hydration heaven. Mass retailers and Vichyusa.com, $52
Don't be deceived by Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum's light texture: It contains a fast-acting retinol. Mass retailers, $21
Dr. Jart Water Fuse Water-Max Sleeping Mask's soothing hyaluronic acid–filled gel heals skin while you snooze. Sephora.com, $48
Product Tip: Retinoids can sometimes cause irritation, so apply in the evening—when sun exposure isn't an issue—and start with a low dosage (0.5%) every other night for the first few weeks.
Originally published in the October 2012 issue of Family Circle magazine.
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