Smooth, Firm Skin
"Wrinkles, fine lines, saggingthey're all the result of collagen loss and the fact that skin loses the ability to hydrate itself effectively as we age," says Steven Dayan, MD, a Chicago-based facial plastic surgeon.
The Over-the-Beauty-Counter Fix
To soften lines without a doctor's help, "use products with hyaluronic acid, which captures and holds water in the skin, helping to plump up lines and wrinkles," Dr. Dayan says. Dr. Brandt Lineless Lines No More ($55; Sephora.com) boasts peptides to boost collagen production over time and hyaluronic acid, which plumps skin on contact so lines are less noticeable. Another must-have in your wrinkle-fighting arsenal: a product with retinol. "Retinol, derived from vitamin A, thickens the epidermis, increasing skin firmness," says Ronald Moy, MD, president-elect of the American Academy of Dermatology and director of dermatology for the California Health and Longevity Institute. Try L'Oreal Paris Revitalift Complete SPF 30 Day Lotion ( $17; drugstores), which has Pro-Retinol A and SPF 30 (a plus, as sun exposure can accelerate collagen breakdown).
Fillers (gels made with hyaluronic acid that are injected just beneath skin) remain the gold standard for plumping up wrinkles and fine lines. They also "add back some of the volume that disappears with age," Dr. Dayan says. A plastic surgeon or dermatologist can inject fillers, such as Juvederm or Restylane, in a few minutes, and the wrinkle-smoothing results last 6 to 12 months. Unfortunately, those results come at a steep cost: a treatment with fillers starts at $350 and can go up to more than $1,000, depending on the doctor, the filler used, and how much is needed.
A Bright, Even-Toned Complexion
Skin that seems to glow from within (without age spots or areas of redness) is another hallmark of youth, and, once again, a nutrient-rich diet plays a big role in maintaining this look. Unfortunately, the reverse is also true: The worse your diet, the more sallow your complexion will be. "There's evidence that people who eat diets high in refined sugars get a dull, yellow cast to their skin," Dr. Dayan explains.
Exfoliating is key to getting radiant skin, and products containing glycolic acid gently slough away dead skin. Brazilian Peel ($78; sephora.com), with 30 percent glycolic acid, is one of the strongest peels available outside of a doctor's office; one 10-minute treatment a week evens out your skin tone in about a month.
One of the best ways to achieve a radiant, even-toned complexion is a derm-administered glycolic peel. "Glycolic acid, which can be delivered at strengths of up to 70 percent in an office, gives a very deep exfoliation, revealing brighter skin and even removing some dark spots," Dr. Moy says. Depending on the strength of the peel, results can last up to six months, and costs range from $100 to $250.