Step 5: Exfoliate Gently and Often continued...
What to try: The most effective, least expensive options are grainy scrubs that have small, round particles. Try St. Ives Elements Microdermabrasion ($7, drugstores) or SkinEffects Cell2Cell Anti-Aging Exfoliating Cleansing Scrub ($10, CVS). "The particles should be smooth and feel like sugar in your hand," says Dr. Baumann. If they are too big or rough, they can tear skin. At-home chemical exfoliators work more slowly and may cost more, but they too help loosen dead cells. If manual scrubs are too harsh for your skin, choose a chemical wash with glycolic acid, or try a gentler salicylic acid formula (it may also treat acne). Try Aveda Enbrightenment Brightening Cleanser ($35, aveda.com). And if you're also using a retinoid, try sloughing skin twice instead of three or four times weekly.
Years younger: 2-3. There are two provisos, say experts. First, you've got to stick with it to keep seeing improvement. You'll get even better results by also doing monthly doctor's-office peels (glycolic acid or microdermabrasion), which remove the upper layer of skin and may stimulate collagen production. Second, you'll benefit the most if you combine this step with one (or more) of the others listed here.
Step 6: Add Moisture
Why this works: By menopause, the majority of women need a daily moisturizer. "It's what gives skin that smooth, radiant look," explains Dr. Glogau. In fact, most skin care that promises to improve the look of wrinkles in just a few weeks is probably doing it by moisturizing.
What to try: Effective hydrators include those, like glycerin and hyaluronic acid, that draw water into the skin, and others that prevent water from escaping, such as petrolatum and lanolin. Try Dove Deep Moisture Facial Lotion SPF 15 ($7.49, drugstores) with glycerin. Natural moisturizers, like olive, sunflower, and coconut oils, can also hydrate skin; skip them, though, if you're prone to acne. Try: Kiss My Face Obsessively Organic Under Age Ultra Hydrating Moisturizer ($21, Whole Foods) with sunflower and grapeseed oils. What won't work: drinking more water. There's little evidence that staying hydrated internally can do anything to reduce wrinkles, though if you're dehydrated, water will definitely give your skin a smoother look.
Years younger: 2-3. Though they have to be reapplied in order to keep up the benefits, moisturizers can help you look a few years younger almost immediately, says Dr. Glogau.
Can light make you look younger?
Handheld LED machines — scaled-down versions of the ones in dermatologists' offices and spas — promise to stimulate collagen, improve skin texture and tone, and smooth fine lines when their red and/or infrared light is directed at your face. True? The Good Housekeeping Research Institute put five recently introduced devices and their anti-aging claims to the test. Volunteers followed each manufacturer's protocol, using the handheld gizmos daily to once a week for four to six weeks. But with very few exceptions, testers' fine lines and wrinkles were unchanged after the prescribed periods. The bright spots: Evis M.D. Platinum Red LED Rejuvenating Facial Light ($295, department stores) and Tända Regenerate Anti-Aging Starter Kit ($275, Sephora) improved sunspots, pores, and skin texture in lab evaluations. The bottom line: Though you may get some skin benefits from at-home LED devices, these costly, time-consuming treatments appear no more effective than a good face cream at turning back the clock.
Originally published on February 13, 2009