Millions of women want anti-aging skin care advice from their doctors each year. We share our 9 essential beauty tips for beautiful skin at any age.
Last year alone, an estimated 2.7 million women between the ages of 19 and 64 walked through the doors of doctors' offices looking for ways to slow down the aging of their skin. While the discovery for the fountain of youth has evaded scientists for years, dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons are closer than ever before to helping turn back the clock -- at least when it comes to the body's largest and most complex organ, the skin.
Now, thanks to a better understanding of how the skin ages, making major improvements to the appearance of the skin no longer means getting a face-lift.
New age-defying creams and minimally invasive procedures, such as skin-firming laser therapies, enable you to take years off your looks. The idea is to start early with these less-invasive anti-aging skin care treatments, says Deborah S. Sarnoff, M.D., clinical associate professor of dermatology at New York University and author of Instant Beauty: Getting Gorgeous on Your Lunchtime Break (St. Martin's Press, 2002). To help your skin recapture its youth, follow our advice on these fast face fixes.
Beautiful skin during the carefree 20s
During this decade, skin cells regenerate at top speed, keeping the complexion soft, smooth and radiant. Collagen and elastin -- the fibers that give skin its plumped-up look and elasticity -- are in optimal health. And photoaging (the evidence of the sun sins of our youth) has yet to appear. That's why the 20s become the prime time for anti-aging skin care to protect skin from free radicals, the volatile particles -- generated by pollution and the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays -- that damage the molecular structure of skin cells, causing the skin to age faster and increasing the risk of skin cancer, according to Los Angeles dermatologist Howard Murad, M.D.
[header = Beauty tips and anti-aging skin care strategies for women in their 30s & 40s.]
Your skin starts to change in your 30s. Check out our beauty tips to find out how to continue to have beautiful skin in your 30s and 40s.
Beautiful skin during the active 30s
"It's at the age of 30 that women start to notice that their skin looks different but aren't quite sure why," says dermatologist James Leyden, M.D., of the Center for Human Appearance at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. The reason: By the time you turn 30, cell regeneration has already started to slow down, making skin look dull. Collagen and elastin, the skin's support structures, aren't being produced as rapidly as in your 20s -- one reason you start to notice fine lines.
And your habitual facial expressions (lifting your brows, crinkling your eyes) begin to leave a visible imprint because the fibrous bands that connect skin to the muscles conform to facial movement over time. It sounds depressing, but it doesn't have to be! There are plenty of anti-aging skin care techniques you can use to keep your skin looking young and radiant.
Beautiful skin during the fabulous 40s
Deeper wrinkles and loss of elasticity and firmness are the biggest complaints of women in their 40s, says Scarsdale, N.Y., dermatologist Amy E. Newburger, M.D., author of Looking Good at Any Age (Doubleday, 2000). The cause is sun exposure, combined with steadily declining levels of the female hormone estrogen, which maintains collagen and elastin -- the support structures of the skin. And the skin's ability to retain moisture diminishes, also a result of declining estrogen levels as well as a decrease in lipids, or fat molecules, in the outer layer of the skin -- two reasons skin gets drier at this age. As a result, intense moisturizers and anti-aging creams, in addition to a daily sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15, should be beauty staples of women this age.