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Your Skin: Are You Doing Too Much or Too Little?

Either Way, Your Face Loses. Here's How to Get Amazing Results in Four Simple Steps

Read Your Face: The 4 Signs of Aging continued...

What a doctor can do: Not interested in a face-lift? That's fine — there are noninvasive procedures worth investigating. Both infrared and laser treatments help stimulate the development of new collagen and "get heat deeply into the skin to help tighten fibrous bands," explains Dr. Weiss, who is also vice president of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. Ask your doctor about the Palomar Lux DeepIR, Cutera Titan, or CoolTouch. "Although we haven't found the perfect device for dealing with sagging skin, the technology is getting better all the time," Dr. Weiss says. And although these treatments are pricey and you'll need several sessions, the results are visible and impressive. To help improve the look of enlarged pores (and speed up skin's renewal process) at a much lower cost, ask a doctor about a prescription for Retin-A. "Whether you're dealing with acne or wrinkles, it's been proven to work on many levels," says Dr. Hirsch.

Rough Texture (and, Yes, Wrinkles)

Why can't we all have baby-smooth skin? As your body ages, it produces less oil (which means the skin, especially the top layer, gets drier); plus, your skin's under-the-surface structure is not as elastic or supple as it used to be, so it takes longer to bounce back than it once did. The visible results of these changes: fine lines, deep wrinkles, dry patches, crepey areas, and increased healing time for scars and breakouts.

What you can do at home: Moisturizer helps, but it can't do the entire job. To treat texture issues along with the dryness, go for an active treatment, one that's as strong as your skin can tolerate. This will chemically exfoliate the surface and speed up the renewal process so your skin looks smoother. Try Neutrogena Healthy Skin Face Lotion ($10.50, drugstores). But don't overdo it or fixate on one area. "A lot of women I see get focused on one or two wrinkles in particular," says dermatologist Manjula Jegasothy, M.D., director of the Miami Skin Institute. "They overtreat those areas with something very irritating, which only creates more problems," she says. If your skin is reasonably tolerant, do an at-home peel or use a microdermabrasion kit at least once a month. Relax your face whenever possible, since scrunching and squinting only contribute to the problem. (You can also reduce squinting by wearing sunglasses and having your eyes checked to see if you need new glasses.)

Brush Up on Beauty

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