Take Years Off Your Body
Remember those cute freckles you got as a kid? Well, we've got some not-so-cute news: They were your earliest sign of sun damage. Once you hit your 30s or 40s, the evidence of years of UV exposure emerges in the form of broken blood vessels around your nose and on your cheeks, wrinkles around your eyes and lips, and brown spots. Precancerous lesions may also appear, especially as you move into your 40s.
Easy on the wallet
- Wearing sunscreen every day all year round won't erase your wrinkles and age spots but it will prevent further damage -- and it may even reduce your risk of developing skin cancer. "Sun exposure decreases immune response in the skin, and this can allow precancerous cells to proliferate," explains Rachel Herschenfeld, MD, a dermatologist at Dermatology Partners, in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Any drugstore brand that contains both UVA and UVB blockers will do the trick. Our favorites: La Roche-Posay Anthelios 45 Ultra Light Sunscreen ($28) and Aveeno Continuous Protection Sunblock Lotion SPF 30 for Face ($10).
- Products containing glycolic or alpha hydroxy acid appear to stimulate the formation of new collagen, which is damaged by sun exposure. Try Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Anti-Blemish Cleanser ($8) or Avon Anew Rejuvenate Glycolic Overnight Face ($30).
Not too spendy
- Prescription retinoids such as Retin-A and Renova amp up collagen production and speed cell turnover, reversing signs of photo aging (they cost up to $150). You can also try an OTC retinol cream like L'Oreal Paris Revitalift Complete SPF 30 Day Lotion ($17).
- Superficial glycolic or fruit acid chemical peels will improve skin tone, texture, and pigment and give your face a fresher look, says Ira Davis, MD, a dermatologic surgeon in Hartsdale and Staten Island, New York. The cost is about $200 and most women require two to three treatments. Midlevel peels, which penetrate to the mid-dermis, will do all that plus smooth lines. These peels cost about $500 and usually require only one treatment.
- Laser or light therapy is generally the most effective way to reverse sun damage. Broken blood vessels are treatable with the KTP, YAG, and pulsed-dye lasers. It'll run you $400 to $500 per treatment; most people need one to three sessions. Many docs use Intense Pulsed Light treatments to reduce pigmentation that results from sun damage. It costs about $300 to $500 a treatment and you'll require one to four sessions. The Fraxel laser, which can reduce fine lines and diminish discoloration, goes deeper and stimulates collagen production. The cost? From $800 to $1,500 per treatment. Count on two to five sessions.
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