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Anti-aging Skin Care in your 40s

Problem: Blotchy skin; dark spots

A splotchy appearance stems from a combination of skin type and sun exposure. The lighter your skin, the more freckling, broken blood vessels, and blotchiness you're likely to experience as you age. If you were once prone to acne, it's likely that the dark red spots are the remnants of past blemishes.

Over-the-counter products that contain lightening ingredients such as hydroquinone can help fade dark spots on skin of every shade. You may also want to consider microdermabrasion in which tiny aluminium oxide crystals are blown onto skin and then vacuumed off along with dead cells. Microdermabrasion's exfoliating action can also help bleaching agents penetrate more effectively.

But if your skin is extremely ruddy or blothcy, a chemical peel performed in a doctor's office is a better bet. A solution containing an AHA (usually glycolic acid) or trichloroacetic acid is applied to skin, left on a few minutes, and followed by a neutralizing solution. The acid lifts off dead cells, revealing new skin underneath. These "lunchtime peels" - so called because hey take only about an hour - cause little or no redness and irritation, though your face may be flaky the floowing week.

An intense-pulsed-light (IPL) device specifically targets areas of brown or red discoloration on fair-skinned women (it's not recommended for use on dark skin, however).

You may need a series of three to six sessions to achieve the desired effect.

Problem: Dull/dry, rough skin

As you age, decreasing estrogen levels influence the production of other substances in your body. For example, the amount of hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring chemical that helps keep skin firm, begins to decline, affecting your skin's ability to retain moisture. Oil production also slows down, reducing natural lubrication. To help counteract these changes, use creams that contain humectants (like glycerin, citric acid, propylene glycol, urea, and phospholipids) and emollients (such as petrolatum, shea butter, and cetyl alcohol) to seal in moisture.

Problem: Furrows; frown lines

Moisturizers or makeup with light-reflecting particles can make your expression lines look less, well, expressive. These tiny flecks create an optical illusion that puts your face into soft focus, helping camouflage imperfections.

Botox injections are an option if you've got the money and the inclination. A purified form of the botulinum toxin, Botox blocks the signals that are transmitted from nerve fibres to facial muscles, temporarily paralyzing them. Within a week or so, furrows become less noticeable and stay that way for about 3 to 6 months.


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