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You have a cleanser and moisturizer that you love, but they don't address your special skin concerns. To help you sort through the myriad of "breakthrough" potions out there, we've broken down three common skin concerns and paired them with product recommendations. Read on to find out what will really work for you:
Skin concern #1: Fine lines and wrinkles Product Rx: Look for a product containing alpha-hydroxy acid, retinol, or vita-niacin. Dermatologists consider these the gold standards in topical, over-the-counter wrinkle-fighters. They work by sloughing off old, dead skin cells and stimulating collagen production under the skin. To use: Apply after cleansing but before moisturizing, once each night, until your skin becomes used to the product. Then, step up application to twice daily. Be sure to use a sunscreen for daytime.
Skin concern #2: Dark spots and uneven tone Product Rx: Choose a lotion, cream, or serum containing skin-lightening ingredients such as hydroquinone or kojic acid. They work by slowing the overproduction of melanin, which causes the dark spots in the first place. Some doctors have found vitamin C to have a similar effect. To use: Follow package directions closely. Hydroquinone and kojic acid take at least six weeks to work, so be patient. And be sure to wear sunscreen outside, since the sun can worsen dark spots.
Skin concern #3: Lack of firmness and sagging Product Rx: While serious sagging can only be fixed by a plastic surgeon, some promising ingredients can help (if only temporarily). Copper is currently popping up in skin creams, and is said to help skin become firmer from the inside. Caffeine works like a temporary shrink-wrap, causing skin to tighten up for several hours. To use: Copper products can be used in place of your regular moisturizer. Be sure to wear sunscreen, however, since the sun can damage collagen under the skin, causing it to lose its strength and begin to sag. Products containing caffeine can be used as often as you like.