Protect Your Age-Prone Zones
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Protect Your Age-Prone Zones

The truth from top dermatologists on what works and what doesn't, for firmer, smoother skin.

Age Defiers

Some parts of your face and body begin to show the signs of aging before others. Here, the areas that need special attention -- and how to care for them.

Lips
woman applying facial product

The area around your lips is vulnerable to wrinkling, particularly if you smoke. Repetitive pursing of your lips causes lines. The best advice? If you smoke, quit. Wear a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher daily. And use special creams for the lip area, which add moisture to soften lines.

Eyes Lines around your eyes show up first because the thin skin here is quicker to lose its elasticity. To soften these crinkles, pat on a little eye cream in the morning and at bedtime. But don't expect a cream to make lines disappear for good, says New York City-based dermatologist Arielle Kauvar, M.D. Moisturizing ingredients will temporarily plump up the skin, but can't prevent the fine furrows that form every time you laugh, cry or squint. Don't stop smiling, but do wear sunglasses to minimize squinting.

Hands

Also a thin-skin zone, your hands can give away your age before your face does. Sun exposure speeds the thinning process, which makes veins more visible. Get into the habit of using hand cream with an SPF of 15 or higher. One with antioxidants such as vitamin E will help absorb skin-damaging free radicals, says Dr. Kauvar. Once a week, pamper hands with an exfoliating scrub to smooth away roughness.

Neck

It's never too soon to give this area extra attention. But you don't need a separate neck cream, says Dr. Kauvar. Simply apply the same anti-wrinkle treatment you use on your face. Using both hands, massage in the cream with upward strokes, from the middle of your neck to the back, swiping it up behind your ears, too. Note: The skin on your neck may be more sensitive than on your face, so you may want to avoid creams with alpha-hydroxy acid, which can sting and irritate.

Can You Reclaim a Baby-Soft Complexion?

Why is a newborn's skin so irresistibly soft? Because it contains an abundance of compounds called natural growth factors as well as antioxidants, proteins, and collagen, needed to produce fresh, healthy cells. Some companies now use different sources of natural growth factors in their latest anti-wrinkle treatments. For example, NouriCel, a solution extracted from skin substitutes made to treat burns and wounds, is enriched with natural growth factors. It is the main ingredient in SkinMedica's TNS Recovery Complex ($125; Skinmedica.com). Other products with natural growth factors include: DDF Cellular Revitalization Age Renewal ($125; to order, call 800-723-2889) with amino acid proteins; and Bio Jouvance Bio Lift ($159; Bio-jouvance.com), which takes live cells from animal and plant sources.

Do they work? "Our bodies make very little of our own natural growth factor after the age of 35," says New York City-based dermatologist Howard Sobel, M.D. "Reintroducing these compounds into the skin increases cell energy. By making skin cells act younger they can repair themselves faster."

Plastic surgeon Cap Lesesne, M.D., in New York City, has seen the studies on these creams but says there needs to be more investigation. Dr. Lesesne also questions whether the growth factors are really absorbed. To date, there have been no significant side effects.

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