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Look Better Legs

Put It On like a Pro

Apply creams and lotions by rubbing firmly in a circular motion; smooth away extra product to avoid streaks. One lotion we like: Dove Energy Glow Daily Moisturizer with Subtle SelfTanners ($7, drugstores). To try: L'Oréal Sublime Glow MicroFine Mist ($10, drugstores).

Ace Those Trouble Spots

Dry knees, ankles, and feet tend to sop up extra product and then turn darker. Oullet recommends smoothing on a regular moisturizer beforehand, which will lessen the amount of tanner that's absorbed. To avoid a line where your ankles meet your feet, she says, "do your leg first, then add a little moisturizer to the residue that's left on your hands and run hands from your leg to your foot." Use a tissue to rub around nails to remove excess.

Nervous? Tan Gradually

Tannerlotion hybrids have low doses of color combined with moisturizer, so it's harder to make a mistake. You'll see a subtle difference a few hours after you first apply it, with the color increasing each time you slather it on. Try Aveeno Continuous Radiance Moisturizing Lotion ($15, drugstores). Or try a body bronzer like Neutrogena Sheer Body Tint Temporary Tan ($10, drugstores). You'll get immediate color that will wash away in your next shower.

Mask Your Veins

Stubborn spider or varicose veins can mar the look of your legs. For permanent solutions, talk to your doctor about inoffice treatments such as lasers and sclerotherapy ($300 to $800 per treatment), as well as endovenous ablation (around $2,500 per treatment, often covered by insurance).

In the meantime, there's plenty you can do at home to minimize the look of prominent veins — and to help prevent new ones from forming:

Stretch

Stuck in line? Stand on the balls of your feet and contract your calves to keep blood moving, says Pamela Peeke, M.D., author of Body for Life for Women.

Pop a Baby Aspirin

One a day thins blood and improves its flow, taking stress off veins — but ask your doctor first, says Thomas F. O'Donnell, M.D., director of the Venous Center at TuftsNew England Medical Center.

Don't Cross Your Legs

It cuts off blood circulation, says Dr. Peeke.

Cover Up with Makeup

The right heavyduty concealer (one designed for the body, not the face) can really disguise spider veins. Go for a longwearing, waterresistant formula like Dermablend Leg and Body Cover Crème ($18, dermablend.com).

Get a Glow

A selftanner's allover color will reduce contrast on your legs, so discolorations are less noticeable.

Consider Creams Carefully

Don't expect an overthecounter potion to completely erase veins, says Paul M. Friedman, M.D., a dermatologist and director of the DermSurgery Laser Center in Houston. Only medical treatments can produce those results. But some creams can improve the appearance of capillaries. One new product that seems to show promise: Avon Anew Clinical Spider Vein Therapy SPF 15 ($25, avon.com). In a companysponsored test, women who'd used the product for eight weeks prior noticed up to a 50 percent reduction in the appearance of their spider veins.

Originally published on May 1, 2007

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