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    How to look your best during each decade of your life

    Beauty for a Lifetime

    Your 50s continued...

    That said, there are some rites of passage that will affect your skin no matter what you do. Among the most significant is menopause.

    As estrogen levels drop, collagen production takes a dive, and, Antell says, the skin shows the changes fairly quickly.

    "A loss of collagen is one of the major causes of skin aging," says Antell.

    For those who protected their face from sun damage, the impact of menopause may be less severe. For those who didn't make the effort, the aging process can be more rapid.

    The good news is that no matter where you are in the process, there's something you can do. The first product to start with -- if you're not using it already -- is retinol, says Fox.

    What may also help: Products designed to increase collagen production, including antioxidants like idebenone and vitamin C, and copper peptides.

    Fox says research on the new pentapeptide formulations is less extensive than that on retinoids, but there is some evidence to show they might help as well.

    "It all depends on what you are trying to accomplish," Antell says, "but yes, most of these anti-aging products will improve your appearance to a certain degree, and they can definitely expand the youth corridor -- that window of time when it can be difficult to guess your age."

    This may also be the time to consider professional restorative care, particularly injections of cosmetic fillers like collagen or Restylane, or wrinkle relaxers like Botox.

    "This is also the time when many women should consider a relatively new approach to facelift surgery called the 'vertical lift,'" says Antell. Much less drastic than the traditional full facelift, this "mini lift" picks up loose skin from the jowls and cheeks to recreate a more youthful contour.

    "If you have it before there's too much sagging, it can really expand your youthful appearance for many years," says Antell. "For many women, it's the only procedure they will ever need."

    Makeup tips: For women in their 50s, less is definitely more.

    "You want to minimize the amount of product you put on your face," says Fazio. "Foundations should be lighter and applied only where you need it; avoid powders; and don't overdo it on the eye makeup."

    In fact, she advises bypassing heavy eye shadow altogether. Instead, smudge a soft pencil liner in charcoal gray or soft brown close to the edge of your upper lid. Then use mascara only on the upper lashes.

    For the biggest boost, use an eyelash curler.

    "It's like giving yourself a temporary eye lift," says Fazio. "If you haven't used one since your 20s or 30s, now is time to use it again."

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