Make exfoliation a daily habit. In addition to cleansing your face, you need to exfoliate to help speed up your skin's cellular turnover. (Physical scrubs contain crushed particles of ingredients like corn meal and nuts while chemical products use mild exfoliants like glucosamine and glycolic acid to get rid of dead skin cells.) Age-defying picks: Origins Never A Dull Moment skin-brightening face polisher with fruit enzymes ($22.50; origins.com), Clinique Total Turnaround Visible Skin Renewer with glucosamine ($30; clinique.com) and Ellen Lange Retexturizing Peel with glycolic acid ($65; sephora.com).
Diminish fine lines with powerful skin (and eye) creams. Cellular repair speeds up when your body is sleeping -- why it's best to load the skin (particularly the area around the eyes, where skin is thinner) at bedtime with nutrient-rich anti-aging creams. Look for creams with retinol (found in over-the-counter vitamin-A products) and kinetin (an anti-aging compound found in the leaves of green plants). Age-defying picks: Elizabeth Arden Bye Lines Anti-Wrinkle Serum with retinyl linoleate, a patented vitamin-A derivative ($40; elizabeth arden.com), Almay Kinetin Skincare Repair & Rejuvenate Night Concentrate and Rejuvenating Eye Treatment ($18 each; at drugstores), RoC Retinol Actif Pur Anti-Wrinkle Night and Eye Contour Cream ($18 each; at drugstores) and Olay Total Effects Intensive Restoration Treatment ($20; at drugstores).
Visit your dermatologist, when necessary, for more powerful treatments. Injectables like Botox or Myobloc can be injected into fine wrinkles and expression lines (like those on the forehead) to temporarily paralyze the muscles that cause skin-wrinkling expressions. (One possible side effect: Temporarily droopy eyelids if injected too close to the eyes.) And a new light-based treatment called IPL (Intense Pulse Light), photo rejuvenation or the Photo Facial (at right) bypasses the skin's surface to target the deeper layers, helping smooth out uneven skin tone and repair broken vessels on the face, according to Neil Sadick, M.D., professor of dermatology at the Weill College of Medicine at Cornell University Medical Center in New York. Slight redness after the treatment is the only reported side effect. (For more details, go to aad.org.)
Tried & Tested: Getting zapped with IPL
The brief "zap! "zap!" flashes of bright light being targeted on my face caused me to flinch -- despite the fact that I had numbed my skin with a topical anesthetic beforehand. At the age of 32, I was having the newest anti-aging treatment, IPL, or photo rejuvenation, performed on me by New York City dermatologist Neil Sadick, M.D. After just one treatment, the slight redness on my cheeks (one symptom of my rosacea) had begun to fade, leaving barely noticeable brown scabs (a sign that the blood vessels had absorbed the light and been pinched shut). After five 15-minute treatments, the redness was completely gone and my skin was smooth and plumper-looking (a sign, says Sadick, that the treatment may have helped restore my skin's collagen -- a claim that's currently being tested in clinical trials). All this with no downtime; I went right back to work afterward. -- Valerie Latona